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In your highly laudatory story on Delabian Rice-Thurston and Parents United (“Raising the Roof,” 9/19), Maudine Cooper, head of the august Greater Washington Urban League and a member of the Emergency Transitional Board of Trustees (ETEBOT), is quoted as saying, “Who does she purport to represent?…She’s out there arguing for the interests of Ward 3, which is all that Parents United represents.” Cooper’s is an interesting and oft-cited criticism of the organization.
Since its inception, Parents United has advocated across the city on behalf of smaller class size, safe schools, better teachers, a longer school day, nurses for every school, higher pay for teachers and principals, full funding for the school budget, more stringent academic standards, the use of trainers for all high-impact sports, more accurate and substantial teacher and principal evaluations, a reduced central administration, and expanded classroom teaching corps, just to name a few items. It’s impossible for me to comprehend how some but not all students would benefit from these reforms.
Now, Cooper’s criticismthese perks are for Ward 3 schools onlyimplies that only the Ward 3 students deserve the benefits of Parents United’s advocacy and that students in all the other wards really don’t need better teachers, better books, a longer instructional day, more money, higher standards, nursing care, trainers, and, most important, clean and safe schools, as well as all the other reforms proposed by Parents United. Only Ward 3 students deserve those.
Obviously, Cooper cannot believe that, so either she is sadly misinformed about the conditions of this city’s schools or she’s pandering. Either case should render her continued tenure on the ETEBOT problematic and her particular line of criticism baseless.