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Mayor Gray needs to fill the vacant seat on the PCSB

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It was announced at last month’s meeting of the D.C. Public Charter School Board that Emily Bloomfield had resigned. She is now working on founding a new charter servicing kids from foster homes. The vacant position should be filled as quickly as possible by the Mayor.

I know Mr. Gray has a few things on his mind right now. But there is an important election for his position coming up soon and if someone else wins the highest elected office at the Wilson Building who knows how friendly that individual will be to charters.

The local movement has certainly had it problems with the Mayor. He ran on a promise of financial equity between the two school systems and yet three years later the situation remains the same. But there are encouraging signs on the horizon. Shuttered DCPS buildings have been turned over to charters at a much faster rate than in the past and there is a commitment to do much more. The Adequacy Study, prepared by his Deputy Mayor for Education, detailed for the first time in print the government’s illegal funding of the traditional schools outside of the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula, providing DCPS with millions of dollars each year charter don’t receive. The fiscal 2015 budget proposal is expected to be the first shot at correcting this injustice.

There is also a new cooperation between charters and regular schools. The campuses that now educate 44 percent of all public school students are no longer the enemy. Traditional schools and charters now share a common lottery, professional development, school fairs, and a seat at the table when education policy decision are being made.

Mr. Gray needs to continue his support of charters by nominating someone to the PCSB friendly to the education reform efforts of the last 17 years. He should do this as part of his commitment not to turn back the clock on advancements made since Mr. Fenty came into office. It is his duty to not leave the seat empty.

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