Kids couldn't read, schools were scary places and the bureaucracy was a byzantine mess. But the superintendent of the D.C. schools had a bold plan for sweeping reform:Is the Post's Marc Fisher talking about Janey's recently unveiled Master Education Plan? Nope. He's talking a seventeen year old plan to resurrect the District's underperforming schools. How well did that one work out...? (hint: not very)
Lengthen the school day, extend the school year, create classes for 3-year-olds, close or merge at least 10 schools, cut hundreds of administrative jobs and toughen graduation requirements.
Then there's this:
[The DCPS Superintendent] proposes a "radical" reform plan to put 10 to 15 schools under private management, decentralize power and decrease central office staff, hire a private company to instruct low-achieving 11th- and 12th-graders and let a Fortune 500 company manage a high school.New year (1993), new superintendent (Franklin Smith), same result. Fisher takes a look at these and other grand "master plans" floated by DC's public school superintendents over the last twenty years and sees twenty years of futility. Does Fisher think Janey will have any more success than his predecessors?
The D.C. schools will get better one classroom and one school at a time, and the people who will make them better are talented principals with the authority to hire passionate teachers and motivate children, parents and neighborhoods. Superintendents who spend their time with fancy consultants churning out thick reports succeed only in burnishing their resumes and deepening the city's reservoir of cynicism.