Marion Barry’s Selective Memory
LL was mercifully spared having to watch most of the super-lengthy D.C. Council hearing Thursday on the city's proposal to close 20 schools. But LL did see former Mayor-for-Life and Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry reminded Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson that Ward 8 has some pretty lousy-performing schools, and he'd like to see some improvements, and he'd like to see them quickly.
Barry also noted that he sent his only child Christopher Barry to D.C. public schools, which Barry says "demonstrates my own commitment" to the public school system.
The younger Barry did attend DCPS' Wilson High, wxcept that's not the whole story. Presented without further comment is a section from Dream City, the excellent Barry biography written by Tom Sherwood and Harry Jaffe, noting the state of disrepair of D.C. schools in the late '80s when Barry was mayor:
Barry always dodged responsibility for the school system, because it is controlled by an elected, independent school board, but he couldn't escape the fact that he reduced the share of the city's budget that went to education. In 1978, one-fourth of the budget went to the schools; in 1988 Barry allocated only 16 percent. The mayor, however, took care of his own. His son, Christopher Barry, attended St. Albans School for Boys, a posh private school in Ward Three, eight miles from his home.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery