The Washington Post’s Alejandra Matos
Now that it has been finalized that Mr. Wilson will be coming to the nation’s capital, let’s talk about some of his priorities. First and foremost, the Chancellor should redirect the work of the Deputy Mayor for Education’s Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force to develop a contract detailing the expected cooperation between the charter sector and the traditional schools mirroring the one that exists in Denver. Mr. Wilson spent a decade with Denver Public Schools so I’m sure he is more than acquainted with this document. Apparently, key education stakeholders here have tried on multiple occasions in the past to develop this agreement, only to be blocked by DCPS. It looks like we now have a fresh new opportunity to get this done.
Of course, any compact would not be complete without a clause providing a permanent facility for all approved charter schools. Charters are public schools just like the regular ones and there is no reason that they should be treated any differently when it comes to brick and mortar. The exact same argument was offered by Irasema Salcido, the founder of the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy when she testified before Congress on the current state of the charter school movement. This was in the year 2000, almost 17 years ago. As a society we must be able to do better than this.
Mr. Wilson should also utilize his influence to end the FOCUS coordinated revenue inequity lawsuit between charters and the city. The solution to this issue is really simple. All money should go through the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula as is required by law. Done.
Then we can really start taking about charters and DCPS working together. There are so many best practices that charters have developed over their 20 year history that can be shared with the regular schools. Many have even been able to close the academic achievement gap, an aim I heard Mr. Wilson state multiple times during his confirmation hearing that he is extremely interested in attaining. I’m sure that DCPS also has much to teach charters.
The objective of school choice is to raise the bar for all public educational institutions. Now with the hiring of Mr. Wilson, it is time to make this goal a reality.