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March 21, 2012 / Christian Clansky

Council passes major education reforms in the District…Capital Bikeshare works to help the homeless…Continuing the conversation about Trayvon Martin [News, 3.21.12]

EDUCATION | The D.C. Council has passed major education reforms with its Raising Expectations for Education Outcomes Act of 2012. Bill Turque summarizes the legislation, which includes (WaPo, 3/21):

  • An early warning system to track the progress of students in grades 4-9
  • Financial incentives for highly effective teachers
  • A call for Mayor Gray to establish a requirement that students take the SAT or ACT tests
  • The establishment of five community schools

HOMELESSNESS/TRANSIT | I’ve expressed my love of the region’s Capital Bikeshare program many times before, but let me do so again. The service has partnered with a local nonprofit to provide discounted Bikeshare memberships for homeless individuals who attend fitness and job training sessions. What a great and creative idea. (City Paper, 3/21)

SOCIAL JUSTICE | Tamara’s post on Trayvon Martin in yesterday’s Daily has been generating some great conversation. We’d love to hear your opinions – you can join the discussion here.

DEMOGRAPHICS | Rebekah recaps important points made by Dr. Jim Johnson on our region’s shifting demographics at last weeks’ Brightest Minds event. (WG Daily, 3/21)

Related: One of Johnson’s key focuses is the “browning” of America, which takes into consideration major increases in immigration and interracial relationships. On this subject, WAMU has an interesting article about the Trayvon Martin case that explores how George Zimmerman’s Hispanic heritage shifts conversations of race beyond the black/white dichotomy. (WAMU, 3/20)

ENVIRONMENT | Report: DC Water Rigged EPA Lead Testing (WAMU, 3/20) I’ve been drinking lead-infused District tap water for 28 years. I just see it as a cheap way to turn my body into a self-contained nuclear fallout shelter.

LOCAL | Greater Greater Washington looks at a map of the District from 1877 and finds lots of uniquely named neighborhoods, including Hell’s Bottom (which is suspiciously north of Foggy Bottom), Cowtown, and the notorious Murder Bay near the White House. (GGW, 3/21)

Here’s a cool story with some local flavor. President Obama recently visited Prince George’s Community College. After his speech, a deaf attendee signed “I am proud of you” to the President. Obama signed back, “Thank you.” It’s a neat, unscripted moment.

Make sure you take advantage of the beautiful weather and later sunset to see some cherry blossoms this week. They only turn 100 once!

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