May 25, 2006


"Education Becoming Top Issue For D.C.," says the WaPo.

But DC has done very well over the past 20 years, reviving and gentrifying, without fixing its school problem. The trend probably will continue too, if nothing changes. There are plenty of flush empty-nesters, young professionals and gays who are ready to ride the next wave of revitalization.

Yet a great city it will never be without a strong backbone of middle-income families that send their children to public school. Raising a family in DC is a commitment to urban life that no amount of upscale retail, cool entertainment zones or office canyons can equal. If there is a problem, the commuter says: "I'll be out of here in an hour," the 20-something with no family says: "I'll be out of here in a decade," but the family man says "Fix that pothole" because my kid or spouse with kid could fall into it. Familes committed to the city have no choice but to try to correct the wrongs and make the good better.

And for real estate, vast swaths of the Northwest, Northeast and Southeast would become more valuable by multiples of two and three, if the school system could be counted on to educate its children well.

The public school system is our weakest link. Fixing it is our path to greatness.

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