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October 18, 2013 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

DCPS and charters grow for fifth year in a row

– For the fifth year in a row, both DCPS and D.C. charter schools have seen an uptick in enrollment, with traditional public schools growing by 2 percent and charters by 6 percent. (WaPo, 10/18)

In Speech On D.C. Schools, Henderson Offers More Inspiration Than Specifics (WAMU, 10/18)

D.C. charter board considers oversight improvements (WaPo, 10/18)

– The Post‘s Valerie Strauss published a thought-provoking op-ed on her blog today that raises some profound questions about equity in educational reform efforts. Beginning with the (perhaps overly broad) assumption that education policymakers largely don’t have personal experience with poverty, the authors argue that the current reform model that focuses on assessment, teacher evaluation, and discipline over all else, creates an educational setting that people with higher incomes wouldn’t want for their own children: (WaPo, 10/18)

Education has a powerful role to play in combating poverty and its various manifestations. Not just by exposing children to career-advancing skills, but also by exposing them to a full range of potential interests and pursuits, by affording time and resources to discover what they care for and what they are good at, and by supporting creative thinking and creative action.

Our best schools…are places where the arts are valued and pursued—where children learn to draw and dance and play the piano, as well as to understand a poem or a painting or a piece of music. They are places where ideas are sought and explored—for the purpose of expanding young people’s notions of justice, broadening their visions of the possible, and welcoming them into ongoing cultural conversations. Our best schools are places where children gain confidence in themselves, build healthy relationships, and develop values congruent with their own self-interest…

Policymakers strive for something less in their work to improve our nation’s poorest schools—not because their intentions are bad, but because they see the poor differently than they see their own children.

EQUITY | New research shows that income segregation is growing, particularly in areas with a high level of income inequality, as people who have both children and money move to suburbs with higher quality schools and less crime (WSJ, 10/16):

In aggregate, it means that better-off Americans are, as a group, increasingly forming their own enclaves and segregating themselves. That could mean worse-quality schools and parks for the children of the lower-income people being left behind. If well-off Americans no longer live near the worse-off, the researchers worry, the nation’s economic resources—and tax revenue—will be pooled in fewer and fewer areas—making expenditures in poorer areas more difficult.

HOUSING | Greater Greater Washington provides a run-down of D.C.’s plan to maintain and develop affordable housing in the neighborhoods just north of Union Station – one of the last relatively affordable neighborhoods close to downtown. (GGW, 10/17)

HEALTH | A new report from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services looks at the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act on community health clinics in states that opted out of Medicaid expansion. The take away: “Poor people living in the 25 opt-out states will continue to lack coverage and might find long wait times at clinics, long distances to find care, and other barriers that could translate to delays in treatment, or no care at all.” (NPQ, 10/18)

Well this video will definitely make you feel a lot better about sitting inside at your desk today.


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