Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Muddling through on urban education reform in the Washington Post

The Post ran an editorial yesterday, "Mayor Gray flip-flops on vouchers," about school choice and vouchers in DC, obviously a little stung about a letter to the editor that they ran a couple days ago, "DC as a sitting duck," which pointed out their hypocrisy about being against Congressional interference in DC on some things, like local control over local revenues, vs. their favoring Congressional interference on other issues such as the creation of charter schools and the forcing of the city's use of vouchers to fund education at private schools.

The problem with promoting both or either vouchers and ostensibly "public" charter schools is that social, organizational, and financial capital available to stabilize and improve the public education system is dissipated.

In my opinion, the DC Public Schools are close to the tipping point towards disintegration, in many neighborhoods anyway, because charter schools have drawn so many students away from the public schools that they can't function on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis in many places in the city.

Now I completely understand why parents choose charter schools, because they believe that the education their child will receive, and the environment of the particular school is superior to most DC Public Schools.

But imagine if the energy spent on charter schools and vouchers instead had been spent on truly reforming, not wrecking--between charter schools, vouchers, Michelle Rhee and her minions--public education.

I can't imagine any organization being able to survive these multiple threats. Despite the Post editorial board's fervent support of Michelle Rhee and her "bomb them back to the stone age" approach to organizational destruction as organizational improvement.

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