News, The Features

DCPS Shows First Ever Growth in Enrollment

Photo courtesy of
‘Back to school’
courtesy of ‘ECU Digital Collections’

For each of the previous 39 years, enrollment in the DC Public Schools has declined.  That stopped in 2010.  DCPS announced an enrollment increase this morning in a press conference with Mayor Adrian Fenty and Chancellor Michelle Rhee.  73 of the 168 123 schools (see comments for alteration) in the District are showing an increase in enrollment, and 14 of those have had to add waitlists for the first time in recent memory.

One of the interesting schools that saw an increase in enrollment of 12% was Coolidge High, which is featured on today’s WAMU morning news, along with Dunbar High, for being one of the District’s turnaround projects.  The ventures, conducted along side the Federal Government and private partners, have boosted test scores at the two high schools by 10-20% depending on the test involved.

481 additional pre-K students enrolled this year are a part of the overall percentage increase, which has yet to be released.  DCPS is adamant, though, that K-12 enrollment remains increased over the 2009-2010 school year.

Is this the economy taking effect?  Are parents who’ve lost jobs faced with the prospect of bigger and bigger loans necessary for private education taking their children to the resurgent DCPS?  Perhaps.  We’re not sure what else, beyond improved conditions, represents the shift toward the boost in DCPS.

News, The Daily Feed

Rhee clarifies “Devastating” comment

Photo courtesy of
‘Jeffrey Zients, Sir Michael Barber, Michelle Rhee’
courtesy of ‘Center for American Progress’

In the Post’s Local Opinions Blog, DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee clarified her earlier comments on the election, wherein she called the results devastating.  She has stepped back her remarks to refer to the status of the election as a repudiation of reform efforts:

“I was describing the perception by some that this election had been a referendum on reform of the D.C. schools itself. If the results were to be read as a repudiation of reform, that indeed would be devastating for D.C. children, for the city and for children throughout the country who are so dependent on successful school reform efforts.”

Rhee’s status as Chancellor has come to be the subject of much public speculation in the wake of Vincent Gray’s win of the Democratic Party nomination for mayor on Tuesday.  TBD today speculates on who might take her place atop DCPS if Gray decides that Michelle Rhee cannot serve his new administration, and questions have abounded to Gray, as well, with Mark Plotkin finding new and unique methods of asking the same question over and over and over today to Gray on his radio show.  Gray has publicly said he won’t make any decisions until he was properly elected and not just nominated.

News, The Daily Feed

Michelle Rhee’s Rumored Resignation and what actually happened today

Photo courtesy of
‘loose lips’
courtesy of ‘amy_b’

Twitter was all abuzz late this afternoon as rumors of a four line resignation email to DCPS staffers spread like wildfire.  While Michelle Rhee’s tenure is in question with the election of Vincent Gray, nothing has been written in stone yet, and no announcements concerning her departure had been made.

We Love DC has obtained a copy of the email that sparked this rumor, and I have to say, if you read this as a resignation email, you likely need as much reading comprehension help as so many of the DCPS students do.  The email was sent this afternoon at 1pm and was titled “Keeping It Moving”:

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All Politics is Local, Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed, The District

Michelle Rhee On “This Week”

Photo courtesy of
‘Michelle Rhee’
courtesy of ‘angela n.’

Yesterday morning, DC’s chancellor of Public Schools, appeared on ABC’s “This Week” to weigh in on the current state of America’s public education system. During the round table discussion with Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, and host Christiane Amanpour, Rhee (who joined via satellite from Sacramento) spoke to the revamping of the DC teacher evaluation model, implementing a merit-based compensation system  and reforming the way government resources flow into the school districts.

See the first segment of the discussion, after the jump.

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All Politics is Local, Life in the Capital, News, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Teacher Appreciation Week: Hooray Teachers!

As part of Teacher Appreciation Week and tomorrow’s Teacher Appreciation Day, the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) is offering a variety ways to honor and recognize our local teachers for the lasting contributions they’ve made and continue to make in our lives.

Chancellor Michelle Rhee wrote a personal letter and created the above video highlighting the efforts made by DC teachers during the last year and encouraging the public to extend their own personal thank yous to teachers.

Visit the DCPS site to read outstanding district teachers profiles, publicly thank your own DCPS teacher, or generate your own special 140 character DCPS teacher message and tweet it to @dcpublicschools.

All of the above are fantastic ways to participate in this worldwide teacher celebration week and they only require a few moments of time to show our appreciation to teachers for all the effort they put in each day to teach and for the education that we and our youth receive thanks to them.

The Daily Feed

Bonuses Keep Flowing for DC Officials

cash by TheTruthAbout…

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, or possibly in a mansion, you’ve probably heard of the economic downturn we’re in the middle of.  No?  Apparently our city officials are living in your dream world too.

According to a recent article by the Washington Examiner, $15 million in bonuses have been handed out to city officials since Mayor Fenty took office in January of 2007.  Granted, many of these bonuses were written into contracts in the good old days when our economy was believed to be strong, but bonus money keeps flowing despite the recession.

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The Daily Feed

Characters Unite: National Town Hall

Characters Unite-National Town HallCharacters Unite Town Hall by Corinne Whiting

Earlier today the Newseum hosted a by-invitation-only panel that brought together an eclectic array of powerhouses. On the stage was opening speaker Dulé Hill (who referred to his former role on West Wing), moderator Tom Brokaw (who led a smooth discussion and even pitched a few jokes along the way), and panelists from columnist Kathleen Parker, Chancellor Michelle Rhee and Newark Mayor Cory Booker to Representative Anh “Joseph” Cao and rocker/budding philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi, to name a few. Ah, the beauty of living in DC.

The event, billed as “Characters Unite: National Town Hall,” was inspired by the USA network’s initiative—an attempt to battle prejudice and promote tolerance—as well as Brokaw’s upcoming documentary American Character Along Highway 50. The show premieres January 18 and, based on the preview they screened today, I for one plan to tune in. (Brokaw traveled to small towns like Hillsboro, Ohio, and Grand Junction, Colorado, to interview residents about their daily challenges living in America; the result looks fascinating!)

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The Daily Feed

Rhee Gets Small Victory

Photo courtesy of
‘Field trip’
courtesy of ‘clio1789’

Chancellor Michelle Rhee can now count another small victory in her fight with WTU and the City Council over the round of layoffs in early October. The D.C. Circuit Court has refused to grant a temporary restraining order in the case, which means that the layoffs will go ahead as planned, in front of the hearing in front of the circuit on November 5th. It’s not a large victory, by any means, as it’s based on the fact that if the re-hiring of those teachers is required, it’s no more difficult to do it after the court has ruled than it would be right now, but there’s momentum for the Chancellor, and that’s something she’s in sore need of.

All Politics is Local, The Daily Feed

Barry Stops Short of Screaming “You lie!”

Photo courtesy of
‘Marion Barry’
courtesy of ‘cliff1066â�¢’

Everyone is rightfully outraged over the recent mass firings of DCPS teachers due to a $44m budget shortfall; over 200 were let go on Friday. Students, teachers and their allies came together yesterday to protest the cuts and a lot of their attention focused on the Chancellor of DCPS, Michelle Rhee. They even received a few not-so-calming words from every body’s “favorite” Councilman Marion Barry, according to NBC Washington.

“Chancellor Rhee has lied to you. Lied to you,” Barry said. “And I don’t like liars.”

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The Daily Feed

Caps Help Beautify DCPS

Photo courtesy of
‘Washington Capitals Hat’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

Can’t say the Capitals aren’t using their summer downtime wisely.

This past Saturday, Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau and D-man Brian Pothier participated in the annual DC Public Schools Beautification Day. Several members from the Caps’ front office also assisted in projects at Emery Education Campus in NE and King Elementary School in SE. At King, the volunteers were joined by DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee for a short time.

The Caps and several fan volunteers planted flowers, landscaped, painted, cleaned out old books and put together goody-bags for the incoming students.