By The Numbers: DC (Lack Of) Oversight, May 2022 Edition

Consecutive days starting in late April that DC’s department of health did not report any covid data: 12

Date of letter from DC council members to DC’s department of health, demanding better covid reporting: May 12

Date of reply, saying that the council members’ letter was undermining public trust: May 19

Number of DC’s weekly covid cases represented by DC’s health department with high alert red in January and lower alert yellow in May: 270 and 298, respectively

Number of council members signing the letter to the DC department of health: 6

Number of council members NOT signing the letter: 7, including council chair Phil Mendelson, Elissa Silverman, and Anita Bonds, all of whom are running for re-election

Ratio of DCPS to DC 7-day average of covid cases before the Memorial Day weekend: 113/49

Week of May when council chair Phil Mendelson declared he was voting for Mayor Bowser: 3

Week of May when Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) sent out mailers saying that Mendelson did more than he in reality did for schools: 3

Date I received an unsolicited text message from someone at Parents Amplifying Voices in Education (PAVE), urging me to #Vote4DCKids by June 21, with a link to a Teach for America form: May 10

Times I texted back asking how PAVE got my number and what voting for DC kids meant: 2

Answers I got to my questions: 0

Replies I got instead: 3 (first, repeating verbatim a sentence from PAVE’s 2020 tax form of its mission; second, asking whether I planned to vote in person or by mail; third, after I asked why they were asking me that, this reply: “Thanks for letting us know, we’ll take you off the list”)

Number of employees listed on PAVE’s 2020 tax form: 22

Total revenues listed for that year: $2.5 million

Compensation of PAVE’s executive director: $257,000

Number of paid staff of DC’s ward education councils and PTAs: 0

Number of tweets PAVE sent on May 10 after the first budget vote thanking council chair Phil Mendelson for funding PAVE’s budget priorities, including increased funds for at risk students: 3

Total number of schools in DCPS projected to see more funds for at risk students as a result: 75

Estimated percentage of those schools that will receive enough of these new funds to hire 1 reading teacher or counselor: 19% (14 total)

Amount Phil Mendelson has raised for his re-election as of March 10: >$466,000

Week of May when Mendelson was apparently asked by the Urban Institute for money to help with the research practice partnership (RPP): 1

Amount of money Mendelson set aside for this purpose in the FY23 budget: $400,000

Urban’s 2022 rationale for the money: Paying for RPP start-up costs, including a data archive, website, and support for advisory committee meetings

Amount of money Urban estimated these things would cost in its February 2020 application to manage the RPP: $370,000

Percentage of that amount Urban said in 2020 would be covered by DC government: 0

Urban’s 2020 rationale: “We believe it is important that the initial work to build the RPP not be financially supported by the District government. This is a best practice identified by other RPPs, as it is important to establishing the RPP’s reputation and credibility as a truly independent “critical friend” of the education agencies.”

Amount of the $400K Mendelson set aside for the RPP that W4 council member Janeese Lewis George wanted to use instead for a study of the costs of expanding school-based mental health programs, as recommended by advocates: $300,000

Amount that Mendelson promised on May 10 during the council budget mark-up session he would help Lewis George find for that study if she withdrew her request: $300,000

Amount that Mendelson set aside for the study after Lewis George withdrew her request for the RPP funds: $150,000

Who apparently determined that amount: DC’s chief financial officer

Number of times during the May 10 mark-up session that council chair Mendelson referenced the RPP with the adjective “cutting edge”: 2 (see the video at about the 2 hour 37 minute mark and 2:38:48; the entire discussion of the RPP money versus the study starts at 2:32:50)

Links to the video of the May 10 mark-up session available on the website for the budget legislation: 0 (the link included with the legislation is for the legislative meeting later that same day)

Earliest year mentioned in this blog of a DC school lacking door locks: 2013

Number of DC schools locked down that year in response to the Navy Yard mass shooting: At least 10

Date a DCPS parent and teacher cried testifying about how her child’s school had no locks on classroom doors: February 13, 2018 (see it here, at the 35:53 mark)

Number of days later when a shooter killed 17 students and teachers at a school in Parkland, Florida: 1

Days after that shooting that administrators at my child’s DCPS school outlined how teachers had received training for responding to mass shootings (including watching footage of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary massacre) and noted that while practicing active shooter drills, teachers were able to reassure children as young as 3 years old: 13

Months after that in 2018, when DCPS personnel testified that 50 schools lacked door locks: 2

Number of outstanding door and lock work orders in (then) Ward 6 DCPS schools in fall 2021: 35

Number of (then) Ward 6 DCPS schools: 20

Year that DCPS has a policy that classroom doors do not need locks: 2022

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