Small improvements for D.C. schools

The first formal assessment of the D.C. public school system since 2007, conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, finds that the schools have improved slightly since falling under mayoral control. Despite some new initiatives, challenges and disparities within the system remain. (WAMU, 6/3)

Though test scores have inched up and enrollment declines have been reversed, a new assessment of the District’s public school system finds that coordination between traditional public schools and public charter schools is lacking, comprehensive data on schools is hard to come by and even harder to compare, and disparities still exist in the quality of options available to students across the city.


“[B]lack and Hispanic students, those with disabilities, those eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, and English-language learners are much more likely to be in the lowest performance categories than other students,” says the report. “Some improvement is evident since 2009, but more than half of these students still score below proficient.”

Additionally, the city’s graduation rate – 59 percent in DCPS and 69 percent in charter schools in 2014 – remains “disturbingly low,” says the report.

– Opinion: Getting D.C.’s summer youth jobs program right (WaPo, 6/2)

The Washington Post takes a look at policies and programs geared specifically toward young men of color, and examines why they remain so important for the future of the economy. (WaPo, 6/3)

– A new study examines the disparities in hours and wages that exist among retail workers of color within the ever-growing industry. Racial bias in the retail sector has led advocates for the Black Lives Matter and Fight for 15 campaigns to come together in support of one another. (Salon, 6/2)

AGING/PHILANTHROPY | Opinion: People are living longer than ever before. With so many baby boomers set to enter retirement age, is there enough being done to add quality to the quantity of years in their lives? One writer thinks philanthropy should ramp up support for an aging population (WSJ, 5/31):

Of 35 grants made by the federal government’s Social Innovation Fund since 2010, only one has directly targeted aging. Philanthropy isn’t doing any better. According to data from the Foundation Center, less than 2% of foundation money – often a powerful lever for social innovation – goes into aging.

GENDER EQUALITY | Same Education, Different Pay (EPI, 6/3)

Have you read any good books lately? Apparently, many of you have! Amazon recently ranked Washington residents as number five on a list of the Most Well-Read Cities.  

– Ciara