Monica Warren-Jones to step down from D.C. education board

Monica Warren-Jones, who represents Ward 6 on the D.C. State Board of Education, announced this weekend that she will not seek reelection in November.

Warren-Jones said she is leaving the board to focus on improving social services and housing for the city’s disadvantaged children and families.

“I am passionate about doing my part to address the stubborn inequality that exists in our city, which as it stands, has not allowed many of our fellow citizens to thrive and provide for their children’s basic needs,” she said in a statement released Saturday.

“Despite our steadfast efforts at reform, the challenging issues of poverty left unaddressed, will continue to thwart our ability to achieve a stellar public education system.”

The state board is responsible for approving city-wide academic standards, but the scope of its authority is far more limited than the old city school board that existed before the days of mayoral control.

Warren-Jones, who was elected in 2010, expressed some frustration with those limits, saying that the city should consider giving the board a bigger role to play in coordinating between charter and traditional schools. It’s a suggestion almost certain to find resistance from leaders in both sectors who aren’t eager to cede authority.

The board’s Ward 6 seat is the third to open up in recent months.

Ward 8 representative Trayon White was forced to quit in March, when he took a city job, prohibiting his continued service on the nonpartisan board. Two candidates are vying to succeed White in a sleepy July 15 special election: longtime community activist Philip Pannell and teacher Tierra Jolly.

Ward 1 representative Patrick Mara will step down when his term expires in January. Four people have picked up petitions to enter the race to replace him: gay rights activist Scott Simpson, University of Maryland graduate student David Do, pastor and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner E. Gail Anderson Holness, and Ward 1 Democratic leader and activist Lillian Perdomo.

Two other board seats, representing wards 3 and 5, are also on the November ballot. Mark Jones, the current board president, is the only person to have picked up petitions in the Ward 5 race; no one has picked up petitions for the Ward 3 seat, currently held by Laura Slover.

Mike DeBonis contributed.

Emma Brown writes about D.C. education and about people with a stake in schools, including teachers, parents and kids.
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