Will DC go charter?

Washington, D.C. schools are losing so many students to charters that some wonder if the system will go all charter, reports the Washington Post. District-run schools are trying to compete with charters but not showing much success.

With public confidence in the schools at an all-time low, more than 17,000 public school students — nearly one in four — have rejected the traditional system in favor of 51 independently run, publicly funded charter schools. That share is one of the largest in the nation and is expected to rise when six more charter schools open their doors this fall.

Superintendent Clifford B. Janey wants a moratorium on new charter schools, though he’s not likely to get it. “Two recent studies show D.C. charters outperforming traditional schools,” the Post reports, though scores remain well below the national average.

Charters started in D.C.’s poorest black neighborhoods but are expanding to middle-class areas, offering a free education to parents who can’t afford private schools and might otherwise move to the suburbs.

Next month, the Washington Latin School, a charter for grades five through 12, is scheduled to open in the same Northwest Washington neighborhood as St. Albans, Sidwell Friends and other exclusive private schools. Washington Latin will offer a “classical education” that is “rich in antique and global literary sources,” according to its Web site.

Charter critics complain these new, integrated charter schools will remove the last remaining middle-class students from the district-run schools. On the other hand, that battle seems to be lost: “A recent Washington Post poll found that 15 percent of D.C. voters have confidence in the regular school system, the lowest recorded in a Post survey.”

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  1. When you take into account that D.C. has the highest per-pupil funding disparity between district and charter schools the stampede to charters is even more astonishing, and provocative.

    Sooner or later some other mayor will notice that disparity, as well as the funding disparity in their own states, and figure that money has a better use then to employ the obviously superflous district administration.

    That’s when the fun will really start.

  2. Mr. Davis says:

    That depends on whether the union still gets the vote out. And with no school system schools, the administrators can spend all their time campaigning, with a little left over to find the charters with problems.

  3. Yeah, but the teachers aren’t the only city/goobermint employees with a union. There’s the cops, the fireman and whatever other unions also work for the city. If the teacher’s union acts to resist the charterization of the school district, they’re also supporting the retention of administrators – management – over their union brethren and sistren.

    Will the other city unions support the teacher’s union’s effort to protect the viability and continued existance of the district, knowing that they’re protecting the jobs of management? Jobs whose pay could go to hire other city employees? Unionized employees?