Education is critical to the economic well-being of the District and the future prosperity of our children. Although there have been notable improvements in our school system over the past few years, they have not been enough. Students who are already behind are falling further back, and the achievement gap is steadily widening. In fact, the District has the lowest high school graduation rate in the nation. We must act now and give every student in the District the chance to graduate prepared for college, the workforce and life.
In the March 27 editorial “Unhelpful advice,” The Post wrote that the D.C. Council should watch education reform from the sidelines. I disagree, and although I have no desire to micromanage our school system, the council has a critical oversight role to fulfill and must represent the community voice in education. Like any legislative body, we also have the responsibility to develop policies when we believe problems are not being addressed effectively or quickly enough.
That’s why I authored the “Raising the Expectations for Education Outcomes Omnibus Act of 2012,” which the council passed overwhelmingly last week. This plan is comprehensive, and each measure is proven. Rather than being a “scattershot approach,” as the editorial put it, it is focused and will support students during their scholastic journey by giving them the tools they need to succeed and by exposing them to new opportunities.
School reform is not about the council, the mayor or the schools chancellor; it is about our students. By supporting those who are at high risk of dropping out and encouraging students to consider post-secondary education, we are not taking the first step down “a road to the dreary past” but instead are raising our expectations for a brighter future for all.
Kwame Brown, Washington
The writer, a Democrat, is chairman of the D.C. Council.