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January 9, 2013 / Christian Clansky

Should we legislate academic progress?…Council reconsiders welfare restrictions…Celebrating Robert Egger [News, 1.9.13]

– D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange has introduced legislation that would prevent third-graders from moving up to fourth grade if they can’t read at their level. Last year, only 40 percent of third-graders were proficient in reading. (Examiner, 1/9) Good idea or bad idea? Or inconsequential idea?

– We’ve heard that D.C. charters expel more students than public schools. Greater Greater Washington’s Ken Archer considers whether public schools would be more competitive if they also had the same freedom to expel – or whether charters should be forced to abide by DCPS expulsion rules. It’s a good read. (GGW, 1/9)

– Montgomery County’s school board has voted to boost security by adding video systems to all 132 of its elementary schools. (Examiner, 1/9) This is certainly good, but Sandy Hook had a thorough security system. Hopefully legislators keep that in mind and don’t stop here. Also, the school board isn’t extending this safety measure to middle schools or high schools.

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson disputes cheating allegations (WaPo, 1/9)

WORKFORCE/WELFARE | There has been tension between the D.C. Council and Mayor Gray about enforcing restrictions on welfare in the District. Gray had crafted penalties for welfare recipients who refuse job training, but the council yesterday voted to ease these penalties because they believed low-income children would suffer as a result of penalizing the parents. (WaPo, 1/9) I thought David Catania’s comment at the end was particularly poignant.

PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: Pablo Eisenberg takes issue with a recent grant made by the Rockefeller Foundation to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. He says (Chronicle, 1/3):

[T]he grant maker’s decision to award [$100,000] to a thinly disguised effort to give businesses more influence in the New York City’s mayor’s race is both inappropriate and a waste of philanthropic resources. It also demonstrates why big foundations need to come under pressure to diversify their boards.

The grant to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce marks one of the few times a foundation has tried to influence a municipal election.

COMMUNITY | On Monday, community members celebrated the work of D.C. Central Kitchen founder Robert Egger as he prepares to take his talents to Los Angeles. In LA, he’ll open a new nonprofit modeled on the highly successful D.C. Central Kitchen. To honor Egger’s tremendous contributions to our community, the D.C. Council named June 20th “Robert Egger Day” while the AARP Foundation’s Maxine Baker issued a vote of confidence in his work with a foundation check for $1 million to support the new endeavor. (HuffPo, 1/9)

HOUSING | Opinion: In a Post editorial yesterday, Charles Lane asks about Congress and the Obama administration, “Are they ever going to get around to fixing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?” (WaPo, 1/8) You could play Mad Libs with that question! “Are they ever going to fix (insert anything here)?” Tax code, deficit, infrastructure, Michael Keaton’s career, etc.

Well, well, well. It looks like we finally have an explanation for why our fingers get wrinkly in warm water. It turns out that our fingers are actually made of Italian leather! Just kidding. Here’s the real explanation.

Also, here’s a really great and funky love song that I discovered yesterday – A Million Years by Alexander Ebert. There’s a single instance of profanity in there (the dreaded “S” word), so fair warning. Then again, you can say that in a PG rated movie. So, I rate this post PG – parental guidance suggested; Some material may not be suitable for children.

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