DC mayoral candidate promises boarding schools and vocational schools

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At-Large board member Robert White said the plan calls for an adjustment to the budget for infrastructure improvements.

WASHINGTON — DC’s primary election is just over a month away on June 21. So far, voters have identified security, education, housing and jobs as some of the top issues they will vote on in this election.

On Tuesday, Ward 8 councilman Trayon White made a campaign pledge to put money back in voters’ pockets by reducing traffic tickets. A day later, his opponent, At-Large Board Member Robert White, released his own plan designed to address education, security and jobs.

DC police report violent crime is up 25% from the same time last year. According to the latest MPD data on juvenile arrests, more than 700 youths were charged with violent crimes between July and December 2021.

“The number of young people that are in this area running around with guns and committing a lot of crime is abysmal,” said Ian Brown, a New York native and Ward 8 resident. “It reminds me of New York in the 80s and 90s. It’s a shame the nation’s capital has this type of crime in 202.”

WUSA9 spoke to DC voters about what they need to see in their next mayor. Safety and education were at the forefront.

“Too many students who don’t plan on going to college are dropping out of high school or graduating without the tools to move into stable careers,” White said during Wednesday’s campaign announcement.

White believes his two-part education plan will keep our streets safe and inspire kids to pursue careers: boarding school for those in need and job-training programs for all.

“I want the mayor to be intentional about improving the quality of public education,” Brown said.

Raymond Bell, CEO and founder of Project HOPE (a job training program in DC), offered his support for White’s plan.

“Two thousand residents have graduated from my program in computer science, CDL and as security guards,” Bell said. “The average salary for computer science graduates is nearly $70,000 a year. Most of them are between 18 and 24 years old and not one of them has been arrested for a violent crime since they graduated.

According to the campaign, 30,000 DC students are considered at risk, less than 60 percent of whom graduate from high school. Campaign workers cite the local youth unemployment rate at 17%, 7% higher than the national average for 16- to 24-year-olds, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“I graduated from a public high school in DC last year,” 19-year-old Lyric Johnson said. “I’ve had several minimum wage jobs now. Where are my opportunities? I can’t go into debt going to college. My family and I can’t afford it. DC is and always will be my home, but will there be room for me in 4 years? »

White said if elected, he would make the program one of his top priorities and appoint a team of students, parents, teachers and union leaders to develop an execution plan over the course of 120 first days of his term.

“People in our city who want to stay here, they need high-paying careers and that means our schools need to be laser-focused on getting all of our students into high-paying careers or colleges,” White said. “Apart from these two trajectories, we have no chance.”

WUSA9 has reached out to all mayoral candidates for comment. Only James Butler sent a statement agreeing with more professional programs but expressing some concern.

“It feels like another programmatic smokescreen, instead of providing real means to keep DC residents safe,” Butler said.

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