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Teachers and Students Walkout: Call Bullshit on Apartheid Schools in the Nation’s Capital

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“The realization of common opportunities for all within a single society… will require a commitment to national action – compassionate, massive, and sustained, backed by the resources of the most powerful and richest nation on this earth.” – Report from The Kerner Commission, February 29, 1968

On Wednesday, teachers and students at Anacostia Senior High School in Southeast D.C. walked out to protest the facility’s poor conditions. Teachers said the cafeteria is flooded, no breakfast was served to students, there’s no running water, and bathrooms are broken, so some students were told to use bathrooms in a building three blocks away.

The need for this walkout exemplifies how the district has failed black neighborhoods and their schools. As one student told The Washington Post, “If it was any other school in the District, they would have closed school. That’s unsanitary.”

It didn’t have to end up this way. Fifty years ago, the Kerner Commission—appointed by President Johnson after a wave of civil unrest had rocked the country—offered the nation tough medicine on the best ways to resolve racial injustice. The 426-page document was a best seller, full of specific suggestions to break up residential segregation and increase black employment. But Johnson largely ignored his commission: Fifty years later, much of the work remains undone, especially in education. Despite a plethora of evidence about the benefits of integration, U.S. education reformers have not prioritized it.

Washington, D.C.’s public school system is just one example of how the impacts of racial segregation in our schools have been ignored. Not long ago, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) was among the country’s lowest-performing districts. In 2011, just 58 percent of students graduated on time. Over the past decade, district and city leaders began an aggressive effort to improve the schools. The heart of this strategy was revamping the human capital system, and the district put in place new strategies to recruit, retain, train, and compensate teachers and leaders. They overhauled the salary structure to dramatically increase starting and mid-career salaries, and they provided strong financial incentives to high-performing teachers who chose to teach in schools serving low-income students. Today, a high-performing teacher at a high-poverty school in DCPS can earn over $130,000.

The district also implemented high-quality, free, universal pre-school and pre-kindergarten throughout the city. They implemented higher academic standards and embraced an annual test aligned to those standards. And they invested millions of dollars in renovating school facilities. The city also tripled the size of its charter sector (from 13 percent of enrollment in 2001 to 44.5 percent in 2016) and designed a unified system that families could use to enroll their children in both district or charter schools. In the years since, DCPS has seen rapid gains on National Assessment of Education Progress scores, earning it the reputation as the nation’s fastest-improvingurban district.

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Anacostia Homes

DC’s hottest areas are also some of its most impoverished

Urban Marketing Group Staff

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A NOAA researcher is concerned for some of DC’s poorest now that the results are in from a D.C. heat study. He and a group of citizen scientists surveyed the District’s “Heat Islands” last August and they match up with some of DC’s poorest neighborhoods.

WASHINGTON — In August, a team of citizen scientists mapped-out which DC neighborhoods are most dangerously hot when temperatures rise, and after examining the results, they’re concerned for DC’s poorest residents.

After hours of mapping-out more than 75,000 temperature data points, the result is a district heat map showing Washington, D.C.’s Urban Heat Island EffectThe date surveyed was August 28, 2018.

The citizen scientists drove the same route (aka traverse) three different times the day they measured.

They found a striking temperature difference between certain parts of town.

Most of Northwest D.C. stayed in the 84-94 degree zone.

On the other side, a large swath of Northeast, the National Mall area and parts of Southeast, like Anacostia, hit 94–102-degrees.

David Herring says one of the most surprising and significant finding was the potential 17-degree temperature difference.

“It might be 86 degrees in one part of the city, it could be as hot as 103 degrees in other parts of the city during exactly the same time,” said Herring.

 

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Bring a Resume

Urban Marketing Group Staff

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Letter from the Mayor

Dear Washingtonians,

Washington, DC is a growing city. From sports and entertainment to museums and restaurants, we are a city that has something for everyone—a place where you can walk to work or take the train, hike through Rock Creek Park or ride your bike along the waterfront. We’re a leader in tech and innovation. A city where aspiring entrepreneurs can start and grow small and local businesses.

As DC grows, my Administration is focused on ensuring all residents, in every neighborhood, get a fair shot and an opportunity to participate in our city’s prosperity. And we’re always looking for more people to join us in this work.

Want to learn more about joining our team? On Monday, October 22, join me at my Administration’s Fall 2018 Resume Raiser. Meet members of my team and learn more about volunteer and career opportunities at DC Government. Learn more and RSVP HERE.

No job or idea is too big or too small for DC Government—we function as a city, a state, and a county. From fixing potholes to fighting for statehood, we do it all. Join us.

Sincerely,

Muriel Bowser

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Jazz in the Park | Sunday, October 21

Urban Marketing Group Staff

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