No Surprise at School

Your article about Bruce-Monroe Elementary School [District Extra, Nov. 11] was interesting, but what is amazing is that Superintendent Clifford B. Janey had to walk around the school and be shocked before it was written about in your paper.

This is news? To whom? The conditions in the schools are no surprise to anyone except those who don't have children attending D.C. schools. Parents, teachers, principals and everyone else involved in the school system on a daily basis all know about the dearth of supplies, crumbling buildings, lack of working bathrooms -- and the list goes on.

Ceilings leak, mold grows, paint chips, wires (live? who knows?) hang within reach of children -- all health hazards. Each school principal struggles to get maintenance work done.

If I remember correctly, there are only about two mason workers in the system. Have you investigated the number of people who work in the technology department for all the schools? From my understanding, there are about five who install and maintain all the computers for all the schools. How old are the computers in the classrooms? What about the schools that do not have libraries or librarians?

Reading First? For whom?

All The Post had to do was come out to any school on any day, at any time, and take a look.

All the administrators have to do is come to a school and take a look.

And all the politicians have to do is look.

The sad part is that nothing is ever done. I have taught in the District since 1991.

When we think it can't get worse, it does. But we keep teaching. Why?

Because we back up our words with actions. And we back up our words with our own money, buying students what the system won't. We create partnerships with businesses to get the students what the system won't. We use our unpaid time to write grants or search for donations.

Here's another story. D.C. public schools can't seem to get our pay right or get it to us on time. We're still waiting for last year's step increase. Payroll is still working on it. D.C. will keep the interest on those funds.

Why do we keep teaching? We, the teachers, believe in children first. We believe in every child. So while people read the paper and act shocked, we will continue to get up every morning, drive to our crumbling buildings and face the smiles of the children who don't know how they have been cheated.

But please, don't act like you don't know. I suggest you go out to the schools. You may be surprised that the stories will all sound very, very much alike.

I know that The Post is not in charge of the schools, but I do know the power of the free press. News can create change.

Positive change.

Jacki Yamin

Chevy Chase

A Sad Song for D.C. Schools

I was so outraged about the Bruce-Monroe Elementary School article that I wrote this. It is to be sung to the tune of "Winter Wonderland."

School bells ring, no one's listening.

In the halls, children missing.

It's an awful sight, trying to read with no light

Walking through some D.C. public schools.

Gone away are the teachers.

Here to stay are the creatures.

They run across the floor. But don't go out the door

Walking through some DC public schools.

Near the river they can build a stadium.

Then pretend it's for the good of all.

You'll say: don't be worried. We'll say: we have a right to be.

You can't see the money you're wasting.

It needs to go to school specifically.

Later on, we'll get even.

At elections, next season.

So don't be afraid.

The mess that you made.

Walking through some D.C. public schools.

When we vote, it won't be thrilling.

Some council seats, you ain't filling.

We'll never forget, the priorities you set.

Walking through some D.C. public schools.

Walking through some D.C. public schools.

Joyce A. Fourth

Fort Dupont Park