Economist and lawyer in private practice; trustee, Metropolitan A.M.E. Church; board member, Richard Allen Tutorial Program; volunteer, D.C. Special Olympics; treasurer, Howard University International Program Board; former staff member, U.S. Commission for UNESCO; former counselor, Wisconsin Higher Education Aid Board; JD and MBA from Columbia University, LLM from George Washington University; former board member, National Council of Churches, College and Youth Division; chairman, Rent Control Initiative Committee.
1. During the formative years, all children possess the same basic intellectual abilities. Thereafter, however, family and educational resources and socialization play a major role in achievement. Besides routine family activities, activities such as Kennedy Center operas, tours of the Smithsonian and the Frederick Douglass Home or a trip to a North Carolina farm or the World Trade Center in New York provide perspective and acculturate youth to their personalized society. For D.C. youngsters, particularly low- and moderate-income students, many of the socialization aspects need to be incorporated into the school program. Making sure students are performing at the proper grade level before they are moved on, and providing those capable of advancing rapidly with the means to do so, will help 10th, 11th and 12th grade students perform at their potential.
2. Moderate family income levels and high rents and housing costs detract from resources available for education. Retaining strong D.C. rent control will help to stabilize spiraling rents and eroding incomes that otherwise would be available for public education. Student after-school jobs, needed to supplement family income, detract from academic performance but can be an asset as work experience. Foundational school programs such as school lunches, study halls and use of the library may help to overcome disadvantages from lack of proper nutrition and "quiet space" for home study. Most important, a combination of adequate D.C. financial resources, recruitment of sensitive, dedicated teachers who are given adequate periods for lesson preparation and regular sabbatical leave, and the concerted application of community resources can help to overcome many of these barriers to achievement through the cooperative efforts of home, school, local businesses and community organizations.
3. Three important factors in improving D.C. schools and influencing their development are: (1) Budgetary and managerial efficiency. Reducing costs, freeing teachers for teaching and motivating, and effectively utilizing school support resources are essential. (2) Motivation and values for students. Providing role models and working with students in the classroom, the home and the business community aid students' self-image and achievement goals. D.C. schools must "home-grow" talent for such positions as chief justice of the D.C. court system; governor of the State of New Columbia; commander of U.S. forces liberating South Africa, and economic planner to rebuild South Africa as a multiracial, free-enterprise, one-man, one-vote society.
(3) Technological and managerial expertise. With five international trade centers projected for the Washington area over the next five years, D.C. students must be competitive nationally and internationally.