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Despite Success, D.C. Resists Opening More Charter Schools

ONLY 34 PERCENT of D.C. public-school students are in top-quality schools. The District — particularly struggling neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River — is in urgent need of schools that can perform. So one would think that the city would be clamoring to welcome a renowned charter nonprofit that wants to bring its record of educational success with disadvantaged students to the nation’s capital.

Instead, there is misplaced concern about the growth of charter schools and worrying talk about whether they should be curtailed.

Rocketship Education, which operates some of the highest-performing elementary schools in California, has submitted an application to open charter schools in the District, targeting underserved students in Wards 7 and 8. The proposal — as well as interest from other national charter networks — comes, The Post’s Emma Brown reports, as an increasing percentage of public-school students attend charter schools instead of traditional schools. The 34,673 students enrolled in charter schools last fall represent 43 percent, up from 41 percent in 2011, of the city’s public-school students, and officials envision a day when half the city’s public-school students will attend charters.

Source: Washington Post. Read full article. (link)

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  • Bruce William Smith||

    A possibility for dealing with recalcitrant school districts is to set up one or more schools in appropriate locations within those districts and then simply drain them of students. This is likely to help local leadership to start paying attention to the demand from families to open school buildings to better management. This threat helped our principal at Locke High School to become much more amenable to Green Dot Public Schools than he had been earlier. It's true that Green Dot has not been an academic powerhouse at Locke since taking over, but the school is improved, and an educational management organization with a better model could make a powerful impact right in the nation's capital, which might have national and even international repercussions.