Mayor Marion S. Barry will name a District commissioner of education by the end of January to act as a liaison between the mayor's office and the city's public school systems -- the University of the District of Columbia and other city agencies that deal with education, the mayor's press secretary said yesterday.
Florence Tate, the press aide, said naming ot the commissioner will be the new mayor's first response to recommendations made by his transition team's Public Education Task Force.
%according to the task force's recommendations the education commissioner would oversee a new Office of Education in the mayor's office. Tate said Barry has not yet decided whether to establish the office.
As described by the task force report, the Office of Education would "act as an umbrella body for coordinating education efforts and policy at all levels... the proposed office shall undertake research analysis and policy formulation... to facilitate improved education..."
During his campaign Barry repeatedly stressed that upgrading the quality of the city's troubled public schools would be a major concern of his administration
The task force has also made these other recommendation to the mayor:
That Barry create a majoral task force on education "to undertake an intensive, fact-finding survey of education in the District and make recommendations to the mayor within 100 deas."
That Barry urge the city school board to begin a system of "teacher classification and pay based on classroom performance rater that longevity and college credits." The task force said such that nepotism and cronyism are strong forces in the D.C. school system..."
That the mayor create an Office of Early Childhood Development."This office will be responsible for establishing a systematic delivery of day care services."
And the task force report urges the mayor to begin a "public education campaign to raise the cosnsciousness of D.C. parents to the need to increase teacher and student time in the classroom. Our children receive a full hour less per day of instructional time than the U.S. average."
That said Barry has yet to review the full repor but he has decided to name a commissioner of education. Tate said Barry has chosen a person for the post but she said no announcement will be made until the end of the month.
Tuesday night at a community school board meeting, school board member Barbara Lett Simmons said she is watching Barry to see if he will live up to the promises he has made on education.
"I intend to hold that administration's feet to the fire for statements during the last three days," said Simmons who has attended an inaugural luncheon for Barry earlier that day. "He had to say some of the things he said during the campaign but he didn't have to make any promises now... I hope he isn't going to dictate to the board, the superintendent or principals but he can hand over some money."
Yesterday D.C. School Superintendent Vicent E. Reed said he attended an organizational meeting of the mayor's chief administrators this week but questions, about education in the city were not addressed. Reed said Barry plans to meet with him and the school board soon.
"I expect this administration ot be more responsive to the needs of the public schools," said Reed who has not seen the task forcehs recommendations to Barry.