From views by Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) as included in a July 19 D.C. Appropriations Committee report:

It is with great disappointment and genuine distress that I heard and read the answers to the questions about the education system in the District of Columbia. ... How is it possible that the president of the board of education and the superintendent, seemingly the highest authorities and the most accountable, were able to repond to the question of how many fires the school system has had with the answer "none"? ... In reality, there have been at least 19 as of the middle of June.

When queried about why the school system does not ask for a waiver to combine the similar functions of the state education agency and the local education agency when one level of bureaucracy is plenty -- the answer came back, fine idea, we will look into this. And yet, the written response to this question is that there are no plans whatsoever to request a waiver to combine the two.

There are an appalling number of fire code violations. The amount of time that D.C. students spend in the classroom amounts to less time (one to two years less) than their peers in the neighboring jurisdictions. The school system administration cannot decide what the dropout rate is. The children in the D.C. elementary schools do not have a nurse in their schools for much longer than 6.5 hours a week and are not able to wash their hands in running water in 24 of the schools. And yet the school system maintains over 176 buildings for 81,300 students when a similar school system in Albuquerque has 115 buildings for 84,783 students.

... {I}f this is the state of general disrepair that exists in other parts of the school system, then why are we not hearing that there is a crisis?