City Paper Widget

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

David Catania on Education at ANC1B

DC City Councilmember and possible mayoral candidate David Catania addressed a meeting of ANC1B about the Council's Education Committee on December 5.

Catania at ANC1B December 5
Catania touted the achievements of the committee, which he has been chair of since January. He said he is still pursuing his goal to visit every school personally. So far he has visited 102 schools, he said.

Other achievements of the Education Committee included measures to promote test integrity and reduce truancy, Catania said.

Catania also said he was pleased about the passage of a bill ending the practice of social promotion in D.C. schools. Previously, he said, D.C. could only hold students back in the third, fifth, and eighth grades. As a result, when students got to high school level and had to take standardized test, one-third of ninth grade students failed. In ending the practice of social promotion, Catania said, he had returned responsibility for promotions to the teachers.

Another bill Catania explained was his attempt to get more city education funds directed towards at-risk students. He said the new funding system measures to what extent students are at risk and rewards increased funding based on how dire the at-risk student's circumstances were.

During a short Q-and-A session, a member of the audience asked, "What are you doing to keep me here?"

By this, the audience member meant that many D.C. parents enrolled their children in public elementary schools, but felt the need to move their families to the suburbs in time for their children to attend middle school.

He said the DC education system was "designed to defeat itself", because it does not support middle schools. Catania told an anecdote about middle-school students who preferred to travel across the city to one of the few adequate middle schools than go to an inadequate middle school that is across the street from their homes.

Improving D.C.'s middle schools was also the subject of a contentious Education Committee hearing earlier this month.

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