In a well-written piece appearing on the Washington Post website yesterday, Perry Stein describes the frustration many families experience when going through the My School DC lottery to find a public school for their children. From the article:
“Sabrina Gordon knows that any lottery is a fluky game of odds. But she needs to believe that the school lottery is different.
The single mother lives in a poor area of Southeast Washington and refuses to enroll her 10-year-old son, Trevonte, in their neighborhood school, Johnson Middle, where he has a guaranteed slot.
So Gordon joins the thousands of families across the city anxiously awaiting results of the city’s competitive school lottery this week — a system that highlights the bleak reality that the demand for high-performing schools in the District far exceeds the supply.”
Ms. Perry highlights the difficulty of children obtaining spots in some of the city’s high performing charters. At Munde Verde PCS she states that only one child was accepted last year into Pre-Kindergarten three who did not already have a sibling at the school or whose parent is not already there as a teacher. Two Rivers PCS has a wait-list of over 1,400 pupils. The story mentions DC Bilingual PCS where the backlog is almost as high. Many charters in the District have similar numbers of students trying to get admitted. The reporter indicates that 40 percent of lottery participants live on the east side of the Anacostia River.
There is only one solution for this mess that we have on our hands, and that is the opening of many more high quality schools.
Yet, when I talk about the charter school facility problem that is preventing the expansion, replication, and creation of new campuses it is as if my words are falling on deaf ears. When I point out that the funding inequity of charters compared to DCPS is hurting the quality of instruction, I get no response. When I write that the charter school application process is too difficult to attract charter management organizations that are successful in other localities around the country, it is as if I’m bothering the DC PCSB.
Washington D.C. will never be a great city without great public schools. Washington D.C. will never be a great city without great public schools. Washington D.C. will never be a great city without great public schools.
Now, perhaps someone will do something to fix this mess.