Democrats will stop funding scholarships for low-income Washington, D.C. students in 2009, vows Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s representative in Congress. However, students who currently attend private schools with the vouchers may be allowed to continue.
D.C. council members are trying to block charter school expansion, writes the Washington Post. A proposed bill would require a 15-month planning period before a school can open, limit new schools to one campus and change the funding.
Many observers see it as the opening salvo in a bid to undermine the schools and their autonomy. Consider that the measure would take money away from a charter if student enrollment declined but not add funds if enrollment went up. Moreover, funding for public schools would stay unchanged — no matter how many of its students left.
“Students in schools approved by the public charter school board scored better — in all grades — on math and reading tests than those in public schools or in the charter schools sanctioned by the old Board of Education,” observes the Post.
About 30 percent of the district’s public school students attend a charter school.