The Washington, DC region is great >> and it can be greater.


Let's make education greater with a new blog

Now that Greater Greater Washington is 5 (or 35 in blog years), we're pleased to announce we're having a baby (blog)! We've launched Greater Greater Education, a forum to explore how to improve education in DC.

Please head over there now to read today's article by Laura Dallas McSorley on pre-K successes, Shree Chauhan's "Morning Bell" roundup, and more. Subscribe to our daily email or RSS feed, or follow us on Twitter @ggdcedu. Finally, we're looking for more contributors!

Also, we have a baby cousin (blog) as well! Former links editor David Edmondson has started a group blog about transportation and urbanism in the San Francsico Bay Area, called Vibrant Bay Area. Check it out!

Finally, we hope to see you at Greater Greater (Washington)'s 5-year-and-one-month birthday party this evening, Tuesday 6-10 pm at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D Street, NW. Confirmed guests include Mayor Vincent Gray, DC Councilmembers Tommy Wells and Mary Cheh, and Arlington County Board member Chris Zimmerman. (Snow is supposed to hold off until much later tonight, forecasters think.)

Why Greater Greater Education?

Greater Greater Washington has focused for 5 years on what aspects of our neighborhoods and communities make them desirable places to live, and how residents want to see their communities improve. We're especially interested in walkable urban places and what makes people want to live, invest, and stay in these communities.

For a great many people, far and away the number one factor in this decision is education. If they have children, they want to live somewhere where their children can get a good education. Period.

DC, in particular, has long had a trend of young people moving to its neighborhoods but decamping for suburbs once their children get to school age. That trend is changing as more and more people want to remain in walkable urban neighborhoods, but for many residents, the question is whether the education can get good enough, soon enough for their children.

It's also important to build a city that's inclusive of all people, in all economic circumstances and stages of life. On urbanism, that means having different price points for housing, affordable transit, and thriving businesses that meet people's different needs. On education, that means also figuring out not only how we can improve education for our own kids (for those who have kids), but for all kids.

What will Greater Greater Education discuss?

While Greater Greater Washington has always been explicitly focused on the entire region, we anticipate Greater Greater Education will mainly focus on education in the District, particularly DCPS and public charter schools. However, articles about education issues in other parts of the region are also welcome.

Our aim is to step out of some of the polarizing fights that dominate news coverage. We're not especially interested in debating whether Michelle Rhee was saintly or satanic, or if charter schools are inherently good or bad. On most of the burning questions, education professionals are just scratching the surface of actually figuring out the answers through research.

We're hoping to look at real data, and real examples on the ground of what is working and what is not. We're hoping to help educate readers, and stimulate a community and lively discussions, about what is happening and what needs to happen. We hope you will learn from our contributors who have experiences to share, and we in turn can learn from all of you through discussions in the comments.

We'll be starting with a lower post volume than on Greater Greater Washington itself to begin with—about one post per day, and link roundups twice a week, ramping up as we build up a larger base of contributors.

This doesn't mean we'll entirely stop talking about education on Greater Greater Washington. Some education articles will also cross-post on both blogs, and share a comment section. But there will be many articles on Greater Greater Education alone to keep the total post volume on Greater Greater Washington from getting too high.

Can you contribute?

Speaking of contributors, we want you! If you have experiences to share with education in DC or information to share, please email us at with a brief introduction and a sense of what kinds of topics you might like to write about. We welcome everyone from education policy experts to regular average parents to former DCPS students and many more. As with all Greater Greater anything posts, our contributors are volunteers.

We hope you will read, comment, share, and contribute so that we can build a community of people dedicated to better education, as we have for urbanism on Greater Greater Washington. Thank you!

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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Mr Alpert: congratulations. And I am sure you realize that having children changes you. In my case, the sleepless nights and the worry has turned my brain into Swiss cheese.

by goldfish on Mar 5, 2013 11:49 am • linkreport

I give you credit for jumping onto the third rail of urbanism and urban development. I'm afraid you'll live to regret it, though.*

* Note: For anyone of Woodwardian mindset, this is not a threat!

by Dizzy on Mar 5, 2013 11:50 am • linkreport

Thanks for the shout-out! Only a couple posts up, but stay tuned for more from Vibrant Bay Area.

Also: congratulations on the education blog! It will be great to see a focused look at the issues of DC education. We certainly need it.

by David Edmondson on Mar 5, 2013 1:13 pm • linkreport

Woohoo! Excited to see this come about and looking forward to reading it.

by Tim Krepp on Mar 5, 2013 1:45 pm • linkreport

Yeah this is great stuff

by HogWash on Mar 5, 2013 1:48 pm • linkreport

Well I am disappointed on the blog split. I don't want to follow yet another blog - liked GGW when it was a mix of posts that included education.

by Wayan on Mar 5, 2013 10:45 pm • linkreport

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.] Parenting is something that's rewarding but it can be challenging with lots of sacrifice. I should know as a father. Education begins at home. There are some gems in DCPS but [deleted ] education isn't just in the school. It begins at the home. [Deleted.]

by Lester on Mar 5, 2013 11:16 pm • linkreport

Wayan: Thanks for the feedback. Education articles will likely still appear on GGW at about the frequency they were before.

However, I wanted to have far more articles on education, but was concerned that they would either mean having more articles per day on GGW, which many people have said they don't want (and when we have more articles in one day it often means less traffic and fewer comments per article), or would take away from covering other things.

Plus, there are many people out there who want to follow education but aren't as interested in lots and lots of detail about intersection design. GGW clearly has a focus on planning and transportation, so those potential readers won't want to subscribe.

Basically, if you keep on reading GGW then about nothing should change; you will still see education articles like before. If you want more about education than you are getting now, subscribe to GGEd.

Still, I welcome feedback as we go. We should all assess after it's been running for a little while to see if having it split is working well, or maybe if we should cross-post more or less often, or change the way cross-posts appear, or other things.

I've also been thinking about having a regular roundup on GGW that lists articles that were on GGEd, sort of like a Breakfast Links but just a list of GGEd pieces. We can play with that and see what works over time.

by David Alpert on Mar 6, 2013 12:25 am • linkreport

The only non pathetic agency represented at the recent COW/EdCommittee hearings addressing truancy was MPD. Two officers in each MPD district to pick up truants is hardly enough. At least one truancy van in some wards, but perhaps areas around the high truancy schools, like DunbarHS w/ 36% truancy last year, should have 3-4 vans, so pickups could get to school earlier and not after lunch time. MPD should also use technology to keep schools and parents informed about repeat truants they encounter. There should be an app for that.

by @ShawingtonTimes on Mar 6, 2013 1:19 pm • linkreport

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