When former D.C. Councilman Kevin Chavous writes about school choice it is best to listen since his opinions are always on target. This is true today regarding his letter to the editor of the Washington Post regarding the location of Harmony Public Charter School across the street from DCPS's Langley Elementary. From the piece:
"That a proven high-quality charter school plans to open near Langley Elementary is an opportunity, not a threat. Parents will decide which schools work best for their children, whether it’s a traditional DCPS school or a charter."
He goes on to explain that the type of competition for students offered by Harmony is exactly what led to mayoral control of the traditional schools and the improvements to this system that have followed in academics, safety, and facilities.
I would only add one other thought. The addition of Harmony will create a STEM campus in Northeast D.C. Principals and teachers at Harmony, Langley, and McKinley middle and high schools will be able to discuss ideas, learn from best practices, and share methods of pedagogy. Who would have ever imagined this kind of education environment being found in Northeast D.C.? The real winners, as Mr. Chavous asserts, are the parents. They will vote with their feet as to the best learning environment for their children.
Why would we want it any other way?
The original Washington Post article and the Chancellor’s reaction brought up another concern. We should be welcoming high performing charters to our town. If this is the way we respond when a new group is approved to start a school in the nation’s capital then others may be reluctant to come. This is not the best situation for our children.