A phalanx of D.C. education leaders showed up to Kelly Miller Middle School on Tuesday to hear Mayor Vincent C. Gray announce the city’s largest single-year gain on standardized tests since 2008.
Also in the audience for Gray’s announcement was one prominent non-Washingtonian: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), who recently overhauled his county’s school leadership as part of an effort to take control of a long-struggling public school system.
Baker’s vision is similar in some ways to the District’s approach to education — he said he was inspired, in part, by conversations with Gray about the District’s mayoral control. The newly hired Prince George’s schools leader was selected by Baker and serves on his cabinet.
Gray welcomed Baker and told him from the stage that he has “done the right thing.”
Baker, who later took to the stage to offer remarks, lauded the District for taking “a bold step in the right direction.”
“All government needs to be invested in improving public education,” Baker said. “It’s something you have proven today.”
The test-score increase also drew praise from Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who has pushed states to adopt some of the key education policies that have taken root in the District, such as teacher evaluations tied to test scores and an embrace of charter schools.
In a statement, Duncan praised D.C. leaders’ “collaboration, courage and commitment.”
“The District of Columbia is showing what progress is possible in the public schools of our nation’s cities,” Duncan said.