Fighting Back: Shaw Middle School Petition

This is what happens when elected leaders ignore the public in its own schools: a petition to have the mayor do the right thing and honor the city’s promise to have a middle school of right in Shaw *and* renovate Banneker.

I’ll let the good citizens of Shaw tell it:

“[We] support a new middle school on the old Shaw Junior High School site and renovating and expanding the existing historic Banneker High School building.

“Both schools and neighborhoods deserve nothing less.

“We’ve been waiting a decade for DC Public Schools to keep its promises and build a new middle school. By 2022, there will be 584 middle school aged children graduating from the elementary schools in our neighborhoods. These children and their families need a middle school. (Data from DC Auditor Enrollment Dashboard)

““The $143 million in the District’s capital improvement plan for Banneker HS could fully modernize the Euclid Street facility for 700 students AND provide a modern middle school at the Shaw site for families. This option is educationally sound for Banneker and Shaw families. It can be implemented the quickest, and is the most fiscally and environmentally responsible.”” [Quoting from a blog post of the 21st Century School Fund]

The current Shaw situation is not merely fallout from the Michelle Rhee era, in which a school with over 400 students was closed, even as its feeder elementaries grew. Despite Mayor Vincent Gray in 2011 allocating $54 million for a new DCPS middle school at the Shaw site; despite the boundaries plan in 2014 identifying the closed Shaw school as the ideal location for a “Center City Middle School”; and despite the city council asking DCPS to study middle school needs in Shaw, nothing was done.

Well, until the privatizers moved in:

At a 2017 ANC meeting in Shaw, for instance, Mayor Bowser opined that the school would come about through a mixed used development that would be a public-private partnership.

Then last month, plans for Banneker and Shaw and Bard were announced, without any of the communities involved engaged in discussions and plans. (Even my 8th grader got a taste of this, attending a high school fair that featured Bard reps without, uh, a lot of information–you know, little things, like where the school will be and what it will offer.)

Anyhoo, the historical timeline for the planning around Shaw is here–along with a pathway for citizen action going forward.

[Confidential note to Mayor Bowser: Now that you’ve been re-elected, I gotta ask about that campaign slogan. Remember Deal for All? Or did the “all” mean, uh, a subset of the population?]

Well, you can support ALL the public in its own public schools and sign the petition. And also go to the November 15 hearing on Shaw/Banneker: sign up and information are here.

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