Just a quick highlight of several education events happening this weekend in DC:
On Sunday May 19, from 1-5 pm, there will be a panel discussion to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the decision in the Bolling v. Sharpe court case, which desegregated public schools in our city.
The discussion will take place very meaningfully at Sousa Middle School (3650 Ely Place SE)–the very school that 12-year-old Spottswood Bolling attempted to integrate on September 11, 1950. As you may recall, in 1950 the brand-new Sousa school was state-of-the-art–for white kids only.
The resulting lawsuit that bears Bolling’s name was consolidated into Brown v. Board (though it got its own decision since DC is not a state).
Interestingly, while DCPS has a more recent history of, uh, ignoring its actual building (not to mention underfunding many other schools close by), Sousa is one of several DCPS schools being targeted for enrollment and test score support–presumably ahead of pending closures. (So, stay tuned for the future of Sousa MS–literally.)
Also on Sunday May 19, at 2 pm, a new education rights group, Decoding Dyslexia DC, will have its kick-off meeting at the Southeast Library (403 7th St. SE), with information and supports for parents of students with reading and writing difficulties. Dyslexia expert Laurie Moloney will be on hand to discuss dyslexia and educational strategies.
The day before all of this, on Saturday May 18 at 3:30 pm, there will be a memorial celebration at Wilson high school (3950 Chesapeake St. NW) for the school’s beloved former principal, Pete Cahall, who died last week, years after his unexpected and unwelcome removal.
(Hmm: Maybe the Wilson community should entertain the possibility of renaming the school after Cahall.)
Finally, beyond this weekend, anticipate much political effort concerning changes to FOIA in DC.
As you may recall, our council chair Phil Mendelson attempted to foist limits on FOIA through budget processes.
(Yes: because everyone knows the only thing standing in the way of DC residents to full democratic representation in the United States is, uh, FOIA??)
With Mendelson’s effort to protect the powerful now curbed, it appears that there will be future legislation to limit FOIA for DC–which is coming on the heels of a bill to impose FOIA on our charter schools being excluded from a June council hearing on legislation on transparency in schools.
(Is it me, or do I sense a chill in the room of our DC democracy?)
Oh, and if transparency in schools is meaningful for you, consider signing up for the hearing in June–and also be sure to sign up for the hearing in October, which includes the ONLY actual legislation that would actually allow for actual transparency in our actual charter schools.