The elected D.C. Board of Education generated a lot of heat, noise and press recently [news story, Metro, July 27; op-ed, July 31; letters, Aug. 19], but precious little good has emerged from it -- certainly not the new education product we so desperately need.

My interest in the board is to fix our broken educational system, establish schools that will prepare young people for productive adulthood and make schools part of a community-wide effort to value children and families.

I propose an eight-part strategy to reach those goals:

(1) Support early learning beginning from age 3.

(2) Provide more time for learning to take place.

(3) Provide a rigorous curriculum at the elementary level.

(4) Implement a rigorous curriculum in all high schools.

(5) Create smaller schools.

(6) Manage special education for positive results.

(7) Respect, train and reward our professional teachers.

(8) Collaborate across agency lines to reduce truancy, drug abuse, crime and violence.

I call this strategy SmartStart, and I have developed a blueprint for each step. It may not be perfect. But it represents the kind of product development our students need and our citizens support. It is the measure I will use to prod our school board and the administration of D.C. School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman to action.



The writer, who represents Ward 7 on the D.C. Council, is chairman of the council's Committee on Education.