Because the Red Line was stalled by “heavy smoke in the tunnel between Gallery Place and Metro Center,” which is par for the course in our decaying, dangerous Metro system, I took a taxi to work this morning and asked the driver what he thought about yesterday’s mayoral election. He was very enthusiastic about Vincent Gray’s victory. Mayor Fenty, he explained, had, according to independent studies, cut taxi driver revenues by 30 percent. While he didn’t want to return to the old zone system, he noted that the per-mile taxi rate in DC is 50 cents below surrounding jurisdictions, that the cost of trips within the city is capped at $19.00 even though paying by actual time and distance is (he became very animated here) the whole point of having a meter, and that Fenty had shut down many of the used car dealerships that had been an important source of vehicles and vehicle storage for small taxi businessmen. He also noted that Fenty failed to meet regularly with the city council and could have had the job for as long as he wanted if he’d just taken his retail politicking responsibilities seriously.
Based on this, I think it’s patently obvious that President Obama needs to rethink his school reform strategy and dial back his enthusiasm for using test scores to evaluate teachers and expanding the number of high-quality charter schools.