Archive for the ‘DCPS’ Category

Yay! School Days Are Here!

August 26, 2013

Yay! School Days Again!

Hey boys and girls, it’s school time again! What could be more fun?


DC Schools Surplus Space – UPDATE

April 3, 2008

DC Schools Surplus Space--UPDATE

School consolidation is central to DC Public Schools reform, closing under-used school buildings. The chief reason DC schools are so empty: middle-class families leaving Washington as their children reach school age because DCPS education is inadequate. It as if DCPS is a powerful engine pumping middle class families into the suburbs, leaving an uneasy mix of very rich and very poor families and the childless.


Special Education and Uncomfortable Truths

March 6, 2008

Special Education and Uncomfortable Truths

Legislation introduced in the D.C. Council Tuesday would prevent the transfer of D.C. Special Education students to schools using “aversive education techniques” such as electrical shocks to the skin. The law is aimed at the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Massachusetts, a residential facility where Washington students have been sent at an annual cost of a quarter million dollars each.


Stop Selling the Store

January 17, 2008

Stop Selling the Store

Judging by their web site, Empower DC seems a bit disorganized, but the group raises a valid, pressing issue: sale of public real estate by the District of Columbia government. You may recall the attempted sale of the West End Library after it had been refurbished. Now about half the city’s schools are going to be closed and the temptation to sell them off is great, especially for officials who will be looking to developers for campaign contributions or their next jobs.


Shocks from Santa and JRC Footnotes

January 11, 2008

Shocks from Santa and JRC Footnotes

As a result of receiving several communications from Matthew L. Israel, PhD., director of the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC), NotionsCapital will be posting further about JRC and its electric shock aversion therapy practices. I do this with some reluctance, as JRC has successfully converted notoriety into marketing, presenting itself as the “Treatment of Last Resort” for exhausted parents when in fact other alternatives are available.


Update: Google DC

November 7, 2007

Google DC

Kudos to DC Government Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra. I gave him a hard time just because the “Search” function on the District’s web page was hidden, marked “Please login or register.” Right when the Mayor announced a new partnership with Google to operate that search function, too.

Now there is a nice inviting “What can we help you find?right above the box, and a big “GO” next to it. Good job.



October 11, 2007

Caution -- Alphabet blocks; not for alphabet soup

The Chairman of the District of Columbia Council, the Honorable Vincent Gray, is proposing universal “pre-kindergarten” or pre-school for Washington’s youngsters, a move I heartily endorse.

Pre-school allows young children to share the joys and diseases of childhood and learn social skills such as cooperation and eye-gouging, valuable preparation for grade school, employment and citizenship. Pre-schools allow women the freedom to work outside the home, fulfilling themselves professionally while contributing to the care and upkeep of our cherished mortgage lending institutions.

Some people have doubts about pre-school. They think young children should be tended by Stay-at-Home Moms. Most who think this are Go-to-Work Dads. Split a six-pack with a Stay-at-Home Mom and she’ll tell you that childcare duties seriously degrade the quality of her daytime television experience. She would like the option to stay at home and let her kids play, learn and throw up with other tots, at least until after Oprah.



October 3, 2007

Needs Improvement - does not pay attention . . .

Elise T. Baach, the special master appointed by U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman to monitor D.C.’s special education system, issued a report Monday ascribing the city’s “abysmal effort” on special ed to a “lack of focus.”

Judging by the sheer volume of press releases, DC Government and school officials seem hyperactive, too, and don’t seem able to focus on solving other actual problems, even those created by government hyperactivity. I am not a physician, but doesn’t this sound like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD?

Physicians prescribe methylphenidate aka Ritalin for ADHD so often that both words are in the MS Word 2003 spell-check (try it).

D.C. officials: I respectfully urge you consult psychopharmacologists at the D.C. Department of Mental Health immediately. And don’t say you’ll put it off until you finally get around to fixing the problems at that agency.

Image by Mike Licht on behalf of the millions of US school kids who take this medication, many because their teachers are not good enough to make school interesting.

UPDATE: Top special ed officials placed on leave after rise in criticism

Fun With Numbers

September 27, 2007

Will this be on the test Mr. Lew?

Hey kids, what is 2,520 minus 2028? 

That’s right, 492, the number of Fire Code Violations in DC school buildings. 

No Substandard Teachers Left Behind

August 24, 2007

No bumping! 

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee told the Examiner that 68 educators, with a combined annual payroll of $5.4 million, will not be placed in schools this term but, due to their contracts and seniority, their employment cannot be terminated. 

The skills of these teachers, aides, and assistant principals may be too weak to allow them to teach our children, but their experience should not go to waste, nor should they sit idle while collecting public salaries.


Over one-third of the District’s adults cannot read a food label or complete a job application, and the rate of functional illiteracy is even higher for the incarcerated. 68 educators are available to help remedy this problem. Right now, immediately. Put them in half-way houses and D.C. Jail. Start a second shift or night school at the jail if demand exceeds capacity of the facilities.


Mayor Fenty has coordinated Adult Literacy programs under the State Education Office. I am sure the Chancellor and Deputy Mayor for Education could expedite detailing of these DCPS employees to the SEO for this vital effort.


And if some of the idle educators do not feel up to the challenge and decide to pursue other opportunities, good luck to them. The salary lines freed up can be used to hire more skilled classroom teachers for DC’s children.