In Ad, Cafritz Champions Work by Board, Janey
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
D.C. Board of Education President Peggy Cooper Cafritz yesterday took out a full-page ad in The Washington Post that defended School Superintendent Clifford B. Janey as Democratic mayoral nominee Adrian M. Fenty considers a plan to take over the schools.
Fenty, who has spoken favorably of the New York City model, in which Mayor Michael Bloomberg oversees the schools, has not submitted an education proposal or indicated whether he would seek to replace Janey.
If the District were to adopt the New York model, the elected board likely would become an appointed advisory body, and the school system would become a department in the city government.
Cafritz's ad cited the board's accomplishments during her six-year tenure, including increasing the number of students going to college, introducing an automated procurement system and developing a multibillion-dollar plan to renovate school facilities.
In an interview, Cafritz, who is not running for reelection, said she spent $40,000 of her own money for the ad, which is aimed at Fenty and school board candidates who have focused on school problems and calls for retaining Janey. "I'm tired of them only getting negative information on the school system, like we haven't done anything," she said.
In addition to the $40,000 fee, there generally would be an additional charge for the ad's premium placement. The ad was the first full-page ad in the A section.
"We in D.C. have a history of changing course before results are in. If we continue to do this, good results will never follow," the ad said. "We must put our money, our energy and our hearts behind Dr. Janey in his efforts to develop safe and intellectually robust schools."
Fenty, who is expected to win election easily today, said yesterday afternoon that he had not seen the Cafritz advertisement. After portions were read to him, Fenty said the proposal he is considering "allows the superintendent, like any other government agency head, to operate with more authority. Any advances that are being heralded now will be even more readily apparent under a Department of Education. . . . Those seeing promise in the current system will see even more progress."
Iris Toyer, co-chairman of Parents United for the D.C. Public Schools, applauded Cafritz's efforts to promote the accomplishments of Janey and the board. But, she said, the effort should have come much sooner.
"Their communications is in the toilet," Toyer said. "We elect people [to the board], and if they believe they've done a good, job it's up to them to say that to the citizens."
Staff writer David Nakamura contributed to this report.