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Back to Parents United Questionnaire page — Back to Harold Brazil’s election 2000 main page

Harold Brazil, Democrat, Candidate for At-Large Councilmember
September 12, 2000, Primary Election
Parents United for DC Public Schools Questionnaire
August 20, 2000

1) Since the Mayor appoints four School Board members with the consent of the Council, what qualities will you look for when you approve appointed members?

I believe the person must be a District resident, with extensive experience in the educational field or in related administrative, procurement, or similar fields. I would support a person who has integrity, intelligence, and is dedicated to improving our school system.

2) What is the difference between oversight and micro-management of the school system? What is the role of the Council with respect to public schools since some members of the School Board now have a relationship with the Council? How will you assure that the Superintendent is accountable to the School Board rather than pulled between the Mayor, Council and School Board?

Oversight involves policy guidance, while micro-management means control of the day-today operations, which legislatures are not fully competent at.

The Council should avoid the temptation to micromanage, but should look for constructive ways to work with school board members to create solutions to problems like procurement and school violence.

I recommend hosting an education summit where we could agree on ground rules and foster an understanding that the superintendent is responsible for running the schools, and the board have a policy-making function. Neither the Mayor, the School Board, nor the Council should interfere with school operations or attempt to politicize or micromanage the process.

3) What steps would you take to see that the school system's operating budget and capital budget are adequately funded to meet students' needs for a high quality educational program? Please include comments on financing for new school construction and rehabilitation and for funding high quality occupational training/career development opportunities that do not now exist.

I supported an increase of over $87,000,000 in the FY 2001 operating budget and I supported all capital projects for the public school system. I also supported the billion dollar capital budget to improve our schools. Additionally, I introduced an amendment, which did not pass the Council, that would have created a trust fund to create newer and better schools from monies received from the sale of District government owned real property.

I believe that it is extremely important to repair, renovate, or modernize our school buildings to get them in good condition, but I also favor constructing new schools. I advocate a building program for new, smaller, smarter schools.

4) Our older students have such low achievement levels that will not graduate with competitive skills unless they receive additional support. What are you willing to do to help the school system raise achievement at the high school level? Would you accept differentiated diplomas so that students who do not pass requirements and tests receive a diploma that is different from the diploma for students who do pass requirements and tests?

I support smaller class size, higher pay and better training for teachers, and making teachers and principals accountable for student performance.

I do not support differential diplomas. Summer school, remedial programs, before and after school academia, and cultural and enrichment programs are additional tools that can raise test scores and improve student performance.

We also need to improve attendance through a combination of better instructional programs, learning how to make learning fun, and conversely enforcing out truancy laws.

5) If you have children, do your children attend D. C. Public Schools?


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