Democratic mayoral nominee Adrian Fenty assured Capitol Hill parents and teachers Wednesday that he’d hold himself accountable for the District’s public schools if he goes through with a takeover of the system.
Fenty, who is widely expected to be elected Tuesday, met with parents and teachers at Brent and J.O. Wilson elementary schools and Stuart-Hobson Middle School.
"The end game isn’t to change the structure," Fenty said of a potential schools takeover. "The end game is to fix the schools."
Fenty was joined on his trip by Board of Education Ward 5 and 6 representative Tommy Wells, a Democratic candidate for the Ward 6 City Council seat.
Wells said the idea of the brief tours was to show Fenty what worked and what didn’t.
Bessie Thibodeaux-Belcher, who has a 4-year-old at Brent, was skeptical of a DCPS takeover, adding that some children in other areas suffer because of a lack of options while other schools prosper because they are in wealthy communities. Brent is located in an affluent area of Ward 6, not far from the U.S. Capitol.
"This is a system that has failed for years and you ask us to buy into it?," Thibodeaux-Belcher asked. "No way."
At Stuart-Hobson, parents and teachers told Fenty that empowering parents and community confidence helped their school succeed.
The problem for some schools is that they lack the proper tools, Catherine Townsend, a parent in charge of fundraising for Stuart-Hobson said.
"A lot of them don’t know how to organize a [Parent Teacher Association]," Townsend said.
But Barbara Reihle, a Hobson parent, said she disagreed with a takeover. Reihle, a Republican, said she was unsure if she would vote for Fenty because of his takeover idea.
"It doesn’t help for a mayor to say, ‘Everything is wrong with the schools, I have to take them over.’ "email@example.com