Wednesday, August 05, 2009

DC public schools

There's a public school about a five minute walk from my house that has had extensive renovations done to it and is scheduled to reopen later this month. These efforts largely stem from the fact that ten years ago it was named the worst building in the D.C. public school system. As my local free paper says:
At the time, bare wires hung from the ceiling, asbestos clung to the walls and lead paint coated the classrooms. The outdated heating system was even worse, said Adams Morgan resident Jeffrey Wilkes. "The building engineer would take a steel pipe and hit the gas valve" to turn it on, he said. "Anybody that has half a brain would look at that and say 'This isn't right.'"
So why has it taken so long to get the necessary repairs made? As the paper says:
...In 2001 officials selected architects for a wholesale modernization. In June 2004, the city closed the campus to prepare for construction. A few months later, students arrived at their interim school, K.C. Lewis at 300 Bryant St. NW. But nothing happened at the Adams Morgan school.

"They didn't do anything for two years, except make empty promises," said Adams Morgan advisory commissioner Nancy Shia, who organized demonstrations calling attention to the conditions there.

According to Wilkes, officials with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs said they had lost the plans for [the school]. "We just rolled our eyes," he said. "The system has been dysfunctional for a long time."
Unbelievable. But whatever you do, don't give the kids vouchers.

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