“Robert White will defend our children’s futures. He will do this by working with parents, teachers, administrators, and communities to strengthen schools in every neighborhood and champion wrap-around solutions that lift up our children and stabilize families.”
On the Big Picture: The problems we face in the District, particularly related to education, have grown more complicated, not less. This is due to a failure in leadership and a vision too narrow.
Typically, people with narrow perspectives believe that education is something that starts and ends at the school door. Because of this, they decide that it is easier to blame administrators and teachers than it is to address chronic, systematic issues. I’m not one of those people. I will work with all stakeholders on what happens both inside and outside of the schools. To be a true proponent for children, the At-Large Councilman must have an all-encompassing perspective, which has been lacking in recent years.
My campaign has spent a lot of time talking about the two DCs: one that is economically advantaged and largely white, and one that is economically disadvantaged and significantly black. I want to bridge that divide and pull the two DCs together so that ALL Washingtonians see the benefits of the city’s increasing prosperity. That is what my campaign is about and improving schools is a key component of my plan.
On the Achievement Gap: If we want to shrink DC’s growing achievement gap, we have to work as a team. This starts by recognizing how necessary job training, affordable housing, transportation solutions, and universal childcare are in order to help families. Stable households are a big part of what half of the city has and what the other half needs. This disparity contributes significantly to why some schools excel and others struggle. For too many children, the dice are cast before they even start school. If we want to see progress, we need to ensure that each child is ready to begin the hard work of earning an education when they walk through the door. If they are not prepared to learn, then our most challenged schools are simply oversized day care centers.
On Title I and At-Risk Funding: The fact that funds set aside for at-risk kids are not getting to the students who are most at risk is a crime. On the Council, I will take on the tough fights and force our school system to spend these funds as the law requires. I will also make this fight public so that residents understand that students who are supposed to receive increased financial and educational resources are not getting them.
On Standardized Testing: We need an objective standard to evaluate student progress. On a larger level, standardized testing allows us to assess whole schools, and we can contrast schools and school districts. We need data to understand what is happening and to make informed choices as parents. I will improve our testing so that our kids are spending more time learning, not preparing for tests. I am an advocate for student growth models because it is a more accurate tool to help students and to assess teachers’ performance.