D.C. charter board receives three applications for new schools, a number that is way too low

The DC Public Charter School board announced last Friday that it has received three applications to open new charters, plus the request by Friendship PCS to expand its Online Academy PCS through high school that currently serves grades Kindergarten through eight, as I mentioned in my coverage of the 2018 FOCUS Gala.  At the end of four years the Academy is projected to add 100 students.

Capital Village Academy PCS describes itself as a micro-school that would enroll 170 students in grades five through eight, and bases its curriculum on the use of E.L. (Expeditionary Learning) together with a blended pedagogical approach.  It would locate in Ward 1,4, 5, or 6.

A particularly aggressive application is one by The M.E.C.C.A Business Learning Institute-D.C. PCS that wants to open a sixth-through-twelfth grade school that would enroll 990 students.  It already has a preferred location using a vacant building that was the DCPS Fletcher Johnson School located at 4650 Benning Road, S.E. in Ward 7, but will land in Ward 8 if this property does not work out.  M.E.C.C.A. gets its name from the Mentoring by Example Foundation, Inc., which describes itself as “an award-winning nonprofit youth service organization that has been educating at-risk youth and young adults, promoting community engagement, and cultivating the next generation of business leaders, professionals, and entrepreneurs in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area for nearly 20 years.”  Its founder is  LaChaundra Graham.  The proposed school’s name is an acronym for Mentoring by Example College and Career Academy.  It would be a Chinese Mandarin language immersion school with Latin added in.

Bolt Academy PCS would be a high school teaching 400 students located in Ward 7 or 8.  Its application states that “BOLT will provide high school students with a world-class education in the heart of our nation’s capital, with Boundless Opportunities for Leadership and Travel. BOLT students will benefit from fully-funded immersive study abroad opportunities and a rigorous curriculum that will prepare them for the college or career of their choice.”

If given the green light from the charter board, these institutions would open in the 2019-to-2020 school year.  The PCSB states that its approval is based on new schools meeting its “Standard for Approval” which means they must show “a demonstrated need for the school; sufficient progress in developing the plan; consistency of the mission and philosophy; inclusiveness; and founding group ability.”

Based upon the written applications, I don’t expect any of the schools other than Friendship’s to be approved.

This is sad.  For some reason or reasons we are not receiving requests to open schools from the many high performing charter networks around the country.  I attribute it to the difficulty of the application process and the lack of available charter school facilities.

Yesterday I read that this past Sunday Linda Brown passed away, the namesake of the Supreme Court Case Brown v. Board of Education that outlawed segregation of public schools in this country in 1954.  Her father joined four other school discrimination complaints because his daughter, at age nine, had to travel two miles past an all-white elementary school in order to go to class.  Today, here in the nation’s capital, parents still have to send their offspring unacceptable distances to obtain a quality education.   Far too many do not even have the option of sending their children to a good school.

When is this going to end?

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