After this November’s election, Ward 2 could have two members on the DC State Board of Education.
Jack Jacobson is running unopposed for the Ward 2 seat on the Board, and Mary Lord, the current Ward 2 member on the State Board of Education, is running for the Board’s At-Large seat. Lord is facing Marvin Tucker on the November 6 ballot.
In an article published on October 28, The Washington Post endorsed Lord, saying she “deserves [the] election in her at-large bid” since “she understands the role of the state board and has smart ideas on how to sustain school reform.”
According to Lord, Ward 2 has some of the city’s highest-performing schools in the city. “Indeed, we’re a beacon of excellence and and an example of the benefits of school choice and how community involvement can support and sustain strong neighborhood traditional public schools,” said Lord. “Ward 2’s State Board members are well prepared to lead the way forward and ensure all kids, no matter where they live, receive a top-notch public education.”
DC Public Schools in Ward 2 include:
- Ellington School of the Arts
- Fillmore Arts Center (West)
- Francis-Stevens Education Campus
- Garrison Elementary School
- Hardy Middle School
- Hyde-Addison Elementary School
- Ross Elementary School
- School Without Walls High School
- Seaton Elementary School
- Thomson Elementary School
In response to busy work-week and family schedules, the Logan Circle Community Association (LCCA) created “Saturdays in Logan Circle,” where where the organization updates participants on community events, programs and other local items that are covered at LCCA’s Wednesday night meetings.
The next Saturday in Logan Circle meeting is tomorrow, October 13 at 10 am at Garrison Elementary School (1200 S Street NW). Jack Jacobson (unopposed Ward 2 candidate for the State Education Board) will speak, and meeting attendees will have the opportunity to engage in a discussion with principals from the schools in the Greater Logan Circle area.
Children are welcome and babysitters will be provided. LCCA will also provide coffee and light breakfast fare, as well as snacks for the kids.
For more information on the upcoming meeting, and to RSVP, please email jim.sullivan[AT]logancircle.org.
This weekend is all about beautifying yourself and DC’s public schools, while getting to know local politicians and community members.
On Saturday, August 25, get involved in your community and help to make the first day of school the best it can be for local students! From 8 am until 1 pm, volunteers from across the DC metro area will help spruce up the city’s schools by participating in DCPS’s Annual Beautification Day. Sign-up as an individual or a group by calling (202) 724-4881 or via email at DCPSBeautificationday@dc.gov.
Actually, on Friday, August 24, start your weekend off right with a blowout, drinks and appetizers at Salon Rouge (636 17th Street NW). Ladies are invited to the event (from 7:30 until 10 pm) with a $25 contribution to Jack Jacobson for DC. Meanwhile, the gentlemen are invited to a community happy hour at Stoney’s (1433 P Street NW) from 5 until 8 pm.
Have kids? Don’t worry. RSVPs will be notified in advance of two local homes in the Dupont/Logan Circle areas with experienced sitters, courtesy of Jack Jacobson for DC.
Jack Jacobson is currently the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for ANC 2B-04, and is running for State Board of Education for Ward 2.
Borderstan welcomes guest columns on variety of subjects with differing viewpoints; email us at borderstan[AT]gmail.com.
From Jack Jacobson. He is an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Dupont Circle (ANC 2B-04), and is a candidate for State Board of Education representative for Ward 2.
Early in our academic careers, all of us at some point became aware of the significance of the elusive 100% score on a test. To some that figure signified perfection, or simply that you knew all the answers to the test questions. However in hindsight, as with many experiences from childhood, the reality is not that simple.
Earlier this year, Mayor Vincent Gray and Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson unveiled “A Capital Commitment,” a five-year plan to right the District of Columbia’s faltering public schools. While it is vital to lay out a clear vision for increasing student achievement and successfully implement a strategic plan, “A Capital Commitment” — as it is written — would continue to allow an unacceptable number of students to fail. Moreover, it leaves a great deal of uncertainty for current students entering traditional public middle and high schools in the District.
The Goal of an Education System
Education cannot simply be about the test scores, far from it. Everyone learns at his or her own pace and in his or her own way. To attempt a cookie cutter solution to DC’s education system is neither practical nor sound. That being said, the goal of any education system should be 100% proficiency system-wide. But how do you get there? I’ll leave that to those best suited to the task: the teachers and administrators of our public schools who deal with each child on a daily basis.
The five-year goals of “A Capital Commitment” are straightforward:
- Improve achievement rates: At least 70% of students will be proficient in reading and math, and the number of advanced students in the District will double.
- Invest in struggling schools: The 40 lowest-performing schools will increase proficiency rates by 40%.
- Increase the graduation rate: At least 75% of entering 9th graders will graduate in four years.
- Improve satisfaction: 90% of students will like their school.
- Increase enrollment: DCPS will increase enrollment over five years.
The Mayor and Chancellor have been aggressively touting their plan, with the Mayor speaking extensively to it during his budget roundtables held across the city this year. The Chancellor has been hosting a series of “The State of Schools” presentations and listening sessions in every Ward. I attended the “State of Ward 2 Schools” event on June 27, which was well attended by DCPS and Ward 2 school administration officials. Unfortunately it was poorly attended by parents and community members. (It should be noted that the original “State of Ward 2 Schools” meeting was scheduled for June 6 — before the end of school — but was cancelled at the last minute following then-Council Chairman Kwame Brown’s resignation earlier that day. The meeting was rescheduled twice before settling on the June 27 date, after the school year had ended).
The Chancellor’s presentation began with a thorough overview of the campaign, highlighting its goals and objectives, then led into a Q&A session with attendees. Chancellor Henderson discussed at great length the anticipated increases in proficiency and student achievement that the plan would accomplish at the end of five years.
However, during the entire discussion and Q&A, there was no mention of 100% proficiency, a 100% graduation rate, or 100% of students liking their schools. This is in stark contrast to the expectations of parents and guardians. From their perspective, all students deserve the opportunity to achieve 100% of their potential. To compete locally, regionally and globally we must do a better job of educating our children. For years jobs have been leaving the region and the country. Cheaper labor is often cited as the cause, but just as often the need for technical proficiency in mathematics and the sciences is touted as a reason. As the nation’s capital, with the resources and intellectual capacity at our disposal, we should set the bar higher. The issues plaguing the school system are significant, but academically we must aspire to be the best. Frankly, when DCPS students complete their academic careers and enter the workforce, their employers will expect nothing short of their best.
The Lowest Performing Schools
“A Capital Commitment” has a five-year goal of transforming its 40 lowest-performing schools to achieve an average 63% proficiency in reading and 62% proficiency in math. A 63% proficiency in reading would equate to 37% of graduates not being able to fully comprehend this article, an abysmal statistic for students who are a product of the public schools in our nation’s capital.
To help achieve proficiency goals, Chancellor Henderson this spring announced a $10 million “Proving What’s Possible” grant program to improve student outcomes. All DCPS schools could compete, but it was largely assumed that the grants would go where there was the most need to increase student achievement. The June 14 press release from DCPS announcing the recipients of the awards trumpeted, “Funds to spur innovation, improve learning in 40 lowest-performing schools.”
But the funding didn’t go to those 40 schools, at least not exclusively. In total, 59 of 125 DCPS schools (47%) received grants, including Benjamin Banneker High School and Hyde-Addison Elementary School, both top-rated schools by GreatSchools.org. (According to DCPS, approximately 85% of the “Proving What’s Possible” grants went to the lowest-performing schools.)
Another goal of “A Capital Commitment” is to achieve a traditional public school system-wide proficiency rate of 70% in reading and math. That means that at the outset, 30% of our students will not achieve the same proficiency as their peers. Washington will never be a “world class” city if our graduates cannot be competitive in the global workforce.
It is better to set the bar high and fall short than to set it too low and lose another generation of students to mediocrity or worse. Keep in mind the DCPS had 43,866 students in the system in the 2009-2010 academic year, according to the US Census Bureau, far fewer than cities like New York and Chicago. However, we spend $18,677 per student per year versus $18,618 in New York and $13,078 in Chicago (the national average is $10,615). We are smaller system, spend more money, but are not achieving better results.
Middle and High Schools and the Pre-School Boom
The ward-by-ward DCPS presentations failed to address the continued uncertainty for rising middle and high school students under “A Capital Commitment.” Five years ago, when then-Chancellor Michelle Rhee asked young parents to stay in the District and believe in the reforms being implemented, they stayed and sent their children to our traditional public schools. Unfortunately, school reform has not yet significantly improved our middle and high schools across the city. The reality is that most of the parents of these rising fourth and fifth graders have no viable traditional public school options.
The high-achieving schools within DCPS are over enrolled and thus not viable options for the majority of students. In contrast, our under-achieving and failing schools have been left, seemingly, to fend for themselves as elementary school students continue to exit traditional public schools to attend private middle and high schools and the growing number of public charter schools across the District. Without a specific plan for improving our traditional public middle and high schools, the goal of increasing DCPS student enrollment will never be achieved.
Keep in mind the difficult economy and other factors that have led to a larger number of families staying in the District. However, this has resulted in a steep rise in preschool and pre-kindergarten enrollment. Overall, DCPS has placed a great deal of attention on the elementary school system, but our middle and high schools must be ready academically to meet the impending student population boom. And that boom is coming much sooner than the five years “A Capital Commitment” promises.
Otherwise, instead of the traditional flight to the suburbs for better schools, you’ll see a flight from ward to ward. The end result is only those that can afford to rent or buy in “better” neighborhoods will get access to high-achieving schools. This cannot be allowed to happen in any city, much less Washington, DC.
Start the Conversation
“A Capital Commitment” is an admirable plan at the end of the day – it sets reasonable, achievable goals and will benefit a significant segment of our students who are falling further and further behind their peers nationally. However, there is a difference between developing a plan and successfully executing it.
It is imperative that Chancellor Henderson and Mayor Gray continue to conduct a full, comprehensive and sustained public education and involvement campaign to engage parents, teachers, administrators, and the broader business, non-profit and residential communities in supporting our schools and improving student outcomes.
“A Capital Commitment” should be the beginning of a conversation for goal setting and what’s possible for student achievement, not the endgame. DCPS schools have produced amazing leaders like Duke Ellington and Warren Buffett. Washington’s children are as bright and have as much potential as any children in the country. Our public education system should acknowledge this and provide them every opportunity to reach that potential and excel – and all Washingtonians will be better off for it.
Dupont resident Martin Espinoza officially announced his plans in running for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) in the District 04 seat in 2B/Dupont. According to a statement from Espinoza, he would make the neighborhood’s public safety a priority, and focus on the importance of vigilant and active residents, as well as community involvement and aesthetic restoration.
Jack Jacobson, the ANC 2B04 incumbent, is currently running for DC School Board in Ward 2. He was elected to the seat in a 2007 special election before winning a pair of two-years terms. Espinoza sits on the Board of Directors for The DC Center and is co-founder of DC Stonewall Sports and DC Stonewall Kickball.
District 04 is the most densely populated, and smallest in geographic area, of ANC 2B‘s nine districts. By law, each ANC district is to have approximately 2,000 residents. The southern boundary is Q Street, running north to S Street NW, and from 15th Street to 17th Street NW.
Both school board and ANC seats are non-partisan, without primaries. The general election is November 6.
From Matt Rhoades. Email him at matty[AT]borderstan.com.
In a change of plans, Mary Lord announced Friday that she will run for an At-Large seat to the DC State Board of Education, instead of seeking re-election for the Ward 2 seat on the Board. The DC Board of Elections reported this week that Marvin Tucker also picked up petitions for the At-Large Education Board seat. Both Lord and Tucker picked up nominating petitions Friday, according to the DC Board of Elections.
In his June 10 fundraising report to the DC Office of Campaign Finance, Jack Jacobson reported raising $18,216 for his race to win the Ward 2 DC State Board of Education seat. Lord’s decision leaves Jack Jacobson as the only announced candidate for the Ward 2 Education Board seat.
As Washington Post political columnist Mike DeBonis noted Wednesday about Jacobon’s fundraising, he “has built quite the war chest in his nonpartisan bid to unseat State Board of Education member Mary Lord. His $18,216 on hand is particularly impressive considering SBOE races have a $200 donation limit.”
Jacobson represents District 4 on Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B, which covers the Dupont Circle area.
In his Friday statement, Jacobson said the following about Lord: “An inaugural member of the board, Mary has been a valuable asset to me in my capacity as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Dupont Circle (2B04). Her passion for a top-quality education for all District of Columbia students is undeniable. The possibility of two sitting board members, well versed with the issues facing Ward 2 schools, makes me hopeful that significant improvements across the entire school system are within reach. I welcome the opportunity to work with Mary in the near future.”
DC school board elections are non-partisan — candidates do not run in the primaries on April 3 for party nominations. School board seats are filled in the general election on November 6.
On Friday, June 1, Jack Jacobson, candidate for the Ward 2 State Board of Education seat, will host a Kiddy Happy Hour to discuss concerns and share ideas on how to improve schools in Ward 2 and across the city.
This event – which will take place at Century 21 Redwood Realty (1701 Q Street NW) from 5 to 8 pm – is open to all parents and community members involved, and invested, in the neighborhood school system. Free childcare will be provided so that attendees can participate as much as possible!
Jacobson announced his candidacy against incumbent Mary Lord in March. He is a member of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B/Dupont, representing District 4. The school board elections are non-partisan; election day is November 6.
From Matty Rhoades. Email him at matty[AT]borderstan.com.
Jack Jacobson officially kicked off his campaign for the Ward 2 DC Board of Education seat on Saturday night with a fundraiser at The Chastleton, 16th and R Streets NW.
“People should always understand that everything revolves around public education. Public safety, economic development… everything goes back to good public schools,” Jacobson told the crowd.
Jacobson announced on March 12 that he was running for the seat; incumbent Mary Lord confirmed that she will seek re-election. Jacobson is now an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for ANC 2B/Dupont, representing District 04. There is no primary for the non-partisan School Board seats, and the candidates will be on the November 6 general election ballot.
“I want to make sure that our schools are places where everyone is supported — students, families, teachers,” said Jacobson.
During his remarks on Saturday, Jacobson again emphasized his involvement with public education in DC –citing his work as a reading mentor at Marie Reed Learning Center with Everybody Wins, to becoming a charter member of the DC Public Education Fund’s Young Professionals Committee, to participating in Ross Elementary School’s Safe Routes to School Program.
Lord was first elected to the Ward 2 Board of Education seat in a special election in August 2007, and then to a full term in 2008. Jacobson was first elected to his ANC seat in a special election in March 2008, and then elected to full terms in November 2008 and 2010.
From Matty Rhoades. Email him at matty[AT]borderstan.com
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Jack Jacobson (2B04) announced Monday that he is running for the Ward 2 DC State Board of Education seat. The seat is held by Mary Lord, a Dupont-area resident, who confirmed she will seek re-election. If elected in November, Jacobson will be the only openly LGBT member of the Board of Education.
DC school board elections are non-partisan — candidates do not run in the primaries on April 3 for party nominations. School board seats are filled in the general election, which is November 6 this year.
In a statement released Monday morning, Jacobson said, “I have been honored to serve our community as a Neighborhood Commissioner, and am eager to take this next step in public service to represent all of Ward 2 on the State Board of Education. Having been the son of a public school teacher and two school board members, I’ve been involved in education my entire life. Recent tours of a number of Ward 2 schools and conversations with parents, teachers and community members have persuaded me that we need new leadership on the Board of Education.”
Lord told Borderstan, “Yes, I plan to seek re-election as the Ward 2 representative on the DC State Board of Education and look forward to a spirited campaign. The more people who engage in discussing the role of teaching and learning on our communities, the better. It takes time to build strong schools.” Lord was first elected to the Ward 2 Board of Education seat in a special election in August 2007, and then to a full term in 2008.
Jacobson was first elected to his ANC seat in a special election in March 2008, and then elected to full terms in November 2008 and 2010 (ANC 2B covers the Dupont Circle area). During his stint on the ANC, he has served as treasurer, public safety liaison, chairman of the 17th Street Moratorium Renewal Committee and chair of the 17th Street Renovation Working Group. He also helped found a consumer group focused on taxicab regulation, DC Taxi Watch.
Jacobson said his main goal will be to work with parents and the community at large to improve neighborhood schools in Ward 2 and to ensure that parents have confidence in the ability of our public schools to provide their children high-quality education. He said that if elected he would also focus on reducing attrition when students move to middle and high schools by ensuring those public schools provide continued rigorous curriculum that give students the life skills necessary to move into the global workforce.
“The District’s difficult effort to reform and improve our public schools has been remarkable and is beginning to show real results,” said Jacobson. “Ward 2’s representative on the Board of Education should fully support school reform efforts here in the District of Columbia. Our children in Ward 2 and throughout the District all deserve to attend strong, effective neighborhood schools, and if elected I’ll do everything in my power to ensure all Ward 2 schools lead the District in student performance and success.”
In a statement to Borderstan, Lord said, “I have led numerous efforts to promote excellence and achievement. That includes being an unwavering partner and advocate for the LGBT community, working to ensure that education policies reflected our shared commitment to social justice, dignity and respect. Ask anyone involved in the fight over the District of Columbia’s first-ever learning standards for health. I pushed to ensure that HIV/AIDS education, gender identity, and other issues did not get watered down or removed — as some demanded. It was the right thing to do, for in approving those standards, we enlisted schools in the fight against our city’s soaring rates of HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy.”
Lord she has raised two children in Dupont Circle. “We’ve made remarkable strides in creating vibrant options for more and more Ward 2 families. Our neighborhoods are home to some of the city’s highest performing schools. I hope to continue that momentum and engage the broader community in helping all children realize their full potential. Education is everybody’s business,” said Lord.
Jacobson emphasized his involvement with educational issues, citing his work as a reading mentor at Marie Reed Learning Center with Everybody Wins, to becoming a charter member of the DC Public Education Fund’s Young Professionals Committee, to participating in Ross Elementary School’s Safe Routes to School Program. He also announced that his campaign manager is Lee Granados,a former public school teacher for 8 years who is now a consultant for the Center of Applied Linguistics; she is active in the Ross Elementary School PTA where her children attend school.
By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.
We covered the controversial DC Taxicab hearing in November, where many asserted that fares would double under the new proposed fare regime. That wasn’t exactly true and as we noted, part of the fare increase deal was a supposed end to some of the surcharges for extra passengers and luggage.
Well, now it turns out that perhaps those original alarmist headlines weren’t so out of order. The current luggage surcharge is 50 cents for each bag (beyond your free first one) handled by the driver; now, it will be 50 cents per bag placed by the operator in the trunk.
And those passenger surcharges are sticking around, too. Under the existing rules, cab drivers can charge $1.50 per person beyond the first rider; now they will be able to charge $1 per rider (but only if you are a cab van).
We asked ANC 2B-04 Commissioner Jack Jacobson what he thought of the current proposals. Jacobson is a spokesperson for DC Taxi Watch (also on Facebook). “The new time and distance rate proposal is really a lose-lose for the District’s riding public. We’re being forced to pay more today for the same poor service, with the promise of possible service/vehicle improvements at some unspecified date in the future. I’m not aware of any other industries where this dismissive and abusive treatment of consumers is an acceptable practice,” said Jacobson.
The fuel surcharge should be removed with the new regulations, but if you check the DC Taxicab Commission site, you will see a notice extending the emergency fuel surcharge through June 2012. These charges are in addition to the rate changes, which are still going up. The proposed rule increases the additional mile rate from 25 cents per 1/6 of a mile to 27 cents per 1/8 of a mile. That new rate adds up to $2.16 per mile, which is about 67 cents extra.
“The regulations regarding mileage and age standards for the District’s taxicab fleet could actually have a positive impact on vehicle safety and performance for District consumers in the long run. However, this proposal too will likely be watered down to the point of ineffectiveness as the Commission will likely once again bend to the will of the District’s outdated, intransigent taxicab industry,” said Jacobson.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that the re-publication of the rule, after a few amendments in a January hearing, got very little coverage (kudos to our pal, Mike DeBonis for Mke DeBonis for his piece in the The Washington Post). The 30-day comment period is awfully close to expiring, so you have a limited amount of time to leave a comment. You can see the regs at the DCTC site.
In return for the fare increase, expect some standardization with credit card acceptance, lights and taxicab colors. Is that enough of a return on your dollar to support the fare increase? And based on your experiences, do you believe that only vans will charge that surcharge for extra passengers or that you won’t be charged the baggage fee if you personally load your own suitcase?
Jacobson’s final parting shot: “The District’s taxicab industry has written the rules and regulations for the District for decades, and in response, we have the most ineffective, unfriendly system in the country. Unfortunately it appears that the Commission is going to continue the same old song and dance and give the taxicab industry everything it wants while gouging consumers and maintaining the worst managed fleet in operation today.”
[youtube width=”580″ height=”344″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_L3trFw2GQ[/youtube]
Close to 200 people attended the third Wig Night Out Fundraiser on Saturday, January 28, at Level One restaurant. The event at 17th and R Streets NW raised almost $5,200 for the Point Foundation. All proceeds from the event benefited the foundation, which provides financial support, mentoring, leadership training and hope to meritorious students who are marginalized due to sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
“We had the pleasure of raising our wigs, our wallets and even our glasses for an amazing organization, we hope to updo ourselves next year in another hair raiser of a fundraiser,” said Dito Sevilla, one of the Wig Night Out organizers.
The fundraiser has a simple requirement for attendees: Wear a wig and donate at least $10 to the Point Foundation. The event was held last year at Dito’s Bar (which raised more than $1,000), but was moved to the larger venue at Level One this year. The event is sponsored by a local group, The Supreme Wig Council.
The DC Department of Transportation (DDoT) is hosting a community meeting this evening on the 17th Streetscape project. Time is 6:30 to 8 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 1772 Church Street NW.
Following is a quick Q&A with Commissioner Jack Jacobson, ANC 2B04; he is co-chair of the 17th Street working group, along with Paul Williams, executive director of Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets.
At the bottom of this posting are earlier stories related to plans for 17th Street. Also, Greater Greater Washington did a great write up on the project in October 2008.
The first of a series of planning meetings on the 17th Street NW corridor (which I believe is roughly from P to S) is tomorrow evening, Wednesday, August 5, at Cobalt, which is located on the third floor at 1639 17th Street NW. The city’s streetscape project begins this fall, so this is a timely discussion and meeting.
Here are details from ANC 2B Commissioner Jack Jacobson: