Councilmember David Grosso, Chairperson of the Committee on Education, today sent a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser requesting that former Mayor Anthony "Tony" Williams be removed as co-chair of the District of Columbia Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force over his vocal support and endorsement of Betsy DeVos as she sought Senate confirmation as the U.S. Secretary of Education in the Trump Administration.
The task force's mission is to produce "clear and fair recommendations on how to improve the coherence of public education in D.C. for parents and increase the collaboration across and among public schools...". Williams endorsement of a nominee who lacks a basic understanding of the laws that protect and who supports voucher programs, and his vocal support in a video recorded for DeVos of such a program that would undermine public education, is in conflict with that mission.
Historically in D.C., voucher programs have undermined the oversight, transparency, and accountability of our school choice system. As recently as five years ago, voucher dollars for charter schools paid for private tuition funded schools that were low-performing and not subject to quality controls.
Previously, Grosso had sent a letter to Deputy Mayor Niles urging a re-examination of Williams' fitness to serve on the task force given his endorsement. Deputy Mayor Niles responded stating that the concerns have been brought to the mayor. All three letters can be found below.
Read the letter to Mayor Bowser here:
Response letter from Deputy Mayor Niles to Councilmember Grosso:
Councilmember Grosso's original letter to Deputy Mayor for Education Niles: