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D.C. Public Charter School Board releases annual report

Monday of this week the D.C. Public Charter School Board released its annual report and it is packed full with interesting data about the local movement. For example, the document lists 23 schools that are in Performance Management Framework Tier 1, 34 schools in Tier 2, and only seven charters in Tier 3. Of those 14 have been in Tier 1 for 3 consecutive years and five are making their first appearance in this category. Nineteen charters have scored in Tier 2 for 3 consecutive years, ten charters are new to this group. For Tier 3, four schools have landed there for the first time.

The PMF seems to be having its intended impact on which schools parents choose. A graph illustrates the movement of pupils over time. For example, since 2011, the first year the PMF was available, 1,972 students have transitioned out of Tier 3 institutions compared to the current year. Between 2011 and 2014, Tier 2 schools have gained 602 students, with Tier 1 charters showing the most change with the addition of 2,324 kids.

The document also reveals the variation in the number of seats per PMF Tier for the 2013 to 2014 term compared to the number that will be present for next year. These statistics are a little skewed in that it includes seats in schools not yet open such as Harmony, Democracy Prep, and DC International which are all expected to be Tier 1 schools at the start of their operation. The findings are that there will be 13,541 seats in Tier 1 charters, a 20.7% increase over the current year. The number of Tier 2 seats will grow by 4.9% to 12,926, and Tier 3 spots will shrink by a significant 62.4% to 1,187 seats for the 2015 term. This decline in Tier 3 enrollment is impacted by the closure of four charters by the end of the current school year and another two by the conclusion of next year.

There are also a couple of graphs that brought a smile to my face. One shows the steady enrollment increase in charters since 2002 which now reaches the 44% mark of all public school students. The other details the improvement in DC CAS proficiency rates which now equals 59.6% for reading and 53.4% for math. These numbers are not high enough but the positive trajectory of the line gives great hope for the future.

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