D.C. debates growth of charter schools

The majority of public school students in Washington D.C. could be attending charter schools in a few years, reports the Washington Post.

Rocketship Education, a California nonprofit group that blends online and teacher-directed learning, wants to open eight D.C. charter schools that would enroll more than 5,000 students by 2019. Rocketship’s model has worked well for low-income and minority students in San Jose.

Rocketship’s charter application — which is the largest ever to come before District officials, and which might win approval this month — arrives on the heels of Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s decision to close 15 half-empty city schools, highlighting an intense debate about the future of public education in the nation’s capital.

. . . “Maybe we need an entire school system full of charters,” said Virginia Spatz, who co-hosts a community-radio talk show on D.C. education. “But we need to have that after public conversation, not by accident.”

Reading and math scores rose significantly in Washington, D.C. from 2005 to 2011, note Aaron Churchill and Mike Petrilli in a Flypaper post that asks: Do demographic shifts explain cities’ test-score changes? Median household income also is on the rise in D.C. (Your tax dollars at work!) 

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  1. I wonder if Kaya Henderson’s canned lousy principals and teachers? She’s certainly starting to resemble that ogre, Michele Rhee, with regards to closing superfluous schools. Perhaps there are other areas of agreement on the governance of school districts.

    Be that as it, humorously, may be the question is, which large, metropolitan school district will be the first to be dissolved once it’s clear it serves no useful purpose?

    On a numerical basis New Orleans is the clear leader with 70% of public education kids going to schools independent from the local school district. But that doesn’t mean the miracle can’t occur somewhere else first.

    Personally, I’m pulling for Detroit. The DPS is well on the way to committing organizational suicide and now that the concept of a school district being dissolved the previously unthinkable no longer is – the DPS really could end up ending.

    But there are other candidates for the honor.

    Washington D.C., well known for the execrable quality of its public schools is clearly in the running but so are Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and four or five others.

    That’s not to say one of the fifty states doesn’t pass law making it substantially easier to dissolve a school district resulting in an off-list entrant taking the prize. There are more then a few gawdawful, municipal school district to choose from.