Housing Complex

Bowser Opposes School Reform Plan for Worsening “Educational Inequality”

Elect_14_Bowser-1A day after her top rival in the mayoral race announced his opposition to Mayor Vince Gray's plan to overhaul public-school boundaries and assignment policies, Democratic nominee Muriel Bowser says in a statement that she, too, can't support the plan.

Last week, Gray unveiled a series of changes that will comprehensively reform D.C.'s system for assigning students to public schools for the first time in more than four decades. The current system is complex and has led to overcrowding at some schools and underenrollment at others. But the changes he's adopted have angered some parents who will lose access to highly regarded schools, including those in the Crestwood neighborhood of Ward 4, which Bowser represents on the D.C. Council.

Bowser's statement of opposition is brief:

The Mayor's plan on school boundary changes is not ready.  His plan serves to exacerbate educational inequality and does little to move school reform forward faster.  It lacks the necessary budgetary and leadership commitments to bring about a truly fair neighborhood school assignment policy.  I cannot accept these recommendations.

Only the next Mayor can address the plan's unanswered questions, inherent inequalities across neighborhoods, and with the new Council, address significant budgetary implications.  If elected Mayor, I pledge that my first budget will reflect our commitment to make every school high performing. Then, and only then, will we advance meaningful school reform.

Some of Bowser's criticisms—the failure to address inequality among schools and the rushed process—are similar to Catania's. What's not immediately clear is whether she plans to oppose the plan through Council action or as mayor, if she wins in November and takes office in January. In either case, the mechanism for doing so is not so simple, given that the plan isn't subject to Council approval and that its implementation will effectively begin when the school lottery opens in December, before the new mayor is sworn in.

A Bowser spokesman didn't immediately have an answer as to how Bowser would try to delay or undo the mayor's proposal.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • nivin

    The Council delays or repeals stuff it doesn't like all the time. That is not an issue.

  • noodlez


  • Selena

    Two corporatist democrats offer no real choose. Catania will try to distinguish himself, but all Bowser needs to do is show there's zero daylight between them in campaigning and she wins. She gets kudos for defeating the corrupt democrat machine that backed Gray, she'll be a two term Mayor if she beats Catania. And the developers and corporations will again trump the needs of DC residents in crisis (education, housing, HIV/AIDS, incarcerated and returning citizens). Smart girl.

  • Brahmin

    Let me actually be the grown up on this page. It is easy to malign the plan.

    It says it addresses racial inequality but it is evident it just redrew racial maps. How did homes in Mt Pleasant pick a feeder pattern to Deal and Wilson, when closer areas lost it!

    Then the new North has a weird far flung area from Northeast to cut outs in NW and a parents advocate explains its apartment bldgs. They are trying to jam apartment buildings together and its clear! But it also encompasses an area that has a large swath of parents moving to Takoma. Manor Park and Brightwood so they are pissed-- and likely to bail to charter.

    This plan will accelerate the push of the new hipster and old black families enrolling in charter-schools -- destroying the per pupil formulation. I wouldn't be surprise if on the low Kaya called Muriel and begged for a delay.

    Lastly it uses terms such as set asides and quotas. The plan take the use of public funds but makes up preferences for one group over another. It called disparate impact and not very legal.

    Mayor Gray should have used the plan to fertilize his lawn -- it little value otherwise.

  • E. Masquinongy

    @Brahmin: agree; along with a consensus among the blogotoria. The plan will *encourage* the engaged parents who's kids will be sent to a lesser middle and/or high school, to switch to a charter. There are several that are equivalent to the best in DCPS.

  • DCShadyBoots

    Muriel Bowser is GAWD AWFUL!!!

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