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Charles R. Lawrence, III
Statement resigning from DC Board of Education
February 12, 2003

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825 North Capitol Street, N.E. Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 442- 4289 Office (202) 442-5198 Fax
For Immediate Release
February 12, 2003
Contact: Elena Temple
(202) 442-5190

STATEMENT OF PROFESSOR CHARLES R. LAWRENCE III REGARDING HIS RESIGNATION FROM THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BOARD OF EDUCATION

"My two-year term on the School Board expired on December 31, 2002. During the month of January I repeatedly and unsuccessfully sought to meet with the Mayor to discuss my possible reappointment, and it became apparent that for whatever reason the decision to forgo discussions with me was deliberate. I respect Mayor Williams and his prerogative to select the board members of his choice. Career and family commitments do not allow me to stand by for whatever the next act in the appointment drama might be, thus I have removed my name from consideration.

I chose to serve on the School Board because of my belief that there is a crisis in urban education in America. Over the past two years, I have seen first hand what years of under funding and neglect have done to our DC schools. I have watched children doing their lessons in hats and mittens when there is no heat. I have watched good teachers spending their own hard-earned money on basic classroom supplies. I have seen DC public school students learning against the odds without the computers and textbooks and labs considered basic necessities elsewhere. I have nothing but respect for Dr. Vance and his top administrators, who have exercised courage and persistence in weeding out waste and bringing change to a broken system. I am honored to have served with President Cafritz and my fellow board members who have acted with integrity, independence, and intelligence in setting policy for the schools. We worked together, disagreed often, and fought for the children of this city.

I have a daughter and a son in the DC public schools. As a parent and a citizen I have no intention of relinquishing the role of advocate for public education. I am dismayed that while our school buildings stand crumbling, the President of the United States offers to hand out a few vouchers and eviscerate Headstart as his contribution to our children. In the years to come, citizens must protest this kind of bogus "help" and demand that the federal government provide real assistance to save our schools. Like most Americans of my generation, I am the product of public schools, and I refuse to believe that my fellow citizens are ready to abandon the dream of quality public education for all. I look forward to standing together with the Mayor and leaders of this city, with the Superintendent and Board members, to push for the kind of funding it necessary to turn our schools around."

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