DC parents raise concerns about middle schools (Washington Post via Greater Greater Washington): “Middle schools are the latest hot spot in DC public education. With preschool and elementary enrollment ticking up for the first time in decades, parents and policymakers are scrutinizing the lack of attractive middle-grade options with increasing urgency [...] Without dramatic improvement in middle school quality, the long-term prospects for reform are bleak.” Back in March, we commented on a New York Times piece on the development of middle school pedagogy. Arguably, the “middle years” are neglected nationwide as much of the attention goes towards elementary school (formative years) or high school (pre-college years). Has the same been happening here?
Dismal DCPS Statistics Shared at Council Hearing (DCist): “ afternoon, D.C. Public Schools chancellor Kaya Henderson and other officials appeared in front of the DC Council’s Committee of the Whole to talk about middle school education [...] Among the figures that Henderson and DCPS officials quoted: 18.4 percent of DCPS middle schoolers have missed classes because they didn’t feel safe traveling to school; 13.9 percent of middle school students were afraid of being beaten up at some point in the last year; around 40 percent of DCPS ninth graders repeat the grade, while one in three DCPS ninth graders fail algebra.” In other words, many of the most dire problems in DC middle schools have little to do with academics. Schools need to be effective, absolutely, but they also need to feel safe and protected.
Bill Clinton Leverages Contacts and Genius to Garner $6.5 Billion (Nonprofit Quarterly): “Whether you liked or disliked Clinton’s performance while in office, there’s no question that he has mastered the art of harnessing private-sector muscle — in the form of dollars, publicity, credibility — behind CGI priorities. Part of it is Clinton’s ability to confidently weigh in on nearly any aspect of humanitarian or economic policy while showing that he understands where all the various interest groups on a given issue are coming from.” So why else is the former president so effective, aside from the obvious power of that title? Perhaps because he believes (and can convey) that “everyone of all political hues and stripes ought to be able to find something within CGI to meet their charitable or philanthropic urges.”
The Cultural Alliance annual meeting and the DC Humanities Council salute to innovators (ArtsPost): “The Humanities Council of Washington DC is also gearing up for its annual awards evening October 13. The council has picked six people to receive the Distinguished Service to the Humanities Award.” Among the award recipients is Howard Shalwitz, co-founder and Artistic Director of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company — which was part of the first-ever Catalogue class of non-profits in 2003 and which is about to launch its 32nd season in downtown DC.
That second article summary (about the DCPS) is absolutely shocking. I knew that DC public schools were in dire straits, and when I first read the headline of the summary, I thought, “This could be about any school system in the country.” Not the case.