Thursday, May 22, 2008

WaPo editorial board supports Mayor's approach to reform

The Washington Post editorial board has come out strongly in favor of Mayor Fenty and Michelle Rhee's plan to overhaul the District's public schools and against the plan of DC Councilmen Marion Barry (Ward 8) and Harry Thomas Jr. (Ward 5) to give the District Council the last say in things DCPS related.
Any future decisions would become subject to the political interests and arm-wrestling of a council organized by ward. Forget about what's best for the system: District boundaries, community whim and political machinations would come into play. Without question, closing schools is painful, and it's too bad that some council members felt slighted. But Ms. Rhee called in experts, relied on hard data and held a series of public meetings before arriving at her decisions. City Administrator Dan Tangherlini got it exactly right when he testified that, for some, the best process for closing schools is not to close any. Such a situation existed too long in the District; it resulted in underused buildings that wasted resources and deprived children. Instead of trying to second-guess Ms. Rhee, council members should be thanking her for having the guts to make the hard decisions.

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