Monday, January 08, 2007

DC Schools

I sent a letter to then presumptive mayor (after he won the Democratic nomination before the general election) Fenty about the proposed plan for the mayoral takeover of the DC schools. My concern is and was that as someone who lived through the control-baord era, and who is already an disenfranchised DC resident, I worry about anyone stripping power from people I elect. Now, of course I can vote for the mayor so it is not a perfect parallel. But I worry. Not to be a pessismist but any time politicians promise to "streamline" the bureaucracy, the result is usually anything but. And really one imagine the mayor's day was sort of busy before, which means now there will be mayoral appointees (ie people I can't vote for) who do the day-to-day overseeing and how exactly is that better than the school board. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the schools don't need help and assitance and money, but I am not convinced that shuffling around the people who oversee it is the fix. I also feel that the revolving school superintendent door has been a problem to - so more changes won't fix that either. Which is not to say that I think we should "stay the course" either. But Robbie over at Beyond the Mall has pointed out some similar concerns. And of course, that Mayor Williams had suggested a similar plan and then Councilmember Fenty was against it. Now, I have no problem with politicians (or anyone) doing more research and changing their minds (really I am for that), but here's my big question. All these fabulous things that happenedin New York and other places that did this - was it because it was the mayor, or because it was someone who wanted to make it change? And if so, is there any reason that we can't make all that happen within the current structure?