Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) is set to deliver the final State of the District address of her first term on Thursday evening, months before voters decide if she deserves reelection.
By several measures, the city is flourishing: The economy is humming, new housing and businesses are sprouting, tax revenues are flowing and violent crime has dipped. The region is on the verge of a historic deal to provide permanent funding to the beleaguered Metro transit system. And with no credible challengers days before the deadline to get on the June 19 primary ballot, Bowser seems to be a shoo-in for a second term.
But in recent weeks, Bowser has confronted a series of school scandals that undermine her promises to be a strong education mayor.
The public school system is under FBI investigation amid revelations of fraudulent graduation rates. A preliminary probe suggests widespread enrollment fraud at the city’s premiere Duke Ellington School of Arts, where Bowser originally planned to deliver her State of the District address. And Bowser fired her hand-picked schools chief Antwan Wilson for skirting the school’s competitive lottery to send his daughter to a desirable high school — and Wilson publicly contradicted the mayor by claiming she knew the transfer.
In a newsletter published ahead of her Thursday speech, Bowser conspicuously failed to mention education – a primary responsibility of local government. Instead, she touted other improvements.
“We have come a long way in Washington, D.C. In the past, our city had a reputation for poor finances, high crime, and for being a one-business government town,” Bowser wrote. “Tonight, at my fourth State of the District address, I will highlight the programs and policies we are putting in place to continue making progress, to build a safer, stronger DC, and to put more Washingtonians on pathways to the middle class.”
We want to hear from D.C. residents about how you would describe the state of the district.
How would you grade Bowser’s first term in office?
We also want to hear your thoughts – please leave details in the comment section below.
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