It's National Charter School Week and here in Washington, D.C. where the movement is perhaps the strongest in the country, we find ourselves in a highly precarious situation. We have an election for Mayor coming up that is pitting a Councilwoman who would try to impose a neighborhood admission preference on our schools against a Councilman who we don't really understand what he would do except for the fact that he would definitely do something.
The facility issue for charters remains as intractable as ever, and the turning over of shuttered DCPS buildings has ended. Public money that would have been allocated to a permanent site for D.C. International has been stopped by Mr. Gray, and no one is trying to figure out how the issue can be resolved so there is equity in capital funding between charters and the regular schools. We have an Adequacy Study that may now collect dust on a shelf with the change in administrations. The media is having a field day observing the fight over traditional school student feeder patterns, something peripheral to the institutions that are closing for the first time in history the academic achievement gap.
Not being discussed openly is how to get more high performing charters to come here and how to replicate local charters that are doing well. It is as if we have all the time in the world when the great majority of kids attend places where the math and reading proficiency rates are around 50 percent. This after hundreds of millions of dollars has been spent on school reform.
Perhaps over the next seven days those involved in the almost 20 year effort to fix our public education system can pause, reflect, and decide once and for all that every kid deserves a quality seat, today.