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Mayor’s letter to City Council on school governance
February 1, 2000




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February 1, 2000

The Honorable Linda W. Cropp
Chairman, Council of the District of Columbia
Suite 704
441 4th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Chairman Cropp:

Like the Council, I want to settle the school governance issue and move ahead to the real work fixing our school system. All of us know the sad reality that our children have been ill served under the current system. Our test scores are well below the national average. At least a third of our students never graduate. Our school buildings are crumbling. Parents feel despair about their children's future. Feeling no confidence in the public schools, many parents have just left the District. There is no greater moral imperative for elected officials than ceasing the awful neglect of our public education system. Correcting this situation speaks volumes about the courage and resolve of elected officials and other leaders.

I am committed to school governance that will support the good work of parents. teachers. and others who care deeply about children. I regret that the Council did not advance a proposal that addresses the core issues of accountability for our children. The various proposals forthcoming from the Council are designed to address political interests, rather than real results for our children.

I want to reiterate my earlier position that an appointed structure would best serve the interests of children. However, in order to forge a common purpose with the Council. I am willing to compromise on a solution that affords more accountability than the current system.

As you know, I believe that a smaller board would be more effective and more likely to produce reform. Consequently, I feel that a 4-elected/3-appointed hybrid structure is best. Should that not pass, I would sign a bill containing a 5-elected/4-appointed structure. But I urge the Council to adopt a measure with the smaller structure.

Councilmember Chavous, Chairman of the Education Committee, has worked diligently on this issue and deserves credit for initiating this discussion. I am grateful for your efforts to forge a workable solution.

Anthony A. Williams
cc: All Councilmembers

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