D.C. education reform: A regional concern

By Tamara Lucas Copeland

The region’s children are all now back in school… and Washington Grantmakers is preparing to join them. We have three teams of members getting ready for the DC Voice community audit, as part of the learning agenda of our Public Education Working Group in collaboration with the Community Foundation.

Why, as a regional association, are we currently focusing our efforts on D.C. schools?

1) Need – As the Gates Foundation’s Joe Scantlebury said at our briefing earlier this year, while some school systems in the region are working on the gravy, D.C. doesn’t have the meat and potatoes on the plate yet.

2) Momentum – The planets seem to be aligning for D.C. education reform. Our Public Education Working Group is working to take advantage of the momentum, coordinating with grantmakers, the city, and other stakeholders, to maximize our impact.

3) We are one region. Quality education, or the lack thereof, has major implications for economic growth, workforce, crime, and health care. Problems in those areas are never constrained by lines on a map. That’s why all of us have a stake in making sure Mayor Fenty’s and Chancellor Rhee’s reforms are successful.

All Washington Grantmakers members, including foundation and corporate giving programs, are invited to join the Public Education Working Group effort to make sure that all of the region’s children get a quality education. There are still a couple of spaces open for our Sept. 12 community audit training.

Best always,