Sounds of silence over D.C. charter school waiting lists

It is a sobering exercise to let your eyes glance over the recently released list of students waiting to get into many of D.C.’s charter schools.

Basis DC, 553.  Capital City lower, 608.  Creative Minds International, 1,217.

We go to work, come home, have dinner, and perhaps watch some television. We do not give one thought to the families whose future is being determined by whether their children can get into one of these schools.

DC Bilingual, 832.  E.L. Haynes elementary, 585.  Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom French language school, 583.

The DC Public Charter School Board states that there are “8,640 individual students on waitlists to attend one or more participating public charter schools in the 2016-17 school year, a 1.3% increase over last year’s 8,526 students.”

Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Spanish language school, 894.  Inspired Teaching Demonstration, 892.  KIPP DC Promise Academy, 284.

In the nation’s capital, once you include DCPS, there are 21,000 kids trying to get into the school of their choice.  Parents of 21,000 individuals who desperately want to make better lives for their offspring.  If you have money there is an easy solution to this problem.  You move to a locality where there is a good neighborhood school or you pay tuition at a private institution.  This is not so simple for those living in the vicinity of the White House, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial.  Many of these people are poor, and just keeping a home is their main concern.

Latin American Montessori, 835.  Lee Montessori, 482.  Mundo Verde Bilingual 1, 295.

Almost defensively, the PCSB states that over the last three years 11 new schools have been approved and over a dozen Performance Management Framework Tier 1 facilities have grown their enrollment.  But for the vast majority of the scholars on these waiting lists their admission to a high performing school will never come.

Shinning Stars Montessori Academy, 367.  Two Rivers 4th Street, 1,388.  Two Rivers Young, 474.

I am mentioning only those with the greatest numbers.  Other charters have waiting lists of 50, 100, or 150.  However, it feels like there is no urgency to do anything by anyone.  We wake up in the morning, have our breakfasts, perhaps kiss our loved ones, and head out for another day.

Washington Latin middle, 787.  Washington Latin upper, 256.  Washington Yu Ying, 944.

It is not uncommon to hear leaders involved in school reform talk about this issue as a civil right.  Nevertheless, today, there are no rights for people on these rolls.  There is only waiting.

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