Just Starting Our Education on DC’s Schools
Of course, if you’re moving to DC with kids, you want to know about the schools. And once you start to do your research, you’ll start to have more questions than answers. It is understood that Washington, DC, has one of the country’s worst school systems. There’s no way to hide the fact that high school graduation rates are abysmal.
But taking a snapshot of the entire school system as a whole deprives you of the details of the excellent schools, teachers and options offered in DC. Growing up in Fayetteville, NC, you simply went to the school that your neighborhood is zoned for. In DC, if that were true, we would all pile up on top of each other to squeeze into certain school districts to avoid some of the worst schools in the city, the region if not the country.
Instead, DC has many options for parents to avoid schools that aren’t deemed good schools. Charter schools are taking over DC. Funded by public money but administered by private companies, charter schools are free, there are no zoning or school district restrictions and there are a bunch to choose from.
Being that we have a little one who’ll be entering into DCPS soon, I started looking into charter schools. And I like what I see. Because of limited space, many have lotteries for parents trying to get their kids into certain schools. We’ve entered Najwa’s name into several schools, my top choice being Two Rivers Charter School.
As we continue this journey in figuring out DC’s schools, I’ll blog more about it. For the time being you, too, can do your research on the charter schools in DC. We’ve pretty much made up our minds that Najwa was going to attend a charter school so I don’t have anything to offer for those looking for more information about the public schools.
The enrollment numbers for charter schools has consistently been growing each year for over a decade. But at the same time some of the charter schools have failed and shut their doors. One complaint some parents have had about charter schools is their [the schools'] ability to kick students out who they feel are unruly, a bully, or simply bad students. It’s not arbitrary or as simple as that, but the way I look at it, as a parent whose child one day will be in schools where there are bullies, I like the idea of schools being able to police themselves of bad influences. Public schools have no choice but to keep them.
Recently I finished reading former DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s book Radical: Fighting to Put Students First. I’ll blog about it later where I blog about books, but I wanted to mention it and encourage everyone to read it. Fascinating read about the country’s educational system, Rhee’s story which is quite fascinating and inspiring, and an interesting view of DC’s schools system. Let’s just hope DC’s current Chancellor Kaya Henderson can pick up where Rhee left off and turn these schools around.