Greater Greater Washington

Posts about DCPS


DC schools need a mayor who's in a hurry

Ask most of the candidates in the District's April 1 Democratic primary about the gap between our most and least successful public schools, and they'll tell you they want every school to be great. That's a laudable aspiration, but at our current pace it will take more than a generation to get there. Sadly, few candidates support acting boldly to change the lives of students being left behind.

Photo by Eirien on Flickr.

The District's traditional public schools have made significant strides, with scores rising to the point at which last year 47 percent of D.C. Public Schools students scored proficient in reading on the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System (D.C.-CAS), the District's standardized test, and 50 percent did so in math. But that means only about half of our students are able to perform fairly basic math and reading tasks.

There is a long way to go. And the gap in achievement between wealthier and poor kids not only persists but also is increasing in some areas.

The bottom line is that the pace of change has been excruciatingly slow, with scores rising only about 1.3 percentage points per year. At that rate, true change will not come until the children of many of today's elementary school students are starting school.

Continue reading our latest op-ed in the Washington Post.


Are sidewalks and bike lanes getting cleared of snow?

4-8 inches of snow fell on the region yesterday, as you are surely aware. That means that all road users, drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists have to navigate snowy streets. Property owners sometimes are diligent about clearing their vehicular paths but not sidewalks. How about this time?

Photo by Katie Yaeger Rotramel on Flickr.

Some businesses and institutions won't have had a chance to clear snow by this morning (BID staff seem to be up and about clearing sidewalks right now in commercial areas, for instance), but let's keep an eye on how they do after they have a fair interval to clear snow today.

If you see a problem area this afternoon or tomorrow morning (or a well-cleared area next to a large institution, city property or federal park you want to single out for praise), take a picture and send it to I'll do a roundup of praise and shame for shoveling.

The National Park Service, embassies, and surface parking lot operators have often left very large areas unshoveled. Sometimes bike lanes don't get plowed even when the adjacent streets do.

DC's snow-clearing agencies, DDOT and DPW, announced this year that unlike in the past, they are going to work to clear the pedestrian ways on facilities like bridges. Those have been a real problem in past snows, and not just the long bridges over rivers or Rock Creek; overpasses like Q Street and Connecticut Avenue, or Massachusetts Avenue or North Capitol Street and so on, are also the city's responsibility. After the much smaller snow earlier this month, indeed the city seems to have cleared those well, or at least for the ones I saw.

After the last snow, when I took our baby for a walk to the Shaw library 2 days later, almost every sidewalk was clear (including around the library), with the notable exception of the entire, long sidewalk around Garrison Elementary. DCPS was on winter break, but it would make sense for the city to coordinate snow removal around all its facilities, since parents and children (and people with disabilities and able-bodied adults) need to walk near schools when school is out just the same.

Another parent struggles to push a stroller on Vermont Avenue, NW on January 4. Photo by the author.

How's it looking out there now?

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