We’ve been to the edge of the cliff many times in the past few years. It looks like this might be the time that we finally stumble over it. We are about half-a-day from a federal government shutdown and Stephen Fuller is sounding the alarm for what that would mean for our region. He says that most of the country won’t notice the shutdown unless it lasts for weeks. For our region, however, he says it would be a “tsunami” (WaPo, 9/30):
The Washington region, home to the largest concentration of federal workers and contractors in the nation, could lose an estimated $200 million a day and could see more than 700,000 jobs take a financial hit if the federal government shuts down Monday night, according to [Fuller].
In addition to the economic impact, area residents could also see cuts in federal services: no new applications for benefits such as Medicare, Social Security and child-care subsidies, no new housing or small-business loans, no new clinical trials for research funded by the National Institutes of Health and a murky prognosis for the safety net for those most in need.
Related: Washingtonians worry about impact of looming government shutdown (WaPo, 9/30)
– DCPS has released the results of its evaluations of the system’s principals. They are terrible. Half of the city’s principals were ranked as “developing,” which is only one step up from “ineffective.” Another eight percent were actually labeled “ineffective.” The head of the principals union offered this reaction to the data (WaPo, 9/30):
If you have 50 percent in ‘developing,’ you know something is wrong with the evaluation tool…It’s not fair. It’s not equal. These people are not failures. They’re doing outstanding work every day.
– Opinion: On a similar subject, the Post ran an insightful op-ed from a Virginia teacher of 43 years on his experiences of public school reform failure. (WaPo, 9/27)
– D.C. officials’ choice allowed math tests to show gain (WaPo, 9/30) A school conspiracy? Better call Encyclopedia Brown.
MENTAL HEALTH | The sting of violent tragedies like the Navy Yard shooting hurts so much more when you hear that they could have been prevented. Over the weekend, 60 Minutes did a segment on the failures of our mental health system and how these failures put the public in imminent danger. (CBS, 9/29)
Related: Following the shooting, Tamara reflected on philanthropy’s role in mental health reform. (Daily, 9/18)
HEALTH | Affordable Care Act could lead to doctor shortage (WTOP, 9/30)
PHILANTHROPY | A new report from the Council on Foundations and Common Fund finds that endowments at private foundations grew 12 percent last year, up from a puny one percent the year before. (Chronicle, 9/30)
NONPROFITS | Opinion: Bill Shore, founder of Share Our Strength, says that amid efforts to improve the effectiveness of nonprofits, we frequently forget to ask, “What is success?” (Chronicle, 9/25)
TRANSIT | The District is starting its study of a third streetcar line. If current trends hold, they would lay the tracks in the next few years and then not use them until sometime in 2099. (WAMU, 9/30)
It’s hard to say what will happen in Congress. If I had to bet, I’d guess that the shutdown will be averted with a very short term spending bill – maybe a week long or so. I’m so confident in this guess that I’d be willing to bet a penny (which is worth less than it cost to make).
On a lighter note, how do you feel about Willie Nelson? I’m a fan and I’ve been to a few shows. They’re fun. But they have never been fun enough to warrant dancing like this!