Sunday, January 07, 2007

I love stories like this, LXXXIV

I really don't, though. Consider the plight of Washington, DC, GFCAMC (Government-Funded Compulsory-Attendance Matriculation Center) students. Per student spending in DC is among the highest in the nation. The 2004 Census of Governments Survey of Local Government Finances — School Systems reported that the District of Columbia spent $12,801 per student, the 3rd highest in the nation (behind only New Jersey and New York), up from $8,377 per student in the 1992 U.S. Census data.

But this story makes one wonder who's zoomin' who:
Mayors seek to gain control over schools
By NANCY ZUCKERBROD, AP Education Writer

Sun Jan 7, 7:14 AM ET

WASHINGTON - The statistics tell a sorry tale about the public schools in America's capital. A majority of fourth- and eighth-graders are failing to read or do math at basic levels. Roughly four in five schools are not meeting achievement goals under the federal No Child Left Behind law. Just 43 percent of students graduate from high school in five years.

The new mayor, Adrian Fenty, got an earful about the situation during last year's campaign.

So he is doing what a dozen other city leaders around the nation have done: trying to gain control over the schools. For Fenty, that means convincing the city council and Congress to support his plan to require the superintendent to report to him and to further limit the authority of the elected school board.

Clearly it isn't more money that makes quality education. But the politicians will step in and try, once again, to re-write economics to force a failing program to succeed.


Brian Dunbar said...

D.C. public schools are controlled by the Congress. See what happens when that august body gets to play school board?

Props to the new mayor - he can't possibly do any worse.

Steve Erbach said...


I don't know whether to give the mayor credit for trying to take away a Congressional power or to offer him my condolences...

The most telling sentence from the article is: "It is a structure set up about a century ago to insulate schools from political strife and corruption in city government." Whoever set up the structure evidently hadn't listened to Mark Twain: "In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards."

Steve Erbach
The Town Crank