Kwame Brown’s omnibus education act

The bill’s title is longer than the lunchtime line at Ben’s Chili Bowl: “The Raising the Expectations for Education Outcomes Act of 2012.” It’s a consolidation of four education measures, three introduced by Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown, that are scheduled for a vote at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting. If the package is voted out, it will move to a first reading at the council meeting afterwards.

The provisions would:

— Devise an early warning system to identify and support middle and high school students at risk of dropping out.

— Require that every D.C. high school student take the SAT or ACT and apply to at least one post-secondary institution before graduation.

— Establish a pilot program to attract top teachers to four low-performing schools. The incentives would include a $10,000 bonus; homebuyer and other housing assistance; tuition relief; and income tax credits.

— Convert five existing D.C. schools into “community schools” that operate partnerships with providers of health, adult education, job training and other services. Schools that qualify would receive grants of as much as $200,000 a year from OSSE. The measure was originally introduced by council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large).

If testimony at various hearings is any indication, DCPS and the mayor’s office are no better than lukewarm about any of them. That’s because they believe they’re already working effectively on these issues, or they’re not keen on adding new mandates, such as additional graduation requirements.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.

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