Regarding the Feb. 3 front-page article “U.S. probe casts shadow over D.C. school reform”:
In fiscal 2015, the District spent $19,396 per public school pupil . It was the third most expensive public school system in the country that year. Clearly, it is the worst. If money is the problem, it may be that there is too much of it. The apparently widespread, wholesale graduation of students who did not meet minimum attendance requirements for a diploma is criminal. The damage done to these unqualified graduates will last them a lifetime.
Because District officials clearly hadn’t a clue, I am delighted that the federal government is stepping in to sort out this mess.
William Herron, Washington
At a Feb. 1 “town hall” on Capitol Hill, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said that D.C. residents don’t mind paying taxes to support the school system. I have been residing, working and paying taxes in the District since 1969; until this latest exposé — graduating students who did not show up for class — that would have been true for me.
The mayor was asked more than once about the scandal. She did not have a plan or solution or a deep critical analysis to articulate; she tried to turn the topic to why aren’t the kids coming to class. Different problem. Further, she rejected as “anecdotal” a journalism teacher’s different but discouraging story about substantive problems at Eastern High School.
The school system is more important than the new soccer stadium, the build-out at the Wharf and other successes the mayor was proud to discuss. And the school system is under the mayor’s control. Of the many challenges in education, adhering to a standard that requires showing up before you graduate seems fairly straightforward. Find the problem and fix it, or send my taxes back.
Susan Bianchi, Washington