This Is What Power Is About In DC

As you may recall, the DC council decided to not have a truly public hearing on the (disaster) budget for our publicly funded schools.

In its place is an invite-only public hearing tomorrow, Thursday June 4.

Check out the witness list here.

Of the 28 invited witnesses,

–3 are representatives of government agencies (state board of education, office of the education ombudsman, and office of the student advocate);

–3 are representatives of charter schools (KIPP, Capital City, and Carlos Rosario);

–7 are unpaid representatives of unpaid ward education councils representing teachers, schools, and parents (yes, we have 8 wards and only 7 represented here–sorry, Ward 2 schools, guess you just have to sit this one out!); and

–14 (half!) are paid to show up to testify by their respective private organizations. Only one of those private organizations–the teachers’ union–directly represents actual teachers and is paid for by its members, not wealthy benefactors, unseen donors, or grants, while [just adding 9:59 am 6/3, thanks Evan Yeats!]

–NO ANC elected officials are represented anywhere on this list and

–1 witness–Ramin Taheri–is responsible for inflammatory flyers on behalf of DFER-DC, an education reform group funded by billionaires.

So, gotta ask:

–If paid reps are OK to represent HALF of the witnesses on this list, where is the voice of EmpowerEd?

–What made Capital City, KIPP, and Carlos Rosario more important than, say, Friendship or Mundo Verde? (Or was this selection an agreement with the charter board? Remind me to FOIA that–oh, except that there’s no deadline, so maybe not!)

–Who determined who is on this list? Who determined the length of this list?

–Where is the Coalition for DC Public Schools (C4DC), a coalition of education groups that sent out a demand to elected officials to strengthen DCPS? (Or is its influence to make it on this list that much less because everyone involved is unpaid by that organization?)

–Where is the Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals, and Educators (SHAPPE), whose director, Cathy Reilly, was on the education re-opening committee? (Or is its influence that much less because everyone involved is unpaid by that organization?)

Last night, thousands of DC residents were disenfranchised from voting during the primary election–by the curfew, which not only limited the ability to be out after 7 pm at the threat of police violence, but also shut down all transit; by the failure of our board of elections to send out mail-in ballots as requested; and by the heads of that agency, who did not designate enough polling sites to support voters otherwise unable to vote by mail-in ballots.

NONE of this–the paid witnesses, the disenfranchisement, the police threats–are mistakes. Demand better.

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