Tuesday, July 8

DC TUESDAY

Wash Post Deputy chancellor Kaya Henderson said the staff turned over every rock, scouring test scores of schools in other big city systems, looking for dramatic upward spikes and seeking out the principal. They eyed local principal-of-the-year awards programs. "Not just the winners, but everyone that got nominated," Henderson said.

The wide net didn't return much. About two-thirds of the more than 700 applicants were from the surrounding suburbs or already working for the school system, according to figures provided by the chancellor's office. It's not a surprising result. The city offers no relocation assistance to principals, according to application information on the D.C. schools Web site. And as "at will" employees, there is no guarantee that a job would last for more than a year.

So the principals class of 2008-09, which officially began work last week, looks decidedly local. . . They enter a school system churning with change on an unprecedented scale. Some school advocates say Rhee took far too long to complete her hiring, which diminished the pool of quality candidates and placed those who got the jobs in a difficult position. With less than two months before classes begin, they said, there is simply not enough time to prepare for the turbulence.

Countersignature Of course, if you were a high-performing principal in a good situation in your own district, would you really want to come to a system where the chancellor appears to be offering no job security even for employees who do good jobs? Would you trade a system of checks and balances for an imperial chancellory, where courtiers curry favor and your employment prospects hinge on who you know rather than how you perform? Probably not. And it's not as if Rhee doesn't know better. Her old organization, the New Teacher Project, actually put out a policy paper on principal hiring. Apparently Rhee didn't bother to read it.

Eavesdrop DC Outside of Dept. of Agriculture, two men, 30s, business suits, walking swiftly. . . Guy 1: "...OF COURSE you have a personality...can't you hear it when you speak?"

Howard Kurtz, Wash Post - [New Post editor] Brauchli's challenge is particularly acute because he has never lived in Washington, a capital with a unique culture and customs, and has not dealt with local news during his nearly quarter-century at the Journal, a national publication which is based in New York but has no metro section.

Letter from the DC Taxi Commission received by Meredith Manning - Good Morning Ms. Manning: This will acknowledge receipt of your letter alleging that, on 5/5/08 at approximately 6:30 p.m. the driver of H61156 committed the following act: hit you from behind with his passenger mirror. While the District of Columbia Taxicab Commission is deeply concerned about drivers who fail to conduct themselves in an orderly manner or who pose a risk to public safety because of erratic or unsafe acts while operating their vehicle, we can only take disciplinary action against a driver for conduct that is in violation of the rules set forth in Title 31 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (‘Taxicabs and Public Vehicles for Hire'). Unfortunately, the conduct that you describe does not constitute a violation of those rules. It falls under the jurisdiction of moving and parking violations governed by Title 18. As a result, we have no choice but to dismiss your complaint pursuant to Title 31 DCMR 701.12. "We will, however, keep a record of this complaint and a copy of the driver's response, if any, in his file and it will be reviewed, along with any other complaints involving this driver, and will be taken into consideration in advance of any request by the driver to renew or extend his privilege to operate a taxicab in the District of Columbia. On behalf of the Commission, thank you for taking the time to contact us about this incident. Your continued vigilance provides us with invaluable assistance as we strive to improve the standards associated with driver training and customer service. Sincerely, S. Laster, Office Manager, DC Taxicab Commission

DC Examiner D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier is shaking up her command staff again, dropping her top anti-terrorism officer and replacing a commander whom she elevated barely three months ago, The Examiner has learned. The overhaul, expected to be announced later this week, removes Robert Crane, commander of special operations and homeland security. Also being replaced is Mark Carter of the 2nd Police District, who was put in his slot in April.. . Carter is expected to be replaced by Christopher LoJacono, the former leader of the police's mobile crime squad. LoJacono was ousted after a series of disputes over the pace of D.C.'s floundering DNA program. . . It's not clear who will replace Crane, but speculation in the department has it that Lanier is eyeing Hilton Burton, a former commander of the 4th District who was pushed out after it emerged he was sending lurid e-mails to a girlfriend on his government-issued computer. Carter was elevated to command in the 2nd District in April. He replaced the popular Andrew Solberg. Neighbors expressed surprise Carter was gone after such a short tenure, but said he had gotten off to a rough start when he ended dedicated foot patrols in the wealthy Northwest neighborhoods his district guards.

To get a grasp on the story that follows, imagine if your computer was shut down for three weeks..

Bill Turque, Washington Post - In the midst of its busiest summer in memory, DCPS is shutting down its main computer system for three weeks, starting tomorrow. Erin McGoldrick, Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's data chief, said the system, called D.C. Stars, is routinely taken off line in the summer for maintenance and upgrades. Last year, she said, it was down for two weeks. But with concerns about declining enrollment, dozens of schools undergoing extensive renovation, others facing staff and program changes mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind law and a new labor contract being hammered out, this is no routine summer for DCPS. It's made some officials a tad anxious. Then there's D.C. Stars itself, which has had a less than stellar history. Installed at a cost of $10 million in 2005 to bring the school system's handling of information on basics such as attendance, grades and graduation rates into the 21st century, it was plagued by early glitches. Some students were assigned courses they'd already taken, others got no schedules at all.

The District Duce is dissin' the city council again, this time with AG Pater Nickles failing to show up for the hearing on gun control legislation and not even sending anyone in his place. Chief Lanieer also igged the meeting, sending a deputy.

DC VIEWS

Charles T. Cureton, DC Watch Are these people who desire to take away our rights to own a gun as affirmed by the US Supreme Court losing their minds or are they just plain ignorant? Do they not realize that criminals do not apply for a gun permit or go to a legal, licensed firearms dealer to acquire the guns they commit their crimes of robbery, murder, rape, and other crimes?

Harold Foster, Petworth, DC Watch - During the thirty-two years that I and a number of other city residents suffered through the silly regulatory overkill of the DC handgun ban, I personally came to know of fifty otherwise law-biding, taxpaying District residents who knowingly kept handguns in their homes or businesses in violation of the ban. . . I thought of those fifty "criminals" when I read the essence of the Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller. These were solid citizens who. . . were exactly who the Founders had in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment to make clear that, yes, individuals in this country had a right (not an obligation, mind you) to keep and bear arms. Within some reasonable regulatory limits that could be, and still can be, set for the greater good of civic society as a whole.

Paul Wilson, DC Watch Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that the limited possession of firearms for self-defense in one's home is a constitutionally protected right (at least in DC), this is a great opportunity for a teaching moment. All those who believe that the lawful, private possession of firearms inevitably leads to more gun violence may henceforth post large, prominent signs on their property announcing to all passersby that said property is a "gun-free zone." It would be a great opportunity to put one's money where one's mouth is. I would even approve of having the signs made at taxpayer expense, and of course there would be no waiting period or background check required for a sign.

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