Best of All Possible Schools
Dear Healthy Skeptics:
Not enough books, not enough teachers, not enough air conditioners (http://www.dcpswatch.com/mayor/070730.htm,
The excuse for these failures at the beginning of the school year? Of
course, it was the previous school administration’s fault; we had no
idea the problems were this bad. That excuse should work for a couple
What will be the excuse at the end of the school year, when the
standardized test scores don’t show the promised great improvement in
students’ reading, writing, and math skills? Months ahead of time,
Marc Fisher has already tipped on his blog what the administration’s
excuse will be (http://blog.washingtonpost.com/rawfisher/2007/07/schools_monday_the_sounds_of_g.html):
“One consistent theme in her [Chancellor Rhee’s] work before coming
to Washington is a healthy skepticism about the current fashionable
obsessions with testing. . . . Can Rhee push aside the testing mania
enough to relieve kids of the cynical and pointless practice of drilling
math and English strictly to boost test scores. . . ?” So don’t pay
any attention to those missing books and teachers and air conditioners
or those miserable test scores; take our word for it that every day, in
every way, things are getting better and better.
FCC and DCPS
Gina Arlotto, Save Our Schools, email@example.com
Just who is calling the shots for DC Public Schools? Certainly not the parents, as
noted in the Post article on principal hiring procedures (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/28/AR2007072801158.html),
definitely not the neutered school board, but probably not even our new
Chancellor, Michelle Rhee. In the we-told-you-so category, word comes
this week that Michelle Rhee is not only taking her cues from Mayor
Fenty and Victor Reinoso, but also from Reinoso’s former employer, the
Federal City Council and Terry Golden. In a meeting of business leaders
recently, Rhee calmly informed those in attendance that all proposed
school initiatives (presumably any from the business community, but it
sounds like any through her office as well) must "secure
approval" from the Federal City Council before implementation in
So Terry Golden’s dearest wish has finally come true. After giving
Fenty his marching orders (gain control of the schools budget and
buildings via mayoral takeover) immediately after the primary last fall,
Golden has become the puppeteer for DCPS. Michelle’s Rhee’s hiring
in light of her extreme inexperience only makes sense when you factor in
the ulterior motives sought by the FCC and Terry Golden — full
privatization of our schools through charters and vouchers, and the sell
off of DCPS real estate.
The secret West End library and firehouse sale to Eastbanc, coupled
with Neil Albert’s quote in Marc Fisher’s column last week, that DC
is going to sell "a lot" of DC owned properties during this
mayor’s regime (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/25/AR2007072502125.html),
is just another piece of the puzzle. All of these things expose the
culpability of Terry Golden and the FCC as those who truly control DC
from behind a cloak of invisibility worthy of Harry Potter. Just when
are we going to put an end to the FCC’s control of everything here in
Construction Blocking Roads and Sidewalks
Jim Champagne, Remyjec@aol.com
For the past many years, downtown developers — in violation of both
common practice and laws — have taken out of service both sidewalks
and road lanes with impunity. This is a major inconvenience to
pedestrians, would-be shoppers, tourists, and normal vehicular traffic.
Yet when I call the local police department to complain, my complaints
are treated as “not-our-problem” — which according to my reading
of DC law, they clearly are.
Just one example (there are many) underscores the problem: the
development at the corner of M Street, New Hampshire Avenue, and 22nd
Street, NW. For over a year, the construction firm has arbitrarily
closed one and sometime two lanes and a sidewalk on New Hampshire
Avenue; two lanes and a sidewalk on M Street; and a full lane and
sidewalk on 22nd Street. The main purpose apparently is to provide free
parking for the managers and workers involved in the construction
Multiply this problem at least by twenty-fold in the downtown area
alone, and it represents a sizable financial loss to DC coffers, and a
major disservice to residents, workers, and tourists. Perhaps one of our
erstwhile council members might be willing to take up the cudgel on this
Meeting Canceled for Too Much Interest
Meredith Manning, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Taxicab Commission has canceled a public meeting on cab meters
due to public interest. That’s right — canceled because too many
people may show up. Instead, the Commission has decided to make its
decision based solely on the results of a short telephone survey of
residents and a written questionnaire sent to cab drivers. One of the
reasons the meeting will be canceled is that there is inadequate parking
at the downtown library where the meeting was scheduled to be held.
Apparently, the Commission believes that interested parties might be
reluctant to take cabs to the meeting. What does that say about cab
service in DC?
Stormwater Landscaping from DDOE
Candace McCrae, email@example.com
The new District Department of Environment (DDOE) is soliciting
applications from DC homeowners for free stormwater friendly landscaping
enhancements to be installed in their yards. DDOE is looking to fund
projects that will demonstrate ways to reduce river and stream
pollution. Selection criteria will include visibility of the home,
accessibility to public transportation, willingness of the homeowner to
allow tours, willingness of the homeowner to continue maintenance of the
landscaping installations and adaptability of the property to the
One home in each Ward will be selected to install a large shade tree,
rain garden, “Bayscaping,” pervious surfaces, and a rain
barrel. If the selected homeowner has an impervious surface such as a
driveway or patio, it may be replaced with pervious surface such as
paving stone, porous pavement, or other hard surface that permits water
penetration into the soil. The rain barrel will capture and store
rainwater from the rooftop to be reused in the yard. Bayscaping will
provide aesthetic native plants that require little to no watering,
fertilizing, or pesticide use. The eight homes selected will serve as
demonstration sites for DDOE’s new pollution reduction campaign
scheduled to debut in 2008. The program will offer incentives for
homeowners to adopt the storm water reducing techniques on their
property that are mentioned above. The campaign goal is to reduce storm
water runoff and increase storm water quality, which will improve our
rivers and the District’s environment as a whole.
The deadline for submitting applications is August 10. Interested
residents should visit the DDOE web site at ddoe.dc.gov and click “DDOE
Seeks Applications For Stormwater Demonstration Sites” (under DDOE
News) to fill out an application. If you have questions, please call
Lorin O’Toole at 727-5160.
Washingtoniana Microfilm Holdings and
Georgetown Artifacts Exhibit
Jerry A. McCoy, firstname.lastname@example.org
An updated index to the microfilm holdings at the Washingtoniana
Division is now available. If you would like to have the document
E-mailed to you as an attachment, please let me know.
A small exhibit of historic Georgetown artifacts that were saved from
the Peabody Room/Georgetown Branch Library fire of April 30 is now on
display in the Washingtoniana Division, Room #307, located in the Martin
Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street. The library is
conveniently located across from the 9th Street exit of the Gallery
Place Metro Station on the red, yellow, and green lines. The exhibit
will be up until Friday, September 7. A few of the items on display may
be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/10835901@N04/.
Library Flags, 13th and H Streets, NE
Raven McKlintock, email@example.com
I noticed on a bus as I was going by that the flags on the DC Library
on H Street at 13th Street, NE, are ruined, being tattered and faded. It
looks as if they have never been taken down. The flag of the United
States and the District should never be displayed in such shameful
condition. They should be retired and disposed of properly and replaced
[Re: Bryce Suderow, “Altering the DC Library System’s
Collections,” themail, July 29] What exactly are you saying? Are
books being removed from the collection and being pulped, or just being
removed from the shelves but still kept in the catalog and available on
request? Library collections and purposes need to be rethought. With
computer access to catalogs and intra- and interlibrary loans any and
all books should be accessible to the residents of DC. With online
libraries such as the Project Gutenberg, vast collections of classics
are available for download and printing. Libraries would do well to
provide print on demand access to these collections.
[See also the article on the library’s collection by Bill Myers in
the Washington Examiner, which is hidden on their web site. It is
only in the PDF version. Go to http://www.examiner.com/dc,
click on the
PDF symbol in the upper right corner of the page, click on the DC
edition, and at the top of the page that appears choose July 31 and then
Page 9. — Gary Imhoff]
The representations that John Henry Wheeler made in the July 29
edition of themail are total falsehoods, as I am not Jonathan Rees, and
you will not by Googling Stewart come up with Jonathan Rees — unless
somebody has deliberately posted matters on the Internet attempting to
link Jonathan Rees and me together.
I have attached a copy of my non-drivers’ ID so that the people at
DCWatch will know I am a real person and will publish what I say. I
think Mr. Wheeler may be another Mary Cheh supporter whom Cheh has put
up to bashing Jonathan Rees for speaking up.
[The E-mail included an image of a Washington, DC, official
non-drivers’ identification card for Roy Stewart, Jr. The address on
the card is not Jonathan Rees’, and the photograph is not of Rees.
Searching for web pages that mention Stewart and Rees together leads to
several pages that say Stewart is a pseudonym used by Rees and that they
share the same address, and also to a blog comment by Ramon
Stewart-Rivera denying that he is Jonathan Rees. — Gary Imhoff]
Malcolm Wiseman, firstname.lastname@example.org
DCWatch(ers), If I asked you to go buy me a Coke, and you brought me
a Safeway-brand cola, or if I asked you for a Xerox copy of my memo, and
you gave me a mimeograph instead, or if I am having problems with my
mailing list server, and I call an IT shop and ask for a listserv
technician, and they send me someone who knows how to fix listserv list
servers, but he can’t fix my system because it is in fact the EZ
Mailing List Manager, should I be upset?
In a post from Mr. Wheeler asking who is the person that some
DCWatchers would ban from this board, he repeatedly uses the word “listserv” to mean a system that sends E-mail. I have
previously pointed to this incorrect usage committed by posters and Mr.
Imhoff alike on DCWatch. You might consider this my annual
warning-correction-advisory. See the statement from L-Soft, owner of the
LISTSERV trademark, at http://www.lsoft.com/news/issue4-2005-us.asp
example). Saying “listserv” is probably not going to cost you
anything, except if I or others in the know hear you say it, but writing
it very well could cost you something. It’s a list server!
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS AND CLASSES
DC Public Library Events, August 3-4 and beyond
Randi Blank, email@example.com
Fridays, August 3-August 31, 12:00 p.m., Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, G Street Overhang. Music al Fresco.
Join us for weekly outdoor concerts in a variety of music styles,
presented by members of the American Federation of Musicians Local
161-170. If it is raining, concerts will take place in the Great Hall.
Music al Fresco runs through August 31. For more information, call
Saturday, August 4, 10:00 a.m., Palisades Neighborhood Library, 4901
V Street, NW. Chesapeake Lace Group. For more information, call
Saturdays, August 4, 11, and 18, 2:00 p.m., Francis A. Gregory
Neighborhood Library, 3660 Alabama Avenue, SE. Beginning Sign Language.
Learn to communicate in sign language in this three-hour class. For more
information, call 645-4297.
Black Indians, Black Japanese, August 9
Corey Jennings, firstname.lastname@example.org
Next Generation Awareness Foundation (“NGAF”) announced
today that it has chosen filmmaker Rich Heape’s Black Indians: An
American Story and filmmaker Yohei Suzuki’s Our Pride: The Spirits of
Black Japanese in Georgia for its upcoming multicultural program on
August 9 at 7:30 p.m., as part of the 2007 Urban Film and Discussion
Series hosted by Landmark’s E Street Cinema (555 11th Street, NW).
Tickets range from $10 (general) to $15 (VIP) and can be purchased in
advance at UrbanFilmSeries.com or at the Landmark Theater box office.
Proceeds will benefit NGAF’s upcoming free children’s film festival.
Jay Winter Nightwolf, a Washington-area American Indian/Native American
teacher, WPFW-FM radio commentator, and host will introduce the program
and lead discussions at the event.
Free Back-to-School Workshops for Students and Parents, August 13-29
Ana Hitri, email@example.com
Learning pathways: brain and learning with subject specific workshops
on standard based key topics in math, science, English, or Spanish. The
two-hour workshops are weekdays from 6-8 p.m. at the Georgetown Academic
Studio, starting Monday, August 13, and continuing through August 29. To
register call 746-8795 or 337- 0144, send a fax to 337-0146, or mail
Georgetown Academic Studio, 2121 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite C-66-68,
Washington, DC 20007, Attn: Dr. Ana Hitri.
Talk for Change Toastmasters Club, August 15
Corey Jenkins Schaut, firstname.lastname@example.org
This newly formed Toastmasters Club is seeking members who would like
to take advantage of a great personal development and networking
opportunity. We can help you improve your communication and public
speaking skills; conduct meetings; manage a department or business;
lead, delegate and motivate others; and meet great and interesting
We meet the first and third Wednesdays of the month at a convenient
location on K Street, NW, right off McPherson Square. In August, we’ll
meet next on Wednesday, August 15, at 6:45 p.m. at the Teach for America
offices at 1413 K Street, NW, 7th floor. For more information and to
RSVP, please E-mail email@example.com.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
Wednesday and Sunday. To subscribe, to change E-mail addresses, or to
switch between HTML and plain text versions of themail, use the
subscription form at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/subscribe.htm.
To unsubscribe, send an E-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org
with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Archives of past messages
are available at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail.
All postings should also be submitted to email@example.com,
and should be about life, government, or politics in the District of
Columbia in one way or another. All postings must be signed in order to
be printed, and messages should be reasonably short — one or two brief
paragraphs would be ideal — so that as many messages as possible can
be put into each mailing.