Community Rallies against More School Closings
Dorothy Rowley | , WI Staff Writer | 9/26/2012, 5:59 p.m.
Deboragh Bennett, 48 of Northeast, has two grandchildren who attend Spingarn Senior High School in Ward 5. She fears the school will be shuttered to make way for a new wave of students who may be moving to the community with their parents.
"They're doing all this [renovation] on H Street and it looks like a lot of new well-to-do [residents] are coming in. If they close Spingarn, Phelps [Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School], will obviously be attractive to these new students," Bennett said. "I'm concerned not just for my grandchildren, but for other kids growing up in the neighborhood who would look forward to going to Spingarn."
In a letter addressed to Wright, retired teacher Erich Martel questioned the validity of the IFF study, saying it's flawed and ignores the role of management policies aligned with DCPS initiatives.
In addition to the "absence of analyses of poor student performance, [the study] failed to require a full investigation into allegations of cheating and budget changes," Martel wrote.
Wright said in a statement that the report "does not call for the closure" of DCPS schools "or recommends transforming those schools into charter schools."
Rather, the report provides objective and very valuable information about neighborhoods in the city where we are not providing adequate highquality public education opportunities, Wright said.
Meanwhile, members of Empower DC, a grassroots community-based organization that has rallied against the IFF recommendations, maintained during Gray's One City Citizens' Summit earlier this year that if the community believes test scores are the only criteria for determining whether a school should remain open, is irrelevant.
Mary Filardo, executive director for the 21st Century School Fund in Northwest, said her organization has been engaged by DCPS to help with input from the community.
"Right now, we're in the research data analysis stage, and kind of planning the community engagement process and pulling together an advisory committee," Filardo said. "It's not just a problem that some of the schools have been losing enrollment, but it's also an issue for the District, which will also be looking at the schools that are crowded."