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August 24: Fenty Wins One

Today’s Event: D.C. and nine other states win the “Race To The Top” contest for federal education funding.  This is a bigger deal than any straw poll, especially a Ward 5 straw poll where voters are still confused over Michael Brown. This is a huge victory for Fenty—one that only helps solidify the mayor’s standing on his best issue.

Influence: Big. I don’t have any school-aged kids. I learned that school started from status updates on Facebook.But last night, I did think about Fenty’s approach to schools and how his administration had managed to not turn the first day of school into a series of nightmares. There are no longer delays in school openings, no reports of kids waiting for weeks to get class schedules, or textbooks sitting in a warehouse. I don’t get to report stories like this one about Ballou anymore or stories about good schools not getting the support they need. Now comes this: our big city mayor winning federal dollars over a lot of other big-time school districts. Fenty and Co. beat out bids from California, Colorado, Illinois, and other progressive-minded school systems.

Net impact: Lean Fenty.

But: The District has bombed on the Feds’ other metric. WaPo‘s Bill Turque reports that last year only 34 of the District’s 123 public schools made “adequate yearly progress” under the federal No Child Left Behind Law.