Another morning another Washington Post article by reporter Emma Brown frantically clanging the alarm bell that charter schools have become so popular with parents in the nation’s capital they may entirely replace the traditional system. The level of hysteria has now become deafening. The most recent panic was initiated by the realization that later this month the Public Charter School Board will likely allow Rocketship to open its first location here in the District. The California non-profit eventually plans to open eight campuses enrolling over 5,000 children.
In today's installment D.C. Council Education Chairman David Catania remarks to Ms. Brown that he is terribly worried that the entire process of opening new charters has gotten completely out of hand:
“Right now we have schools that pop up everywhere . . . competing against other established charter schools and traditional public schools,” Catania said. “I think we have a responsibility to help manage this process.”
Mr. Catania wants to immediately hit the pause button on the approval of new charters. However, there is only one problem. The D.C. Council has no control over the creation of charter schools; this power resides with the PCSB. But Mr. Catania has figured out a clever politician’s way around this obstacle. Ms. Brown explains:
"He says that lawmakers could influence charters’ growth by accelerating the closure of underperforming charters or — even more aggressively — by withholding $3,000-per-pupil facilities payments from new charters to discourage them from opening."
Now those of us who have worked exceedingly hard and sacrificed much for a quality education for children in this town to be are not going to sit idly by and watch the D.C. government take our classrooms. We view having high performing public schools for all our students as their civil right. Therefore, I have one clear direct message for the Chairman of the D.C. Council’s Education Committee. If you attempt to restrict our growth by withholding our per pupil facility allotment then we will forcefully take those surplus DCPS buildings. Just try it.