THE BARRAS REPORT: JUMPING HURDLES, HOLDING DREAMS

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THE BARRAS REPORT: JUMPING HURDLES, HOLDING DREAMS

MIDWAY my recent breakfast conversation with Kenneil Cole, a 21 year-old, District of Columbia Ward 8 resident, my mind fills with questions: Will he realize his dream of becoming a lawyer? Will he end up like some members of his family and several friends: face down with a bullet in his body, encircled by yellow police crime tape?

The narrative Cole unspools defies his clean-shaven, tie-and-shirt image. “Since 2000, I have seen in my neighborhood about 29 murders,” he says. “A guy got killed with an AK in his hand in 2005 right in front of me.”

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Educational Reform Recast

The DC Council Committee on Education and Libraries held a roundtable earlier this summer on the independent evaluation of the city’s eight-year-old school reform. During that session DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson looked around at other government witnesses, wondering who would respond to Chairman David Grosso’s question. “I guess I better answer that one,” Henderson finally said. “I’ve been here the longest.” Next to her in seniority may be Scott Pearson, the executive director of the DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB), who was hired in 2012. The city’s education politburo consists mostly of newbies, however. State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang, Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer “Jennie” Niles, and even Councilmember Grosso (I At-large) have held their respective leadership positions only since January. CLICK THE HEADLINE TO READ MORE

THE GIFT: An Interactive Arts Healing and Reconciliation Experience

REGISTER NOW for THE GIFT. Seating is limited. Oct. 20, 2015, from 5:30 pm through 8:00 pm at the Frank Reeves Center-14th and U Sts. NW, Washington, D.C., You won’t want to this this powerful program, designed to bring healing to those suffering or who have suffered a traumatic loss. Presented by Esther Productions, Inc. and jonetta rose barras, the ultimate intent is to bring participants closer to self-reconciliation, greater self-appreciation, self-love and forgiveness, diminishing potential violence against themselves and others.

Call 202-829-0591 or write to estherproductionsinc@gmail.com for more information and to reserve your space.

Justice Denied in Washington,D.C.

By Dave Oberting

I was born into a middle-class Midwestern family. Both my parents were teachers. The neighborhoods I grew up in were safe and secure. I spent twelve years in Catholic schools; they weren’t great schools, but they were safe. There was also never any doubt that I would be going to college. And most importantly, there was never any doubt that there would be a good white-collar job waiting for me. And here’s the key to this whole story — I took it all for granted. It was an entitlement. It was the definition of the American dream and it was mine by right. CLICK THE HEADLINE TO READ MORE

THE BARRAS REPORT

HOW many other children are put in harms way each day because of neglectful parents or a cavalier government agency—sometimes both? Far too many, is the conclusion TBR has reached.

Consider seven year-old James,* whose well-being and safety the District of Columbia government, including the Child and Family Services Agency and the D.C. Superior Court, seemed to have given little regard, when it allowed his mother, Ismahan Elmoge, to swap custody with a neighbor, Christina Dinkins. That swap occurred without notification to the father, and as other relatives pleaded to have the opportunity to care for James. His story reveals indisputable and dangerous gaps within D.C.’s child welfare system.