Follow NWPE on:

Subscribe to RSS Feed:

"Reform 2.0" in the Nation’s Capital
posted by: Cindy Omlin | May 01, 2013, 03:34 AM   

Washington, D.C. Councilmember David Catania recently became head of the Committee on Education in the District. He plans to use his new position to implement "Reform 2.0," a roadmap that includes money for low income students, specific attention to those at risk of dropping out, and a revamp of vocational programs. Schools in our Nation's Capital are often considered some of the poorest performing in the country. Mr. Catania designed his initiatives to combat issues facing all urban school districts.

Today in a NPR interview, Catania spoke more in depth about his ideas. While D.C. public schools underwent reform in 2007, with management transferring from a traditional school board system to mayoral control via a chancellor, the change left classrooms essentially unaffected. "Reform 2.0" would focus on students and their challenges in the classroom.

One of Catania's plans is to increase funding levels in high-need communities. "The children who are coming to us from low-income families face different challenges than those who are coming from the more affluent," asserted Catania. "And so what you have is a school from an affluent area able to spend its per pupil formula on instruction. And a struggling community is spending it on social services. And it cheats the child twice. There's actually not enough for social services or instruction, so they don't do either well."

Catania also wants to raise graduation rates. Currently, a whopping 41% of D.C. public school students do not graduate. By investing in these students via more vocational programs, Catania hopes to appeal to a broader range of students. He also wants to invest more in public charter schools to ensure D.C. is providing a wide range of school choices for students.

While these new programs require funds, Catania's is committed to a transparent system. "In addition to having greater transparency, I want to make sure we peg a percentage of the money that we actually spend on education," he pledged. "I think the Baltimore model where 80 cents on the dollar actually goes into the schools and you can prove it is a model that's well worth replicating."

Another innovative approach discussed was the "5th grade tenth grade" policy. This program has been implemented by several D.C. charter schools and allows students who are behind one grade level to continue on, but requires them to graduate in five years. This approach promotes flexibility and is considered a deterrent to dropping out as students are able to along with their fellow classmates.

Click here to read the full interview.

What do you think of Catania's ideas for education reform? Do you think they would work in another urban district?
Comment below.


Originally posted by Ruthie at AAE

Comments (0)Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.