In a commentary appearing on the Educationpost website, Jacque Patterson, regional director of Rocketship Education, states that in Washington, D.C. there is currently 1.4 million square feet of space in a dozen shuttered DCPS schools that could be made available today for charter schools. The issue is especially important now because, as Mr. Paterson explained, “the need is there, and it’s only going to grow, as conservative estimates project the number of D.C. school children will grow to 125,000 by 2025. That’s an additional 40,000 students over the next 10 years.”
This extravagant number of available square footage is most certainly a gross underestimate of available brick and mortar as numerous traditional schools are significantly under enrolled.
It has been estimated that there are 40,000 students living in the nation’s capital that lack a quality school seat.
Mayor Bowser and Deputy Mayor for Education Niles have not commented on the turning over of these buildings to the alternative school sector. But they are not the only ones demonstrating silence on this issue. Many leaders in the nation’s capital would rather not rock the boat and are keeping their opinions to themselves. Perhaps at one of the upcoming Cross-Sector Collaboration meetings the subject will be raised in a way that does not hurt anyone’s feelings.
Meanwhile our town continues to provide high school diplomas to those who cannot write, cannot read on grade level and cannot solve basic mathematical problems. This after we congratulate ourselves for 20 years of public school reform.