A high-quality education is a cornerstone to creating opportunities for each individual, and therefore to create an equitable and prosperous Ward and District overall. My education allowed me to expand my horizons from growing up in rural Missouri to living and working for change in the District of Columbia.
Children and parents in Ward 2 deserve a high-quality education system that serves them right in the neighborhoods they call home. This means being able to go to middle and high school close to home. However, Ward 2 lacks a middle school for families in the Logan Circle, Downtown, and Shaw neighborhoods and we have no in-boundary public high school. This incomplete education system in Ward 2 is driving families out of the Ward as their children age into higher grades. Ward 2 needs a family-friendly feeder system so that families can grow and stay in the ward. As Councilmember, I will build towards this comprehensive system while supporting our current Ward 2 schools.
Although the lack of in-boundary schools for Ward 2 has been an issue for decades, Covid-19 has completely changed the immediate future of our education system. At-home instruction is the pressing priority right now for District families and teachers. Successful virtual education will require the District to close the digital divide for children who don’t have access to the internet or lack at-home computers or tablets to complete coursework. Failing to do so will exacerbate the District’s already deep and completely unacceptable achievement gap between schools serving higher-income, white and lower-income, black and brown students. Not only in light of the pandemic but well beyond it, addressing the drastic achievement gap in DC Public Schools must be a central focus for DC leaders.
As your Councilmember, I will:
- Commit to build a dedicated public middle school on the eastern side of the Ward and plan for a dedicated public high school in the Ward.
- Increase funding for at-home technologies so that the Ward and District achieve a one-to-one ratio of technology for students to close the Digital Divide.
- Continue to work with parents and teachers to better adapt to our current COVID-19 environment so that working parents can get the support they need and students can meaningfully learn at home.
- Fully support the Birth-to-Three program, including by fully funding its early education components.
- Create a holistic teacher evaluation system, with input from teachers themselves, to avoid a punitive system that harms students through high teacher turnover and other adverse consequences.
- Partner with parents and teachers to reimagine how we evaluate student progress by phasing out outdated testing systems that currently fatigue all involved and can rob students of time for other critical learning opportunities.
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