A new article posted on Greater Greater Washington, entitled “Should DC limit charter growth? David Catania says no, while Bowser and Schwartz say maybe,” can pretty much be summed up in one quote:
In 1965…the District [of Columbia] had 147,000 students [in the system] and 196 schools. Today, there are 85,000 students [system wide] and 213 DCPS and charter school buildings.
THIS. IS. CRAZY.
Let me get this straight… So, we have roughly a little more than half of the amount of students in the public education system today than we had in 1965; but, we pay MORE to educate each child; even though, we have yet to change the funding formula for schools [to ensure that there is equity, parity, and a baseline of things that SHOULD be housed and offered in a school]; yet, we now have more schools open than we did when the system was at its peak [in terms of students]. I know I am not a math whiz but something is bound to NOT add up!
Two words – enrollment and resources.
This simple, yet ‘slap you in the face’ reality check quote is another reminder of how we need to really start thinking more comprehensively about our system of public schools in DC,
or the lack there of.
With this quote we are reminded of how the failure to plan, and to do so with a vision, is harming our most vulnerable students, families, and communities. Not only are we harming our most vulnerable residents but we are wasting our public dollars in a way that we cannot really afford. Furthermore, such a lack of comprehensive planning DOES NOT breed competition but it leaves our system of public education lopsided and a confusing mess for families who just want to give their children the best education that they possibly can.
This system does not provide real choice to the assurance of quality and access for all of our students in the District of Columbia.
So where is the comprehensive plan for our system of public (both traditional and charter) schools in DC? Well, the answer is – we DO NOT have one but we are in DIRE need. It is our duty to push our elected officials to genuinely, collectively, and directly address this matter and to do so in a way that engages all stakeholders in the strategic planning and implementation of such a plan. The future of our fair city depends on it.