Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gist to get more power?

The tug-of-war between the DC Council and the Mayor's office over control of the District's school system continues. In the latest move the DC Council is looking to remove the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education from under the Mayor's control and make the office more independent or (I suspect) answerable to the DC Council.
Board members say they have had preliminary conversations with D.C. Council members about introducing legislation that would allow Gist to sever ties with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), having her report to the council or operate independently of both. Last week, the school board agreed to study the authority state education chiefs have over academically troubled schools.

"I think [Gist] should be more independent," school board President Robert C. Bobb said. "The whole issue of reforming education in the District is not one hand clapping; the state superintendent plays a significant role in that. In my perspective, she has to be an equal partner."

Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) agreed. "I've raised [the issue] at more than one oversight hearing. You go next door to Maryland, and their superintendent, Nancy Grasmick, exercises the type of authority Deborah never had. . . . There continues to be a concern among [council] members about whether we got it right with the state component."

Gist declined to comment on the issue of independence.

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