By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator
20 DC schools targeted for closure (Washington Post) “One in six traditional DC public schools is targeted for closure under a plan put forth Tuesday by Chancellor Kaya Henderson, the latest sign of a system facing budget pressures and increased competition from fast-growing charter schools. The 20 schools marked for closure are spread across six city wards but are concentrated in Northeast Washington and east of the Anacostia River. The chancellor said her plan would shift resources from maintaining under-enrolled schools to focus on improving academic programs,” Find a list of all proposed public school changes here.
Partnership Leads to New Beginning for Homeless Veterans (Huffington Post: DC Impact) “Across the country, men and women who served in the armed forces are becoming homeless at a rate that is higher than the civilian population. Sadly, this is consistent with a history of overrepresentation of veterans in the homeless population. This year, Veteran’s Day marks a new beginning for many homeless veterans in the District who are benefiting from an innovative housing program and critical community partnerships. Our organizations — Pathways to Housing DC and Miriam’s Kitchen — are working together to identify chronically homeless veterans with mental illness and/or disabling medical conditions in the District who are eligible to move into their own apartments as part of a pilot project sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Housing and Urban Development.”
Region leaders hoping for federal spending cuts compromise (Washington Examiner) “The region’s leaders say they’ve prepped their 2013 budgets for what will be hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue if federal spending cuts start in January. But they are also holding out hope those cuts — and the devastation they say it would bring to the region — never come. ‘It’s like Hurricane Sandy — there’s only so much you can do with powers beyond your control,’ said Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. at a Greater Washington Board of Trade panel discussion Thursday.” How is your organization preparing for possible cuts and sequestration?
Gap between best and worst DC schools growing (Washington Examiner): “The gap between the District’s best- and worst-performing schools has been growing amid the most intense school reform in the city’s history [...] The American Institutes for Research found that, if two students have the same test scores in 2010, but one attends a wealthy, high-performing school and the other attends the opposite, the student at the wealthy school likely would have outpaced the latter student substantially in 2011, even though they were on equal footing the year before.” For example, on average, students in Ward 3 schools demonstrated a 70.8% two-year growth percentile, while students in Ward 8 received a 46% growth score.
State Of The World’s Mothers Report 2012 (Huffington Post): This year, Save the Children ranked Norway, Iceland, and Sweden as the best places to be a mother. “In addition to its annual ranking, the 2012 report focuses specifically on the issue of children’s nutrition. One in four of the world’s children are chronically malnourished or stunted [...] malnutrition kills as many as 2.6 million children and 100,000 mothers every year. Millions of others are left struggling with the physical and mental impairments of stunting.” Over half of the world’s children do not have access to vitamin A, zinc, and water and sanitation — universal access to these perhaps could save as many as 680,000 lives.
Battered and Bruised Minds Lead to Homelessness (TIME: Battleland): “The Department of Veterans Affairs first-ever large-scale study of homeless vets shows that the vast majority of homeless vets have mental disorders [...] Dealing with veterans’ mental health may be just as important in preventing homelessness among vets as dealing with their lack of housing;” the study shows that “78?83 percent of the newly homeless diagnosed with mental disorders at the end of the study, were diagnosed before they became homeless.” Additionally, the “Homeless Incidence and Risk Factors for Becoming Homeless in Veterans” report also followed 300,000 veterans who left active duty between July 2005 and September 2006 until October 2010; while none of these particular veterans had been homeless before, more than 4% became homeless at some point during that period.
In DC schools, 59 percent of students get diploma on time (Washington Post): “Less than 60 percent of DC high school students graduated on time in 2011, according to a new and more rigorous calculation of completion rates announced Thursday.” DC officials pointed out that reported graduations rates have dropped, in part, due to the new counting system that “call[s] for schools to track individual ninth-graders and follow them if they move.” The new numbers also revealed a widening gap between the city’s public charter schools and traditional public high schools in the ability to graduate students on time.” The overall graduation rates for charters was 79.7 percent versus 52.9 perfect for traditional schools, a much larger differential than in 2010 (86.6 percent and 75.75). However, in a follow-up piece, Bill Turque noted that “four-year completion improved from 73 percent to 80 percent under the old calculus there is some movement in the right direction.”
Using the Whole Talent Pool: An Interview with Shannon Maynard and Robert Grimm (Nonprofit Quarterly: Management): “Nonprofit Quarterly editor in chief Ruth McCambridge spoke to Shannon Maynard and Robert Grimm of the Corporation for National and Community Service about their work, the latest research on volunteering, and trends in effective nonprofit staffing management.” Grimm pointed out that both the volunteering rate and the voting rate have increased among young people, and that “there was recently a 25-year high in entering college students who believed that it was essential or important to help others.” Discussing the nonprofit contribution to “social capital,” he also explained that “volunteer associations are part of the core, or the building blocks, of the civic tradition of a community. When organizations are doing a good job of engaging the community, you?re going to see high levels of citizen engagement.”
A Novel Idea: Arlington Plans To Add To Library Budget (WAMU 88.5): “As government leaders across Northern Virginia prepare their budgets for fiscal year 2013, many are considering another round of cuts to libraries. One jurisdiction, at least, has chosen to buck the trend. Arlington County is considering a plan that would add $605,000 and eight employees to the library system at a time when other jurisdictions are considering cutbacks. The budget debate comes at a time when libraries across the region are experiencing a steady increase in demand.” County Board member Chris Zimmerman attests that libraries and their free services” are one of the great levelers in American society that give everybody a fair shot.” On a related note, you can learn more about teaching (and learning) literacy in the area through the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia.
From “More than 100 cities, counties agree to push early literacy” in yesterday’s Post:
Washington DC, Baltimore, and six communities in Virginia are among the more than 150 cities and counties across the country that are pledging to concentrate on early literacy efforts to ensure that children can read by the end of third grade.
The Campaign for Grade Level Reading is a collaborative effort by dozens of funders to make sure that all children, especially those from low-income families who often enter kindergarten already behind, learn to read. Signing onto the campaign are big cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and Atlanta, and the entire state of Arizona. [...]