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Platform for Quality Public Education in the District of Columbia
July 11, 1998




Dorothy Brizill
Bonnie Cain
Jim Dougherty
Gary Imhoff
Phil Mendelson
Mark David Richards
Sandra Seegars


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We need our elected officials to contribute to the leadership of a cooperative initiative to improve public education; so that District residents have a public school system to count on, believe in and of which we can be proud

On July 11, 1998 a coalition of District parents, local school educators and community activists (listed on the back) [below] came together to articulate a platform on public education The platform expressed below represents an effort to build on the experiences and background of participants to identify education priorities and the areas where strong consensus exists.

We ask that the aspiring District of Columbia candidates speak to the issues raised in this platform during the 1998 elections.

Education Program

  1. Establish a high quality school system that offers multiple programs and options (and supports them) such that all students can graduate prepared for gainful employment, post secondary education and training or both.
  2. Staff all schools to provide a full spectrum of disciplines including art, music, second and native language, technology, physical education, as well as core subjects of mathematics, reading, language arts, science, and social studies; and provide counselors and librarians to support these offerings.
  3. Recruit, retain and maintain a high quality teaching force.
  4. Create and support small schools and small classes that provide humane learning environments, where all children are safe, valued and engaged.
  5. Support and nurture innovation — foster excellent programs in regular schools. Do not push out our best programs or rely on the charter schools to provide enrichments and opportunities the regular schools should offer.
  6. Integrate community and social services with public education so that all students receive the support they need to learn to their fullest potential.
Foster Care
Child Care Education
Public Safety
Adult Education
Day Care


Return democratic process of governance to public education.

System-wide Governance

  1. Restructure the board of education as a more effective elected body.
  2. Establish a new financing and accountability structure for local schools based on local school control of resources.
  3. Require timely public notice, sufficient time for public comment and consideration before policy decisions are made.
  4. Require disclosure to the public of pertinent information, as a matter of course, in time for public consideration.
  5. Establish and comply with due process, procurement rules, and personnel rules.

Local School Governance

  1. Establish effective site-based management to produce desired student outcomes.
  2. Establish a clear accountability structure based on performance standards for students, teachers and principals.
  3. Implement a formal process of collaboration by central administration and local school stakeholders on policies that effect the local schools.
  4. Promote local school control of budget and staffing.
  5. Fund local schools based on Local School Restructuring Teams' (local school management teams) meeting requirements for teacher, community, parent, and student participation in planning the budget, improving the curriculum, and deploying staff.
  6. Develop and fund programs for instructional leadership training for principals.
  7. Provide incentives for teacher training and leadership in curriculum design.


  1. Develop and implement a zero-based budgeting process based on the needs and programs at the local schools.
  2. Provide full disclosure of all financial matters, both at the district and local school level, as part of a deliberative and public budgetary process.


  1. Fund a ten-year initiative, developed through public engagement and collaboration to comprehensively modernize public school facilities to comply with local and federal mandates on health and safety, accessibility, and good repair that support teaching, learning, and community use.
  2. Guide the planning process by the principle, substantiated by research, that small schools, small learning clusters, and small class sizes are the most appropriate learning environments.

Other Issues

(Positions under development on these issues.)

Special Education
Standards, Testing and Assessment, Promotion
K-16 public education — UDC and other options
Education of non- native English speakers
School closings
Board of Trustees
Vocational and Career Education Vouchers
Militarization of schools
State education agency

Endorsers (Organizations for identification purposes only). Nora E. Bawa, Bell MHS; Marlene Berlin, Ad Hoc Parent Coalition; Bonnie Cain; Heleny Cook, Wilson HS PTA; Susan Duncan, Funds for the Community's Future; Wanda Fox, Amidon ES; Susan Gushue, DCPACE; Timothea Howard, Shaw Family Collaborative; Nancy Huvendick, Oyster Community Council; John Judge, Washington Peace Center; Lynn Kauffman, School Without Walls; Mary Levy, Washington Lawyer's Committee, Arona McNeill- Vann, Community Academy Charter School; Deborah Menkart, Network of Educators on the Americas; Glenda Partee, American Youth Policy Forum; Cathy Reilly, SHAPPE; Delabian Rice-Thurston, Parents United; Gail Sonnemann, Capitol Hill Cluster parent; Maurice R. Sykes; Carrie Thornhill, DC Agenda; Alicia Rucker Tobechi, Woodson HS PTA; Harriet Tyson; Mine Veazi; Athena Viscusi DCCMH MSD; Sarah Woodhead, 21 st Century School Fund; Jerald Woody, Sr., Washington Parent Group Fund.

For more information about the coalition of parents, teachers and community members who worked on this platform, call 202-238-2379.

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