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What Is DCWatch?
GREAT SCHOOLS FOR A GREAT CITY:
Mayor Williams Proposal For Our School Board
At the Citizen Summit, more than 3,000 residents came together from across the city and
sent a clear message that education must be one of our most urgent priorities. In
response, the Mayor has stepped forward with a bold initiative to reform our struggling
schools, from top to bottom. Today, he is asking to be held accountable for improving
THE NEED FOR CHANGE
- Who's in charge? Responsibility is divided among the Superintendent, the Board of
Education, the Board of Trustees, the Congress, the Control Board, the Mayor, and the
- There is not enough cooperation between schools and other agencies.
- The School Board has become politicized and divided.
- The bottom line: our kids are not being served well and are not being prepared for the
21st Century. This is unacceptable.
THE MAYOR'S PROPOSAL
- Hold the elected Mayor responsible for improving schools.
- Create a five-member Board of Education appointed by the Mayor and approved by the
Council. Names would come from a nominating committee representative of the city.
- Make the Superintendent a member of the Mayor's cabinet, chosen by the Mayor and
confirmed by the City Council.
- Focus the Board on goal-setting and policymaking, not politicking.
- Limit pay for Board members to per diem and business-related expenses.
- Let the voters decide on these changes through a referendum in May. Hold another
referendum in four years, so that voters can reevaluate this new system if it doesn't
produce real results.
WHY THIS SYSTEM IS BEST FOR OUR STUDENTS
- Putting responsibility and accountability for schools clearly and fully under the mayor
would enable the entire government to work together to ensure that students get the best
education and services possible.
- Schools would become part of the city's "Safe Passages" initiative, to develop
a comprehensive network of services to support young people, from birth to adulthood. The
city is spending $21 million on early childhood services and $15 million on afterschool
programs. We need to ensure that what comes in between is working well for students.
- In Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, and elsewhere, mayoral leadership of the schools has
helped to boost student achievement and attract the investment of business and other
- School boards tend to be more effective when they are smaller, policy-focused and
composed of individuals with particular skills and expertise needed to guide a school
- This proposal would not undermine democracy. Our popularly elected leaders would
be clearly accountable for schools. Furthermore, democracy depends on providing the best
education to the next generation of leaders and citizens.
If you support strong and clear accountability for our schools, let your Councilmember
know. Let your voice be heard.