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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Letter on 'School Takeover' from Gary Imhoff

Dear News Hounds: The news from the new city administration begins tomorrow. Yesterday's private inauguration was just a formality, and today's public inauguration wasn't that much more important. Mayor Fenty's speech at (http://www.dcwatch.com/mayor/070103.htm) was a collection of platitudes. I just posted it, and I have already forgotten it. Council Chairman Vincent Gray's speech (http://www.dcwatch.com/council/070103.htm) didn't say anything either, although it signals his desire for a return to 1960's-style liberalism and 1970's-style governmental social programs. But tomorrow the news begins. Tomorrow Mayor Fenty announces his plan to take over the schools. That's where the important money and property is. That's where there is a multitude of desirable land holdings that are ripe for divestment and dispersal to the insiders. That's where there is over two billion dollars in construction and renovation money ripe for the picking, money that the powers-that- be want to funnel to EdBuild, the Federal City Council creation that keeps a revolving door open for high-level city government officials (http://www.edbuild.org/). By the way, don't expect much reporting about EdBuild and its sweetheart insider deals from the Post or the Times (although V. Dion Haynes did have one story about it recently, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/25/AR2006122500546.html). This is an occasion on which we miss The Common Denominator, which would take on stories about who is profiting from sweetheart back-room deals. You may want to start subscribing to the Afro-American, since its reporter, Valencia Muhammed, is interested in covering the story. Fenty has prepared well for this, naming new appointees to the Board of Education who are primed to undermine its authority and power, asserting that his secret plan for improving education will speedily improve DC's schools, somehow. When I dealt with education affairs in some depth, a few decades ago, I formulated a personal rule: someone who referred to himself as a "teacher" probably had some idea of how to teach kids; someone who referred to himself as an "educator" would have theories about teaching, but no clue of what to do in a classroom; and someone who referred to himself as an "educationalist" was purely a quack. Fenty hasn't given us any reason to trust that he has a teacher's understanding of what DC's students need, any reason to believe that he really has a plan that will change for the better what goes on in the classrooms. I have no doubt that he has a plan for the city's assets, but I don't see what's in it for the kids. I suspect he's an educationalist. Gary Imhoffhttp://us.f348.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=themail@dcwatch.com


At 9:42 AM, Anonymous labhigh said...

As usual, and I'm sure you're not surprised, we capitulate to the "master" because we do not want to lose favor or our little bit of power. I guess, it is not democracy in action, but a case of "I got mine and you'd better get yours!"
Let's hope that somewhere in this mess, the students come out winners, because in the end they are the ones that really matter.


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