D.C. Schools' 'History of Failure'

Thursday, June 1, 2006

While I understand the fear behind the sentiments expressed in the May 13 editorial "Political Vandalism," I cannot understand how The Post so profoundly misjudged the magnitude of our educational crisis, categorizing as "vandalism" the actions of my five colleagues on the D.C. Council who joined me in an effort to reestablish accountability for our failing schools.

The lack of line-item budget authority by the mayor and the council over the schools is an impediment to restoring accountability. Without it, the bureaucracy, which has brought us years of infrastructural decay, poor student performance and unstable leadership, will persist.

It is time to have a great public debate on this question. Our legislation to give the mayor and the council line-item budget authority over the D.C. Public Schools budget is an amendment to the Home Rule Charter; therefore, after the amendment is passed by the council and signed by the mayor, the issue must be decided in a referendum.

The specious argument that enhancing accountability by treating the schools like any other agency will place us in danger of losing our superintendent is neither accurate nor constructive. Our schools have a long history of failure: That is the problem.

MARION S. BARRY JR.

Member (D-Ward 8)

D.C. Council

Washington


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