It seems that following every election, incoming politicians at every level include a promise to reform schools and improve student achievement.

It’s no different just up the road and over the river in the District of Columbia.

Robert Bobb, the new president of the Board of Education, and Adrian Fenty, the new mayor of the District, are fighting over who gets custody of the school system.

As I said, nothing new there. At least both say they’re open to some major changes, such as the implementation of year-round schools.

That’s a start. However, in an educational system as screwed up as the one in DC the changes need to be more drastic than that.

Certainly something beyond the trivial fight over whether the school board is appointed by the Mayor or is elected.

No, that doesn’t mean they need more charter schools.

A third of the students in DC are already attending charters with little, if any, improvement in learning (ie. standardized test scores) to show for it.

And privatizing the public schools (aka vouchers) would waste even more money while doing nothing for the quality of education most students receive.

DC, like many other cities, needs to make a major commitment to the concept of strong, effective public schools.

That should start by rethinking the whole concept of education in the 21st century. And then build a whole new system of teaching and learning that’s designed for the future, not the past.

district of columbia, education, reform