The DC Council’s Education Committee just completed it’s “performance oversight” hearing for the Deputy Mayor for Education. DC’s IFF study was heavily referenced by Chair David Catania and by DME Leonard throughout, esp. near adjournment, as though it had never been discredited and as though “tiers” and “seats” and “under-performing schools” were facts. (Here’s more on the IFF).
At one point, Catania was reading his report — almost as though looking at moveable pieces on a game board — and declaring, “Tier 4. Closed. Don’t be sentimental.”
Over many months, advocates were repeatedly told — by Chair Phil Mendelson, e.g. — that the IFF study was not being considered at all. Citizens were never given an opportunity to discuss it, despite promises in February. “Community Conversations” over the summer were designed by the DME, with assistance from the outside nonprofit Public Agenda, to focus on “quality” without allowing participants to discuss the IFF at all; participants, however, offered some remarks anyway (see Quality Schools Reports). But the DME has left unfulfilled every promise to the public of last July regarding those “community conversations.”
Following the Community Conversations, the Deputy Mayor for Education will release a brief report that includes summary notes from each Conversation. The Deputy Mayor will use these community suggestions to inform a list of recommendations to DCPS, the Public Charter School Board, and charter LEAs as to how they can increase the number of quality seats in high-need neighborhood clusters. This report will be released in Fall of 2012.
The notes from those conversations were never released. And when they were posted here in December, the DME’s office said Public Agenda had released them “erroneously.” Later, The Education Town Hall was told that Public Agenda had “published them.” Today, DME Leonard “apologizes” to citizens and says they will look into why they were never posted by Public Agenda (despite the fact that the DME promised repeatedly to do that sharing itself and NEVER sent out any notice to citizens say, e.g. “notes are ready at Public Agenda.”)
More, including other important aspects of the hearing, soon.