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Week in Alexandria

Art on the Waterfront?

The waterfront is no stranger to debate, and now another potential clash is brewing. This week, city officials created a work group to prepare for a potential bid from the Corcoran Gallery of Art to move to the waterfront. The museum, which is the largest privately supported art museum in Washington, D.C., may have outgrown its facility on 17th Street, and Mayor Bill Euille says he would be thrilled to have the institution move to Alexandria.

“I’d hate to see it go somewhere else when Old Town is a possibility,” said Euille. “If they are interested in coming to Alexandria, we would love to have them.”

Not surprisingly, the idea has opposition. Former Vice Mayor Andrew Macdonald spent the last year opposing Euille’s vision for increasing the allowable density along the waterfront. Now he’s come out in opposition to the idea that Alexandria’s waterfront may become the new home of the art museum, which also includes an art school.

“A museum of that scale would be way out of proportion for the waterfront,” said Macdonald, who is waging an independent campaign against Euille in the general election this November. “How much development do we really want on the waterfront?”

When the waterfront plan was debated last year, Macdonald supported using some of the land for a maritime museum. Although he acknowledged that a museum would be the kind of land use that he would like to see on the waterfront, Macdonald said that the Corcoran would be too big. Euille disagrees, adding that there’s one part of the waterfront that might offer a perfect location.

“I think it might fit on the GenOn site,” said Euille, referring to a 25-acre site that will soon be vacated by a coal-fired power plant.

Don’t Like Ike Memorial

This week marked the 68th anniversary of D-Day, part of the World War II Operation Overlord that invaded the beaches of Normandy. These days, Europe has been liberated and a new conflict is gripping Washington, D.C. This one features a memorial to Dwight Eisenhower designed by avant-garde architect Frank Gehry. Now, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) has added his voice to the growing controversy, in which the Eisenhower family has led opposition to the design.

“I have met with the Eisenhower family and share their objections to the current design,” said Moran. “While the Eisenhower memorial is far along in the process, I have approached several of my colleagues who serve on the commissions and encouraged them to rethink their support and a new public competition on an alternative design.”

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Moran helps to oversee funding for the National Park Service, the agency charged with upkeep of the National Mall. The congressman says he would prefer to see restraints on the scope and scale of future memorials and museums on the National Mall, and he’s urging preservation of the space for future generations.

No Reform Left Behind

A decade ago, President George W. Bush signed No Child Left Behind. Now leaders in Virginia want to leave the reform behind.

Last week, the Virginia Board of Education submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Education for a waiver provision. If approved by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the waiver would mean that Virginia schools would no longer have to meet annual yearly progress benchmarks that increase every year until 2014, when 100 percent of students are expected to meet minimum standards.

“Since NCLB was signed into law 10 years ago, we have learned that the parents of most students eligible for school choice don’t apply for transfers and that supplemental educational services have had little impact on achievement,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright in a written statement.