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In a unanimous vote, the District of Columbia Council confirmed Antwan Wilson Tuesday as chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools, reports the Washington Post.

The now former Oakland Unified School District leader will start his new position on February 1.

Wilson told The Post that he met privately with the council members to get acquainted ahead of the vote, and he’s “appreciative of the council members for their confirmation vote and excited about the work we are going to do in D.C.”

During public hearings with the council, the lawmakers wanted primarily to know his plan to close the academic achievement gap between White students and students of color at the two-hour question-and-answer session.

Wilson said he would build on the changes of the previous two school chancellors, referring to reform-minded Chancellor Kaya Henderson, who announced her resignation in June, and Henderson’s predecessor Michelle Rhee.

He would seek to give struggling students more education time through tutoring programs or extending the school year.

At the same time, there’s a need to make school more engaging, he stated. To that end, Wilson floated the idea of mandatory speech, debate or choir classes for middle schools.

Along that line of thinking, the nominee said the district’s public schools must offer attractive programs that can compete with the explosion of charter schools. That was in response to a question about reversing the decline of enrollment at the middle school level, as increasing numbers of parents seek alternatives to public schools.

In his conversation with The Post after earning the confirmation, Wilson said he will prioritize working with the teachers union leadership to pass a new contract and to improve working conditions.

“I couldn’t be more excited to come into the district and collaborate with the teachers there on matters that are important to them,” Wilson told the newspaper. “Teachers are tremendously important to the success of the students and the district.”

Wilson has said that his goal is to make D.C. Schools a national model of high-quality education for all students.

SOURCE: Washington Post

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