Prince George’s considers serious affordable housing bill…then waters it down

HOUSING | It’s not a good week for Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees megastar is facing harsh punishment from the MLB for being a cheater. He’s also the owner of a management company that is in charge of about 1,000 housing units that comprise a Prince George’s County’s apartment complex. Those apartments are being severely and disgustingly neglected, with more than 1500 code violations having been reported to date.

Yesterday, the County Council debated legislation that would allow the county, or designated nonprofit, the opportunity to purchase and rehabilitate apartments like these.  The bill was quickly watered down with an amendment that basically puts off any real progress until at least next July. In the meantime, the people in A-Rod’s apartments continue to suffer. (WaPo, 7/25)

DISTRICT | Here’s some food for thought: how to fix everything in D.C. The City Paper takes a sweeping look at the challenges facing the city and gets outside perspectives on how to fix them. Some of them are really interesting (and some are absurd). Here are a few highlights (CP, 7/25):

- Stop Building Affordable Housing. Buy It Instead.
Give Free, Quality Childcare to Low-Wage Families
Build More Metro Lines. Now.

PHILANTHROPY | The Ford Foundation has announced that Darren Walker will become its 10th president, overseeing more than $11 billion in assets and half-a-billion dollars in annual giving. (Ford, 7/25)

COMMUNITY | The Center for Nonprofit Advancement has announced that Bowen McCauley Dance and Northern Virginia Family Service are the winners of the Center’s 2013 Board Leadership Award.

ARTS | A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds that the firm majority of the country would kick out every single member of Congress if they could. That’s probably because Congress is proposing things like cutting the National Endowment for the Arts’ budget in half – and slashing budgets for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Gallery of Art. (Chronicle, 7/25)

Good news, citizens. You can elect an entirely new Congress next year!

GROWTH | Opinion: Greater Greater Washington’s David Alpert looks at the Bi-County Parkway debate and says, “To have [transit-oriented development], you need transit. Therefore, to build what people want, we need regional transportation dollars to go into that transit, not the Bi-County Parkway.” (GGW, 7/24)

Note: In yesterday’s Daily, we wrote that the Coalition for Smarter Growth had commissioned research on alternatives to the parkway. The Coalition is one of several groups – including the Piedmont Environmental Council – that commissioned the report.

Related: Authority approves $209 million transportation infusion for Northern Virginia (WaPo, 7/24)

VERTICAL LIMIT | Rep. Darrell Issa has asked the National Capital Planning Commission to review the city’s Height of Buildings Act. Housing Complex has a whole series of cool renderings of what the skyline would look like from different perspectives and with various height restrictions. (CP, 7/24)

LOCAL | The District has agreed to a deal to build a stadium for D.C. United, just blocks from the Nationals stadium. Maybe the arrangement will work like algebra – when you multiply two negatives (aka losing records), it creates a positive? Don’t fail us now, math! (GGW, 7/25)


If you’re in the mood for some Gypsy punk-rock (and you should be!), check out Gogol Bordello’s new album Pura Vida Conspiracy. The opening track is awesomely catchy.

We won’t have a news roundup tomorrow. If you need something to fill the time, try building a Lego structure like these. Bonus points if you can build on like #25 that’s fully functional.

Young people and minorities hold the fate of the Affordable Care Act

HEALTH
- In no uncertain terms, the fate of our nation’s healthcare system rests in the hands of young and minority citizens. If they buy health insurance from the new marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, then the system can work. If they don’t, the marketplace will be filled with “older, sicker people” and costs will grow astronomically.

The Post’s Wonk Blog has a must read analysis (seriously, must read) about the new law – its deadlines, partisan traps, advocacy efforts, and major structural complications (WaPo, 7/18):

It wasn’t supposed to be easy. But expanding coverage to millions of Americans wasn’t supposed to be this hard.

Even the most tuned-in health-care consultants have trouble predicting whether the federal government can get the law off the ground.

- The Post also interviewed Maria Gomez, president of Mary’s Center. Her organization received a major grant from the federal government to support outreach and enrollment efforts in our region. One of the challenges she identifies is a mentality of many residents of not wanting to be part of a public system. (WaPo, 7/12)

Related: WRAG’s Health Working Group, along with a number of partner organizations, is hosting a community forum on outreach and enrollment strategies in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia on August 15. This event is open to all funders and those working at community-based organizations and safety net clinics that serve the currently uninsured. [More information and registration]

COMMUNITY | This week, WRAG’s Health Working Group met to plan out its agenda for the next year, much of which will involve the local implementation of the ACA. Following the departure of Rachel Wick as the group’s chair, we’re excited to announce that Mindy Rubin (Kaiser Permanente) and Crystal Carr Townsend (Healthcare Initiative Foundation) will lead the working group as its new chair and vice chair, respectively. We asked both to share their thoughts on the group’s work.

From Mindy:

Although we will miss Rachel Wick more than words can say, I am thrilled to welcome Crystal Carr Townsend from the Healthcare Initiative Foundation as the new vice chair of the Health Working Group. We are excited about the great work the HWG is doing now that we have completed our annual retreat, where we continued to build trust and collaboration among local health funders.

From Crystal:

The Health Working Group is comprised of outstanding foundation leaders committed to building a healthier tomorrow for the communities which they serve. I am honored by the nomination and look forward to serving as vice chair of the group under Mindy Rubin’s leadership, an esteemed colleague and collaborative partner.

HOUSING | Here’s an intriguing setup: “Just south of Anacostia, on a hill overlooking the Suitland Parkway, lies a ghost town.”

Housing Complex gives an account of a group of 20 apartment buildings that once housed 1,000 low-income residents. They now sit empty and decaying, having been guarded by a District-funded private security firm for more than five years. (CP, 7/18)

TRANSIT
- Metro has been racking up a lot of safety problems recently. Some of the most dangerous mistakes are as simple as running red lights. Metro’s brilliant response has included things like putting stickers on the dashboards to remind operators what a red light means. Robert McCartney has a much more sensible solution: set a standard by firing repeat offenders. (WaPo, 7/18)

- Also, the Silver Line is delayed. For how long? “[I]t’s premature to say,” according to the planners at Metro. (WaPo, 7/18)

EDUCATION | Montgomery County measuring ‘hope’ to help improve academic success in schools (WaPo, 7/18)

WORKFORCE | Major retailers are putting pressure on Mayor Gray to veto the living wage bill. The retailers say that the “legislation is unfairly discriminatory; it singles out businesses based solely on an arbitrary indoor footprint threshold, and does nothing to address the proposed goal of improving job quality and opportunity in the District.” (CP, 7/18)


The Capital Weather Gang has made an outrageous claim that has ruined my entire week (and possibly summer) . They say that there is no such thing as “heat lightning.” And they have the audacity to prove this with science. Heat lightning has always been a quintessential and innocent part of summertime. I refuse to believe that there is a more sinister explanation for the phenomenon.

Next they’ll try telling us that there isn’t any lightning in lightning bugs. Anyway, here’s a really great (and awesomely 80s) song from the under-appreciated Johnny Clegg – I Call Your Name.

Rebekah has the Daily tomorrow and Monday! Hope you all enjoy the weekend. – Christian

Transforming Prince George’s County

Five years ago, WRAG was instrumental in launching the Partnership for Prince George’s County. It was an unprecedented collaboration between funders, nonprofits, and local officials aimed at understanding and addressing the problems facing the county’s under-served residents. Over the next few months, we’ll be exploring the progress that has been made in the county since the launch and looking at what comes next.


By Rushern L. Baker, III
Prince George’s County Executive

My administration is focused on transforming our county into an economic engine for the State of Maryland, as well as the Greater Washington region, by working tirelessly to improve public safety, economic development and our public school system. We are making tremendous progress, but we still have a number of areas in our county that need additional services and support – areas like the ones we have identified through our Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI).

We created TNI to improve the quality of life in six communities in the county that are facing particularly difficult challenges with crime, healthcare, employment and economic development, school performance and high foreclosure rates. Each neighborhood has a team of top government officials from numerous agencies who are working with them to identify the particular issues that need to be addressed. TNI is an example of how my administration is rethinking how we serve the residents of Prince George’s County, enabling us to function more efficiently and effectively and enhancing our services to all neighborhoods. Our thinking is that, by aligning cross-governmental efforts in these areas of highest need, we will have greater success in making long-term, transformational change in the county. After just one year, we are already seeing results. We have established strong relationships with the residents in the TNI communities, and crime is down. But there is still more to do.

To put it simply, we need help. When we launched TNI, I said that the government can’t do it alone. We need partners with expertise and resources who will team up with us to improve the quality of life for the people in these neighborhoods. TNI is about collaboration and empowerment. That is why we are beginning to reach out to the business, faith-based, philanthropic, and nonprofit communities to join this important initiative.

Great things are happening in Prince George’s County. We are transforming our schools, our economy, and our neighborhoods because we want to make it a great place to live, work, and invest. In the coming months, we look forward to proposing new partnership opportunities as we enhance our transformational efforts in Prince George’s County.

Here’s a problem: cities weren’t designed for seniors.

AGING/CITIES | Fun fact: city planners have traditionally timed crosswalks based on people walking four feet per second. As you can imagine, older people don’t move quite that fast – and that’s a big problem as the Silver Tsunami is rolling in and seniors are staying in cities. The problem is bigger than just crosswalks though (Atlantic, 6/11):

Crosswalks are only one piece of a deep-rooted problem composed of many subtle environmental details most of us never even notice: Is there a park bench to catch your breath? How about a curb cut for your walker? The pace of city living feels entirely different when you need an extra beat to read a road sign, or when you don’t have a license to drive at all.

The picture above is from the intersection of 15th and Massachusetts NW. It might be hard to see, but the walk and stop signs are concurrently lit. Should we cross? Should we wait? Total chaos for people of all ages! Some people were sprinting and others were frozen stiff. I crossed like this.

YOUTH | U.S. News has released new rankings of the 50 healthiest counties for kids, based on factors including poverty, death from injuries, teen births, and more. Montgomery County ranks 9th, Howard ranks 26th, and Fairfax ranks 28th. That’s a pretty solid regional representation considering that there are more than 3,000 countries in the nation. (USNews, 6/11)

Related: Mapping the Well-Being of Children in the District of Columbia (School of Data, 6/11)

EDUCATION
- One of Chancellor Henderson’s current reform tools is “reconstitution” which is not, as you’re probably assuming, knocking down a spectacular Lego kingdom and rebuilding it piece by piece. It is similar though – DCPS can require all of an under-performing school’s staffers to reapply for their jobs, which gives the administrators a chance to weed out bad teachers. (WaPo, 6/11)

- Greater Greater Education is taking a detailed look at each one of Council member David Catania’s seven proposals for education reform. Part one is about school funding and autonomy. (GGE, 6/11)

COMMUNITY | Last week, we shared the sad news that former Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation head Anne Allen had passed away. Her funeral arrangements have been made. A service will be held at Our Lady of Victory Church on MacArthur Boulevard on June 19th. Full details can be found here.

HOUSING | Our region’s housing market just hit a record high. The median price is almost a whopping half-million dollars. (UrbanTurf, 6/11)

GIVING | 42% of Its Donor-Advised Fund Gifts Are Unrestricted, Fidelity Says (Chronicle, 6/10)

LOCAL | If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like when a politician takes a bribe, your dreams have come true! The Post has pictures of disgraced former Council member Michael Brown grinning as he accepts a coffee mug (!) full of cash. (WaPo, 6/11)


It was always a fun trivia fact to know that Dr. Seuss’ real name was Theodor Geisel. I did not know, however, that his middle name was actually Seuss! What’s more, I never would have guessed his method for curing writer’s block.

Also, here’s one possible solution to helping seniors keep up with the pace of city life.

Can the arts transform Anacostia?

As the revitalization of the H Street Corridor proved, the arts can drive major economic improvement. But is H Street’s rebirth replicable? The City Paper looks at the possibility that Anacostia could become the next major arts corridor in the District, though it certainly faces big challenges (CP, 5/24):

That’s part of what’s going on in Anacostia: arts for its own sake…Which might be cause for excitement within the neighborhood, and surely much anxiety. All strata may participate in the arts, but in the lexicon of modern urban life, they often signify—fairly or unfairly—more disruptive changes to come, like skyrocketing rents and amenities more likely to appeal to newcomers than longtime residents.

The paper has four features on this subject, each one worth reading:

- If You Build It, Who Will Come?
Stage of Development
What to Expect at LUMEN8 2013
Anacostia’s Arts Scene Is Growing

EDUCATION
- By a gigundo margin, students in D.C. carry the highest student debt load in the country with an average of $41,230. Maryland comes in second with $26,310. That said, WAMU reports that our region has the highest proportion of graduate degrees in the country, and possibly the galaxy, though the Census doesn’t track that wide. (WAMU, 5/23) The article helps to validate this meme.

- As our  leaders on the Hill prepare to take off an entire week to celebrate Memorial Day, local school jurisdictions are getting ready to face sequestration-related budget cuts. (WAMU, 5/23)

- Chicago is a few hundred miles outside of our usual jurisdiction, but their school system experiences similar challenges to some in our region. To that end, it will be interesting to see what happens after the city executes the largest wave of school closings in the entire country. (Chicagoist, 5/23)

- Though Enrolling More Poor Students, 2-Year Colleges Get Less of Federal Pie (NYT, 5/23)

Related event for WRAG members: Positioning Community Colleges to Effectively Train our Region’s Workers for High-Demand Jobs [More info.]

VETERANS | As our military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down, Rebekah writes about how local funders are preparing for returning veterans. (Daily, 5/23)

PHILANTHROPY
- Tamara and Gretchen have both written about mission-driven investing in the last week, which includes using program-related investments (PRIs) to maximize impact. A new study finds that while PRIs have increased considerably over the past two decades, they were neglected during the recession. Also, funders might not be putting their money where their mouths are, and it’s not because money doesn’t taste good (Chronicle, 5/23):

There’s a disconnect between the amount of discussion about program-related investments in the foundation world and how many are actually made.

- Operating Support Jumped 83% in 2011 (Chronicle, 5/23)

TEEN PREGNANCY | The Atlantic looks at the shifting geography of teen mothers in the United States. (Atlantic, 5/22)

The article notes that D.C. has the top rate among 15-17 year old girls, but be sure to check out our report Beyond Dollars to see how much progress has been made in the city in recent years.

BUDGETS | The DC Fiscal Policy Institute summarized the DC Council’s 2014 budget, which includes housing and children/family funding. (DCFPI, 5/22)

DAILY | In observance of Memorial Day, expected reduced readership, and lingering technology projects that require undivided attention, The Daily WRAG will return next Wednesday, May 29th.


The Cat Empire is an incredibly versatile and talented band from Down Under – easily one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen. I highly recommend checking out their new album Steal The Light on Spotify (and buying the album if you dig it). The whole thing is excellent, but my early favorite track is Wild Animals.

Since we’re going to be gone for a few days, here are TWO bonus items! First, breathtaking photographs from the first successful ascent of Mount Everest 60 years ago. Second, 15 hilarious GIFs of uncoordinated children. Give the animations a few seconds to load. Number 10 gets what he deserves.

Have a great long weekend, folks! – Christian

Is the government spending wisely on education? Research says no.

EDUCATION | The New York Times profiles the work of James Heckman, a leading economist who studies human development. Heckman has done extensive research on the equity gap by comparing the cognitive performance of high and low-income students at various ages. The results illuminate the importance of early childhood education:

[T]he difference in cognitive performance was just as big at age 18 as it had been at age 3.

“The gap is there before kids walk into kindergarten,” Mr. Heckman told me. “School neither increases nor reduces it.”

If education is supposed to help redress inequities at birth and improve the lot of disadvantaged children as they grow up, it is not doing its job.

What’s especially problematic is the percentage of total education funding that the government allocates to early childhood. As the chart to the right shows, we rank almost at the bottom of the international community in this category. (NYT, 4/2)

- As of last month, D.C. police have picked up 3,260 truant students during this academic year. How many are repeat offenders? Nobody knows, because DCPS doesn’t keep track. (GGW, 4/3)

POVERTY | The U.S. is experiencing the highest poverty rate since the 1960s, with 50 million Americans – that’s one in six – living below the poverty line. Here’s a look at how sequestration is making this terrible and embarrassing reality even worse. (WaPo, 4/3)

GIVING | The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has announced grant awards totaling $203,600 to nine local nonprofits. The recipients of the 2013 Good Neighbor Grants are focused on K-12 education, college access, and visual and performing arts education for students from low- to moderate-income families. [Read more.]

YOUTH
- Arlington has scrapped plans to reduce its standards for child-care quality and safety. (WaPo, 4/2)

- Many local students are on spring break this week, but their experiences vary greatly based on their families’ wealth. Judith Sandalow writes about the connection between school vacations and the achievement gap – and the importance of breaking it. (HuffPo, 3/29)

Related: D.C. schools use spring break to teach students through travel (WaPo, 3/31)

TRANSIT | The Montgomery County Council has thrown another $7.5 million at the Silver Spring Transit Center, which apparently will have very little effect on fixing the massive structural problems plaguing it. (WaPo, 4/2) Hey, there’s a broken street lamp on my block. Give me $7.5 million and I’ll be more than happy to not fix it!

BUGS | This might tick you off, but the District has ranked as the fifth worst city for pest problems – and first for Ixodoidea. And since I don’t think that bugs respect borders, this probably has implications for suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia, too. (WTOP, 4/2)


Here’s an archaeological find to tickle the imagination – Pluto’s Gate, or the gate to hell. The site was written about in classical literature, but Italian scientists believe that they have found the actual location.

Also, writing about spring break and the underworld led my mind to this classic song. So good!

Majority of nonprofits don’t think they can afford to meet demand for services

The 2013 Nonprofit Finance Fund’s survey of more about 6,000 nonprofits finds that the majority of respondents don’t think they have enough money to meet service demands (Chronicle, 3/25):

- For the first time in the survey’s five years, more than half of the charities said they were unable to meet demands for assistance last year, and even more groups expect to struggle to do so this year.

- One in four groups is running so close to the bone it had less than 30 days’ cash in hand.

- Thirty-nine percent of the charities said their financial situation is so challenging they plan to change how they raise and spend money.

Another key finding is that nonprofits are trying to cope with cuts in government funding by turning more to private philanthropy. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation sponsored the survey and it’s president, Kerry Sullivan, says:

Philanthropy and government can’t cover the costs and expenses needed to deliver on the increasing demand…The challenge, and what we’re thinking about, is looking at new ways to drive capital to help nonprofits.

Related: It’s important to consider the size of the nonprofit sector when having discussions about its financial health. According to the Urban Institute, there are about 2.3 million nonprofit organizations operating in the United States.

GIVING | Did you know that Americans who earn in the top 20 percent only give an average of 1.3 percent to charity? And those in the bottom 20 percent give 3.2 percent? The Atlantic asks why that is and uses our region as a case study. The bottom line: “[I]nsulation from people in need may dampen the charitable impulse.” (Atlantic, April 2013 issue)

If that theory is indeed true, then the phrase “ignorance is bliss” seems perfectly appropriate for significant parts of our region.

HOUSING
- Yesterday we wrote about former HUD secretary Henry Cisneros’ observations of housing trends. Today, Rebekah shares Cisneros’ ten recommendations for our region’s funders. (Daily, 3/26)

- Is the Washington, D.C.-area housing market bubbling again? (WaPo, 3/26)

- Washington-area foreclosure rates lower (WTOP, 3/26)

YOUTH | The DC Alliance of Youth Advocates is conducting a survey of currently and formerly disconnected youth. If your organization serves members of this population, they need your help collecting survey responses. [More info.]

EDUCATION | The latest on the Prince George’s schools situation is that legislation has been introduced in the Maryland Senate. The bill does give County Executive Rushern Baker more direct control over the school system, but not nearly at the level he was seeking. It basically splits the responsibilities between Baker and the school board. Baker is hoping that amendments will be added in his favor. (WaPo, 3/26)

As we know from the federal government, split political power is the elixir of successful reform. No wait, I meant poison. Sorry.

ARTS/BUDGETS | The District’s FY2013 budget includes the biggest increase in arts funding of any state in the country. The increase is an excellent 133%. (Elevation DC, 3/26)

CORRECTION | I accidentally called LISC by the wrong name yesterday. Please note that their correct name is the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. I wrote “Collaborative.” Apologies for the mistake.


Breaking a law in Egypt is near the top of my list of things I’d avoid like the Ten Plagues, but that’s not the case for some Russian photographers. They climbed the great pyramids and took some truly spectacular photos of the view. They also made the mistake of taking pictures of their own faces, which seems like a terrible idea.

How many full-time, minimum wage jobs do you need to rent a 2 bedroom apartment?

HOUSING/EQUITY | According to a new study, minimum-wage earners need to hold down three full-time jobs in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment in our region. Here are the jaw-dropping numbers (WAMU, 3/19):

- In the District of Columbia, minimum-wage earners need to work 132 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, in order to afford a Fair Market Rent of $1,412.

- In Maryland, minimum wage-earners need to work 135 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, in order to afford a Fair Market rent of $1,273.

- In Virginia, minimum wage-earners need to work 114 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, in order to afford a Fair Market rent of $1,078.

CHILDREN & YOUTH | Tamara wrote a piece for DC Action for Children’s blog about why having a safe and stable residence is essential to ensuring that a child is “physically and emotionally healthy and primed to succeed in life.” But housing is rarely an issue considered when discussing child advocacy. (DCAFC, 3/15)

EVENT | This Thursday, WRAG kicks off its 2013 Brightest Minds series with former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros. His talk with focus on why everyone should care about housing – especially pressing considering today’s headline. [Register here.]

EDUCATION | Prince George’s executive Rushern Baker’s plan to take over the school system received many positive reactions. However, the school board from which he would be taking control has now voiced its opposition. Chairman Verjeana M. Jacobs says (WaPo, 3/19):

“This is similar to the District of Columbia model, and we know how that’s turned out,” Jacobs said, suggesting that the matter be put to a referendum.

I’m not so sure that the effects of the District’s reforms are as clear as Jacobs suggests. Nor is D.C.’s experience necessarily indicative of how power structures would operate in another jurisdiction. Hopefully all parties involved remember that they are elected and paid solely to serve the needs of the county – ensuring the successful education of its children, for example.

GIVING
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy interviewed Rep. David Reichert, who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, about his desire to protect charitable deductions. Arguments on the subject usually get reduced to very brief talking points, but Reichert goes a little deeper on his perspective. (Chronicle, 3/18)

- On the other hand: Senate Democrats Call for Limits on Charitable Deductions (Chronicle, 3/15)

LOCAL | I’m only including this because it’s so strange. The Post writes about a local man who took over a vacant Bethesda mansion and claimed it as his own. He did so because he claims sovereignty as a member of the “Moorish Nation.” Here’s what’s even stranger: this is apparently happening all over the country. Uh… (WaPo, 3/19)

FUN | The postscript is a bit heavy today, so check out Poland’s ideas for getting people to use libraries. So awesome! (Atlantic, 3/19)


Have you been following the Steubenville rape case? It’s hard to avoid, considering it’s a main headline in every media outlet. Local renaissance man Henry Rollins (punk rocker, poet, activist, journalist) has a very thoughtful perspective on the case – what it means at this moment in history, why it’s a complicated issue, who is responsible, and what can be done.

He drops an F-bomb, so fair warning if you’re sensitive to profanity. But his thinking gets to the core of a great many of the problems that we seek to solve in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. It’s worth a read.

Baker seeks more control over – and accountability for – Prince George’s schools

EDUCATION | Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker has announced his intention to take over the county’s school system. Pending the passage of state legislation, the next school superintendent would report directly to Baker while the role of the Board of Education would be minimized (WaPo, 3/17):

County officials said the takeover would allow the government to coordinate resources with the school system, potentially sending more money to the classrooms. “This is about every single child getting the best education possible,” Baker said.

Related: A day after the announcement, reaction from elected officials and county stakeholders was mostly supportive. (WaPo, 3/18)

Related: In July 2011, Baker and former superintendent William Hite spoke with WRAG members about the county’s education priorities. Upon review, two things still stick out.

First, Baker specifically mentioned that he was committed to improving the county’s schools regardless of political risk. That seems to still ring true considering the accountability he is seeking. Second, he mentioned that better schools promote economic growth. He continues to champion that notion in the article above. (Daily, July 2011)

- Raise DC tries to bring coherence to education chaos (GGE, 3/15)

- If you missed it, here’s Rebekah’s recap of a recent briefing on Raise DC. (Daily, 3/7)

LOCAL | Last week, we linked to the Post’s article about our local population growth slowing. Here’s a look at some other trends from Greater Greater Washington, including the fact that inside-the-Beltway growth is still among the nation’s highest. (GGW, 3/18)

DEMOGRAPHICS | Montgomery County has officially passed the one million residents mark! (WTOP, 3/16) About 900,000 of them drive around looking for parking spots in Bethesda on the weekends.

HOMELESSNESS | Plans For Year-Round Homeless Shelter In Arlington Approved (WAMU, 3/17)

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: Pablo Eisenberg says that philanthropy should increase giving to government watchdog groups. He cites the need to challenge “how Washington works” and offers this sharp opinion (Chronicle, 3/18):

The need for strong watchdogs has become more apparent because of the inept way both President Obama and nonprofit group[s] have responded to America’s most urgent needs.

NONPROFITS | Opinion: Charity Tax Data Are Too Valuable Not to Have in Digital Form (Chronicle, 3/10)

EVENTS
- Tomorrow, the Washington AIDS Partnership and the Institute for Public Health Innovation are hosting an event titled The Opportunities of a New Reality: Health Care Reform, Paradigm Shifts, and the Future of HIV/AIDS Services in the D.C. Region. More info and registration here.

- On Tuesday, April 30th, Georgetown University’s Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership will host a forum called Giving Boldly & Strategically: Why is it important now more than ever?

The forum features WRAG member Nicky Goren (Washington Area Women’s Foundation), former WRAG board members Margaret O’Bryon and George Vradenburg, as well as Trish Vradenburg and the Case Foundation’s Michael Smith. More info here.

DAILY | As promised, The Daily WRAG has reemerged from its maintenance day completely transformed! Hopefully you think it looks more like a beautiful butterfly than an ugly caterpillar – a blue morpho, perhaps? We’re testing out a new email delivery system internally this week that should be much more attractive and functional than the current one. More to come soon.


That’s it. Punxsutawney Phil is on probation until his credibility can be restored. And so are all the weathermen who keep incorrectly labeling storms as “one last taste of winter.”

Well, Mondays usually aren’t too much fun and the weather has us shivering, but I have a temporary fix! Paul Simon’s I Know What I Know. Enjoy!

Special WaPo report on youth…Education news from across the region…Local population boom slowing

CHILDREN/FAMILIES | The Washington Post has a special section today on children and families. Here’s the editorial frame:

About 75 million Americans are under the age of 18, and more than 16 million of these kids live in poverty. Many sit in bright classrooms where they are taught by excellent teachers and go home to parents who shower them with every advantage. But far too many kids are stuck. They are trapped in drab schools of little learning and in troubled neighborhoods filled with jobless adults. These young people — and their difficulty in finding a path to a better future — are a growing national concern.

The full section of articles, opinions, and videos is located here. Highlights include:

- Opinion: Three simple rules poor teens should follow to join the middle class by the Brookings Institution’s Ron Haskins

- Opinion: Give low-income families the support they need to help kids succeed by Jared Bernstein from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

- After 20 years, some want more from Family and Medical Leave Act

- Policymakers, business leaders say preschool can pay big dividends

EDUCATION
- Prince George’s County has narrowed its schools superintendent candidate list to three – current interim superintendent Alvin Crawley, Durham superintendent Eric Becoats, and Chicago schools chief Harrison Peters. The Post profiles all three candidates and says that the stakes are very high (WaPo, 3/14):

The superintendent will step into a struggling system that is working to implement Common Core standards, reform its teacher-evaluation process and improve student achievement.

It is also a pivotal moment for Prince George’s County at large, as parents, elected officials and civic and business leaders have pinned much of the county’s future on the turnaround of its schools.

- Some District parents are concerned that some schools’ budgets will cause cuts to key staff and services while lower-priority positions get new funding. (WaPo, 3/14)

- As Montgomery Council considers budget, questions about “crown jewel” schools (WaPo, 3/14) I don’t think England would be very happy about us trying to pay for our schools with their jewels.

- In Montgomery schools, achievement gap widens in some areas, drawing criticism (WaPo, 3/13)

- Are early education (pre-K) efforts in the District working? (GGE, 3/13)

SEQUESTRATION | Here’s a brief look at some of the proposed tax hikes and service cuts that local jurisdictions are considering to deal with sequestration. George Mason University professor Frank Shafroth says of local officials (WAMU, 3/14):

The last decade, I think they saw everything growing…Now I think they are with Rod Serling in the Twilight Zone.

“It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition…and sequestration…and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.”

DEMOGRAPHICS
- Unfortunately we’re not dealing with imaginations here, and the Post reports that our region’s population growth rate is slowing down after years of “explosive” increases. (WaPo, 3/14)

- D.C. population swells, immigrants flock to suburbs (Examiner, 3/14)

COMMUNITY | Here’s a great look at Capital One’s method of aligning corporate social responsibility goals with its full body of work. (CSRwire, 3/13)

NONPROFITS | C.Fox Communications is accepting applications for its fourth annual inspired thought Award. The it Award is worth up to $20,000 of pro bono public relations services for nonprofit award winners. [More info.]

PHILANTHROPY | Providence has been announced as the winner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge for innovation in early childhood education. Read more about it and the five other winners. (Atlantic, 3/14)

DAILY | Tomorrow, Friday the 15th, the Daily WRAG will be offline for maintenance. When it returns, your minds will drift to thoughts of an ugly caterpillar that entered a pupa and emerged a beautiful butterfly.


Happy Pi Day, everyone! Here are some ways you can celebrate. I’ll be eating pie today, 3/14, at 1:59 and 26.54 seconds.

And an early Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Here’s my favorite song from the Irish band Flogging Molly – Rebels of the Sacred Heart.

See you Monday!

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