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Bowser nixes June education debate organized by FOCUS

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The local charter movement is awash with questions regarding the future of public policies regarding their school system. For example, will surplus DCPS buildings continue to be turned over to them? Will the next Administration adhere to the recommendations of the Advocacy Study or start from scratch regarding funding inequities between charters and the traditional schools? Will the new Mayor impose a neighborhood preference regarding enrollment? Will the facility allotment increase for the first time in years as proposed in Mr. Gray's budget or will it remain at $3,000 per student each term? Will Kaya Henderson, who is charter school friendly, remain in her job as Chancellor or be replaced? Most importantly, is there any possibility that D.C. will follow New York state's lead in guaranteeing charters permanent homes?

Therefore, it would be nice to hear Miss Bowser's and Mr. Catania's positions on these and other matters. So Friends of Choice in Urban Schools invited the two major Mayoral candidates to debate these issues sometime in June. Only one problem, Councilwoman Bowser turned them down.

Apparently, her campaign has said that they will wait until Councilman Catania is officially the independent candidate for office. The sparring will therefore not occur before August 6th, according to the Washington Post's Mike DeBonis, which is the deadline for ballot petitions, or until the first part of September when the end is reached for petition challenges.

Miss Bowser's campaign manager Bo Shuff stated to Mr. DeBonis that she is following the same process adhered to during the Democratic primary. But the Post reporter revealed that Miss Bowser actually participated in a candidate debate shortly before the petition deadline was reached. In any case, there are so many important concerns at the forefront of public education we should get an opportunity to compare and contrast the opinions of these two individuals as soon as possible. It always takes longer than might be expected for voters to become acquainted with the viewpoints of those running.

Let's hope Miss Bowser changes her mind and allows the education debate to proceed in June.



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