October 17, 2010

HEADED SOUTH:

We fought for D.C. schools. Now it's up to you. (Adrian Fenty and Michelle Rhee, October 17, 2010, Washington Post)

When the two of us began this journey together, we made a pact with each other. We pledged that we would always put children first and make decisions that would be in their best interest, even when -- especially when -- we knew it would cause consternation among adults. This pact was our true north. In many ways, it cut through the hard choices to something clear and simple: We would fight for the right of every parent to promise and provide their children an excellent education. We would insist on a school system that backed up that promise. We would ensure that children received the skills and knowledge they needed to do anything they wanted in life.

During the 2006 mayoral campaign, everyone in the city agreed on one thing: The schools needed to be fixed. Your mandate drove us every day for the past 3½ years.

We've made tremendous strides. On the nation's gold standard, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, we've gone from being the worst-performing school district in the country to a force of 46,000 children who lead the nation in gains -- with some of the greatest advances coming from our students of color, students receiving special-education services and students formally learning the English language for the first time.

On our local exam, we've increased student achievement in all subject areas and grade levels. At the secondary levels, these gains are unparalleled anywhere in the country. More students are graduating and ready to attend college, our schools are safer and our parents are more satisfied. A greater percentage of the system's taxpayer dollars are going directly to the classroom, where they belong, instead of supporting a bloated and formerly inefficient central office. The operational issues that long plagued our schools (undelivered books, late paychecks and shoddy facilities) are quickly becoming complaints of the past.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 17, 2010 8:38 AM
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