Yesterday, the executive director of the D.C. Public Charter School Board Scott Pearson put out an extremely terse statement regarding the C+ ranking of the District of Columbia's education policies issued by Michelle Rhee's organization Students First. I say when it comes to Ms. Rhee, forget about her.
The fact that she and her group got many facts wrong about education reform in the nation's capital, specifically about charters; in a town where she was the traditional public school Chancellor does not surprise me for a second. I know that with all the scandals that have engulfed our elected officials it is difficult to remember, but when she worked here Ms. Rhee was off track on almost everything she did and said. Mr. Pearson was not in his current role at the time, however he and the rest of us need to recognize that the primary reason Mr. Gray won the resounding victory he did in the Mayoral election was that the great majority of citizens wanted her kicked out of town as quickly as was possible.
Mr. Pearson points out the great strides charters and his organization have made over time. Our movement now educates 43 percent of all public school students with over 35,000 kids enrolled. We expect to add another 10,000 pupils next year. Charters have been held accountable with many of the low performing facilities shuttered by the PCSB. The Performance Management Framework has provided all of us with a groundbreaking method for benchmarking one school against another. But most importantly, several of our sites are now closing the achievement gap between rich and poor, something that has never been successfully done in the history of public education in this country. We can all be extremely proud of these accomplishments.
And we have much more work to do. Let's maintain our focus on providing every child in the District of Columbia with a seat in a quality school. Until we reach this point we don't have time for those who try to distract us from this critical mission. The future looks bright, but only if we continue to concentrate on fighting the good fight.