In today’s Baltimore Sun, Dan Lips (full disclosure: he’s my brother) explores an under-reported aspect of education reform: bringing our public school system out of the pre-computer era to make use of all the innovative new ways that students can learn more efficiently. The good news is that some district are making stride in this area and empirical studies show that online and virtual learning programs can lead to superior outcomes than traditional classroom instruction.

If too many students nation wide are trapped in a Marty McFly situation (that’s the character played by Michael J. Fox of Back to the Future fame) in 1950s style public schools, the situation is far worse for Washington D.C. students. Vincent C. Gray’s defeat of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty in Washington D.C. recent mayoral primary contest means that the nation’s capital is likely turning back the clock on recent, much needed education reform.

In particular, as IWF’s Michelle Bernard details in this Washington Examiner article, Gray has indicated that he is likely to remove D.C.’s Schools Chancellor, Michelle A. Rhee (though in their meeting today Gray says her long-term future with the city wasn’t discussed). Rhee had challenged the status quo, in particular by creating greater teacher accountability. Reversing these reforms will thwart progress and bring back a past in which D.C. was crippled with violent, dysfunctional, corrupt, miserably under-performing public schools. D.C. students deserve a brighter future.