The Washington Post's Emma Brown reported yesterday that the D.C. Public Charter School Board has received nine applications for new schools to open in the fall 2014. The number of students these institutions propose serving comes to 2,697. This would bring total charter sector enrollment to approximately 38,000 pupils, not including the growth of those campuses already in operation.
But certainly not even close to 100 percent of these applications will be approved by the PCSB. I was particularly interested in the proposal for the Nannie Helen Burroughs School because, as Ms. Brown pointed out, this was a private school that recently closed because, "There weren’t enough dollars flowing into the school from the city’s federal voucher program."
The school has a rich history. According to the information provided to the charter board it was founded in 1909 by Dr. Nannie Helen Burroughs first as an all girl's schools. The institution's slogan was "We specialize in the wholly impossible." It had only four presidents before shuttering during the 2012 to 2013 term. This was a parochial school whose Christian focus was Baptist. I thought maybe the submission would speak to First Amendment church and state issues but it apparently plans to operate as a secular facility.
What I did learn from reviewing their application is that this facility has almost no chance of being given the green light for opening. The information includes 2010 Iowa Test scores for existing pupils. In reading and math the 6th grade students, which is the last grade the school served, score below the 50th percentile. Unfortunately, in today's PCSB singular emphasis on providing PMF Tier 1 high quality seats this school is likely not going to make the cut.