Washington Post on Charter Schools in DC

February 15, 2013

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Check out this fascinating article in the WaPo regarding the ever growing market share of charter schools in the District of Columbia. Blended learning schools will debut soon, DCPS continues to shrink, making some tetchy. Money quote:

Rocketship’s charter application — which is the largest ever to come before District officials, and which might win approval this month — arrives on the heels of Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s decision to close 15 half-empty city schools, highlighting an intense debate about the future of public education in the nation’s capital.

A growing number of activists have raised concerns that the traditional school system, facing stiffer-than-ever competition from charters, is in danger of being relegated to a permanently shrunken role. And they worry that Washington has yet to confront what that could mean for taxpayers, families and neighborhoods.

“Maybe we need an entire school system full of charters,” said Virginia Spatz, who co-hosts a community-radio talk show on D.C. education. “But we need to have that after public conversation, not by accident.”

With due respect to Ms. Spatz, there doesn’t seem to be anything accidental about this to me- DC parents will ultimately decide how many charter and district schools they want by voting with the feet of their children.