Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Gray wants independent review of DCPS

Council Chairman Gray is pushing to have an independent review of DCPS to evaluate the progress of efforts by Chancellor Rhee and Mayor Fenty to improve student performance.
Gray said he is stepping in because Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) has not acted. Under the 2007 law establishing mayoral control of the school system, Fenty is required to submit an annual evaluation of the District of Columbia Public Schools addressing areas such as academic achievement, business practices and personnel policies. Fenty also has the option under the law to skip the annual reports and deliver a five-year independent assessment by Sept. 15, 2012.

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Gray said he also had concerns about the transparency of the study's financing. Fenty proposed that the five-year, $750,000 cost be picked up by the D.C. Public Education Fund, which the mayor established to attract private-sector contributions to aid school reform. Among the fund's board members is New York City schools Chancellor Joel Klein, a friend and mentor of Rhee's.

Gray, who wants the project publicly funded, said that he has received no other names of potential evaluators from Fenty. After more than 18 months of the schools under mayoral control, he said plans must be made to meet the law's requirements.

"We're at one-and-a-half years," Gray said. "If we're going to have an objective analysis, now is the time to begin."

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