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.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What the f***!: DC Schools edition

Image: Doug Hrvoic, president of Marine Magnetics Corp., with his daughter at her Montessori elementary school, has incorporated elements of his own Montessori education into his business. Photo courtesy of Marine Magnetics Corporation.

Recently, the DC Public Schools has eliminated the Montessori program at Langdon Elementary School in Ward 5. The program has helped this school succeed at higher levels than comparable schools with similar student population characteristics located elsewhere in the Ward and across the city.

Ironically, yesterday the Toronto Globe & Mail published a story, "Maria Montessori: guru for a new generation of business innovators," about how many leading entrepreneurs and visionaries are products of a Montessori education.

By not developing "base budgets" for certain "base" functions that should be common to all schools, such as the library function, new budget requirements for DC Public Schools may force smaller schools to eliminate school librarians. See the column by Jonetta Rose Barras "Is reading fundamental in DC?‎" in the Examiner.

From the article:

In a city where the majority of D.C. Public Schools' fourth- and eighth-graders test below basic in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, why have Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Chancellor Kaya Henderson proposed cutting school librarians, which is tantamount to shutting down libraries?

The plan would eliminate librarians in schools with student populations of 299 or less. Larger schools would retain their librarians. But they would be included under "flexible funding," allowing principals to make the final decision about whether to keep or cut.

But DC Public Schools has $10 million for "innovation"? See "DCPS to provide $10 million for schools to innovate" from the Washington Examiner.


No wonder most of the schools in the system, except in the highest income areas, are on a downward spiral to likely oblivion, in the face of onward constant pressure from charter schools. See the press release "DC Public Charter School Board Receives 11 Charter School Applications" from the DC Public Charter School Board.

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