Mayor Fenty, sporting a deep tan from his week-long jaunt to Dubai, got back out in the local community last night, dropping by a meeting of the Deanwood Civic Association to run down the status of his various initiatives. He talked about the effort to clean up abandoned building, construct a new recreation center in the Ward 7 and improve the city's public schools.
Alicia Rucker, a community activist, quickly put him on the spot about his school reform effort. Rucker explained that she used to live in Ward 1 but moved to Ward 7 and appreciates her new neighborhood because it is quiet and less busy than her old one.
However, she added, she's come to see that the city is "divided" because her local schools in Ward 7 are in bad shape. She was particularly upset that charter schools have been growing, while DCPS, with about 45,000 students, has seen its enrollment shrink annually.
Then Rucker delivered the kicker: "When I see Sasha and Malia [Obama] and your twin sons attend DCPS, only then will I believe that we are world class."
(The Obama children attend exclusive private school Sidwell Friends in Northwest, while Fenty's twin sons Andrew and Matthew are 3rd-graders at a pre-kindergarten-through-3rd grade private academy.)
"I went to DCPS. I graduated from DCPS," Fenty said. He attended both Woodrow Wilson High School and private Mackin Catholic High School (now part of Archbishop Carroll High School).
"I've always said, 'When my kids finish the school they started when they were 2 years old, they will go to DCPS,'" Fenty added.
That would be next fall, but Fenty gave no hint of where his sons might enroll. School Chancellor Michelle Rhee sends her daughters to the public Oyster-Adams Elementary.