Oct 31, 2011

More DCPS School Closings On The Horizon!


        Did you know that the Deputy Mayor for Education (De’Shawn Wright) has hired a Chicago based firm to do a study on how DC neighborhoods are served by the public school system ? (traditional, public and charter)

      The information found by this study will be used to make a case to close schools in the District and/or to turn them over to National Charter School Managers

        This study will be looking at school’s test scores to determine if a school is “performing” or not.  They will not take into consideration other ways that a school is excelling for its students, parents and community

        The numbers below reflect the number of “under performing DCPS schools” by Ward
       Ward 1 = 8 schools, Ward 2 = 3 schools, Ward 3 = 0 schools, Ward 4 = 11 schools, Ward 5 = 11 schools, Ward 6 = 11 schools,
Ward 7 = 20 schools, Ward 8 = 20 schools

You should be concerned about the possible impact to your school and community!

Please attend Thursday, November 3rd 
for an Empowerment Circle to:

        Inform yourself on what is going on with this study and school closures
       Learn and plan action steps you can take at your school
      Connect with other concerned parents and community members from around the city working against school closures

When – Thursday November 3, 2011
Where – Benning Road/Dorothy Height Library
3935 Benning Road, NE – Walking distance from Minnesota Ave. Metro (Orange line)
Time – 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Please RSVP to Daniel del Pielago – 202-234-9119 ext. 104 or

Feel free to distribute this information to your school and community!

Oct 22, 2011

Silencing Dissent

I had the pleasure of doing an  interview with DC journalist, Pete Tucker who writes the FightBack blog and covers local news stories the main stream media shys away from. We were streaming live from Occupy DC. I hope you will read his article (below) and check out my interview @ http://thefightback.org/   


Seven months after the membership of the Washington Teachers’ Union elected Candi Peterson general vice president, she was unceremoniously, and possibly illegally, removed from office at the behest of WTU President Nathan Saunders. “Our president basically colluded with the chancellor’s office to [get rid of me],” Peterson said yesterday in an interview with TheFightBack that was livestreamed from Occupy DC at McPherson Square on K Street.
As a matter of contract, District of Columbia Public Schools grants WTU presidents and vice presidents leaves of absence from their teaching positions, which allows them to serve full time in their capacity as elected union officials. But DCPS and Saunders revoked Peterson’s leave in a September memorandum, forcing her to return to the classroom.
Peterson has been a fierce critic of the so-called school reform carried out by former Chancellor Michelle Rhee and her number two, Kaya Henderson, who replaced Rhee as chancellor. “Kaya Henderson has every reason to want to silence me. So does Nathan Saunders, I guess,” said Peterson.
The official word on Peterson’s status remains ambiguous. In a Sept. 21 letter to WTU members, Saunders said that Peterson “was not fired, terminated, nor ousted.” This is hard to square with the fact that she’s no longer general vice president and she didn’t step down by choice.
Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander questioned DCPS’s role in Peterson’s removal in an Oct. 18 email to the chancellor. Henderson responded, “President Saunders no longer required the full-time services of Ms. Peterson and therefore no longer needed her to be on leave from DCPS.”
Peterson, like Saunders, was elected by the WTU membership, and therefore it’s unclear whether DCPS has the legal right to revoke her absence based on the wishes of the president.
At a crucial time for DCPS, with talk of layoffs and school closings once again circulating, a critical voice is missing. Ironically, the effort to silence Peterson is being led not by the anti-union Rhee/Henderson team, but by the WTU president.
Related Links:
The Washington Teacher