Political Tiff Blocks D.C. School Reforms

Raw Fisher
Copyright 2009
Tuesday, January 11, 2011; 3:41 PM

The biggest difference between many D.C. public schools and their suburban counterparts is the enormous and too-often-ineffectual infrastructure the city system has built to deal with a few kids in each classroom who throw tantrums, assault teachers or otherwise disrupt the proceedings. Over the years, the D.C. schools have tried everything: suspensions, alternative schools, uniformed police, security guards, walkie-talkie-wielding deans of discipline, counselors and a hugely expensive expansion of the number of kids declared to be in need of special education. Now, just as Mayor Adrian Fenty and Chancellor Michelle Rhee have hit on a strategy that gets at the roots of the behavior woes that plague the system, political sniping between the mayor and the D.C. Council is getting in the way of helping kids deal with the violence and anger of poverty and letting teachers teach. When Fenty and Rhee took over the schools, they offloaded many functions


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