As GM has written been covering, the Deputy Mayor for Education, Jennie Niles, is dead-set on sending Hyde-Addison school children to Meyer Elementary for two years during the school’s planned renovations. The primary complaints about using that building relate to its location: it’s about 4 miles away across the heart of the city and will cost children hundreds of hours of time every year traveling on a bus from the Hyde-Addison campus. But a video released in September calls into question the quality of the Meyer building as well.
Currently the students of Duke Ellington School for the Arts (DESA) attend the classes at Meyer while their campus is being renovated (to the tune of roughly a quarter billion dollars). At a conference run by the education non-profit XQ America, DESA students challenged the DCPS Chancellor, Kaya Henderson (who has since stepped down), over the state of their temporary location.
The video is located here and the relevant section starts at 46:00. Katie, a DESA student, asked Chancellor Henderson the following:
I go to Duke Ellington School for the Arts…our two buildings [Meyer] are falling apart. They’re dirty. A ceiling collapsed. Twice. A woman fell through the floors and we’re still in this building. Innovation in the other schools is amazing but what about the schools that you already have?
Henderson blames the problem on 40 years of deferred maintenance and the difficulty in catching up to the needs. But they key part of her response is this:
So what we’re trying to get you out of the old buildings and into the new. Right? We’re doing that a quickly as we can given our stock of buildings. Now there are politics around who’s building what and how much it costs and all of that jazz. And we try to stay out of that.
It’s important to understand here that the school building that DM Jennie Niles is insisting Hyde-Addison children attend is dirty and falling apart (in the words of a current student) and “old” in the words of the previous DCPS chancellor.
DESA students are upset enough with the state of Meyer to pack a education conference to demand answers from Chancellor Henderson.
And this is the school DM Jennie Niles is insisting that Hyde-Addison children attend for two years while refusing to explore creative local options.