Charter Schools

D.C. Public Schools Move Toward a Charter-Dominated Model

Failing district schools are closed or transitioned one by one


With one decision about one elementary school, D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson is filling in the picture of the future of the District's long-troubled public school system.

It's been clear for some time that the public school system in the nation's capital has been moving toward charter dominance. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out: There are now about 45,000 students in 117 traditional public school buildings under Henderson's control, and there are about 35,000 students in 57 public charter schools beyond her control, run by the D.C. Public Charter School Board. Henderson is planning to close 15 schools this year, and more charter schools are being approved every year.

Now, my colleague Emma Brown reported in this story that after years of poor performance, Malcolm X Elementary School in Southeast Washington will be renovated to the tune of $21 million and then reopened under the management of a high-performing charter school, Achievement Prep Public Charter School.

Malcolm X was originally on the closure list, but Henderson decided to go a different way with the school. The result: a ground-breaking partnership that will be somewhere in between a traditional public school and a charter public school.