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January 28, 2013 / Christian Clansky

Examining Catania’s education goals…Would Maryland wage hike help or hurt the economy?…District considers options for $400m surplus [News, 1.28.13]

– Last week, there was some passionate debate about D.C. Council member David Catania’s proposal to prosecute parents of truant students. As it turns out, that’s exactly what Catania is aiming for as he begins his leadership of the Education Committee (WaPo, 1/28):

“I want to engender an outrage in the city about the level of truancy and educational failure. We’ve lost that,” Catania said. “We’ve all become accustomed to it.”

The Post takes a thorough look at what we can expect from Catania’s new committee – his goals, priorities, and challenges, chief among which will be truancy. Chancellor Kaya Henderson says:

“I appreciate his focus and his intensity. I think he’s super smart, and I think he’s going to help push us farther, faster,” Henderson said. “I’m not afraid of the accountability.”

– Northern Virginia’s rapid growth has led to frequent changes in school boundaries due to the increasing size of the student population. The changes force some kids to bounce between schools – and they even affect home values since parents often buy in a specific neighborhood because of the schools there. (WaPo, 1/28)

PHILANTHROPY | On Friday, we linked to a Chronicle article about how wealthy young donors are focused more on measurable impact than emotional impact when deciding which nonprofits to fund. Tamara points out that there is a clear message to nonprofits.

Thoughts from Tamara: “They give from their head more than from their heart,” could have been the headline of the Chronicle of Philanthropy story about the giving approach of today’s young donors. This generation of 20 and 30 somethings came of age surrounded by large quantities of easily accessible information.

They aren’t relying on the stories that resonate with their heartstrings to give. They’re combining what they’ve seen through their personal volunteer experience with what the research tells them. And, they are able to gather information from friends more easily as they use social media as a source of input. A clear heads up to the local social profit community: widen your lens. To get the attention of young donors/investors, the story of one client is no longer the whole story. That story must be part of a bigger examination of the broad impact of your work.

– Philanthropic thought leader Lucy Bernholz reviews a working paper from the Hewlett Foundation on evaluation. She says that the paper is an important read for grantees, evaluation partners, and other funders. (Philanthropy 2173, 1/28)

New legislation in Maryland would raise minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.00 an hour by 2015. There is some debate, however, about whether raised wages would hurt or help the state’s economic recovery. (WaPo, 1/27)

– Our region is the second best in the country for job seekers. (Forbes, 1/26) But look at that average rent rate! Wow.

BUDGETS | The District somehow wound up with a $400 million budget surplus, so now the question is: spend it or save it? (Examiner, 1/28) Say, aren’t there some street car tracks on H Street that have just been sitting there unused for years?

LOCAL | The Washington Nationals have named a fifth racing president for the upcoming season – William Howard Taft! He showed up to a press conference looking much slimmer than he did in my high school history book. Before you scratch your heads and wonder why the Nats didn’t pick a more famous president, like Millard Fillmore or William Henry Harrison, read about Taft’s relationship to one of baseball’s famous traditions.

Well, as a sci-fi geek, my head almost exploded last week when it was announced that J.J. Abrams would be directing the new Star Wars movie. That puts him in charge of both Star Wars and Star Trek! On the one hand, no man should have so much power! On the other, I’ve loved just about everything that J.J. has been done in his career. I might have shared this before, but I highly recommend his TED talk on his attraction to mystery. He’s a fantastic storyteller and this talk gets right to the heart of what inspires him.

Hope you all enjoyed the weekend. Brace yourselves for a strange week of weather.

– Christian

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