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Friday Guest Column: Local DC Activists Protest Chancellor’s Choice of Independent Evaluators To City Council

May 30, 2008 1 min read

May 29, 2008

Dear Chairman Gray,

We are deeply disturbed at the Mayor’s choice of Frederick Hess and Kenneth Wong as unbiased, independent judges of the city’s public school reform.

Mr. Hess can hardly be considered independent and unbiased, when he has already publicly praised the Chancellor’s reform efforts, in an op-ed in the Washington Post in September, and when the Chancellor wrote a glowing review for Mr. Hess’s publisher to use to promote one of his books.

In addition, as you know Mr. Hess is the director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) - a neo-conservative think tank that has served as the ideological kitchen for the Bush Administration and helped shift resources from social services to war and profits for corporations. AEI is the think tank that funded projects such as The Bell Curve, by AEI scholar Charles Murray, which caused outrage
around the nation because of its racist conclusions that blacks are of inferior intelligence to whites and Asians, and The End of Racism, by Dinesh D’Souza, which declared that racism in the U.S. has ended and that the days of affirmative action are over. We should not be hiring such an institution’s directors to judge the success of our school reform efforts.

Kenneth Wong, the Mayor’s other recommended evaluator, is also a flawed choice, as he has written a book praising mayoral school takeovers.

We are aware of your concerns about the choices made by the Mayor and we appreciate your vigilance around this matter, but we wanted to make sure that you have all the information you need about these recommended evaluators.

Sincerely yours,

Lee Glazer, Ward 6, DCPS parent, co-founder, Save Our Schools

Zein Elamine, Ward 1

Marc Borbely, FixOurSchools.net

Gina Arlotto, Ward 6, DCPS parent, co-founder, Save Our Schools

Cherita Whiting, Ward 4 Education Council, McKinley Tech PTA President,
DCPT Board of Directors

LeRoy Hall, Ward 5

Andrea Rosen, Ward 4

David Schwartzman, DC Statehood Green Party, Tax & Budget Council,
Candidate for At Large Council Seat

Kathryn Pearson-West, Ward 5

Emily Washington, Ward 7

Crystal Sylvia, Ward 4, DCPS Social Worker

Jenefer Ellingston, DC Statehood Green Party

Debby Hanrahan, former DCPS parent (former LSRT member, Ross Elementary
School)

John Hanrahan (former DCPS parent)

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