Just Under Half of D.C. Public School Students Attend Charter Schools Despite Reported Antipathy by City Officials


Just under half (47.3%) of Washington, D.C., public school students attend charter schools despite a reported antipathy towards them by city officials.

The numbers are according to the latest data provided by DC Public Schools’ website.

As of the 2018-2019 school year, the district’s public schools had 92,994 students overall, according to data released by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

DC Public Schools (DCPS) enrollment increased from 48,144 to 49,103 students, a 2 percent gain. Enrollment at DC’s public charter schools increased from 43,393 to 43,958 students, a 1 percent gain.

Public school enrollment increased for the 10th consecutive year.

“Public schools across the District of Columbia are staffed by caring, supportive and talented educators who are providing students an excellent education and preparing them for the future,” said State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang. “As our schools continue to show gains on statewide assessments and as Mayor Bowser continues to challenge us to design and implement programming that excites and engages our young people, I am confident our enrollment will continue to grow.”

Hoodline analyzed some of the top D.C. public charter schools, using data gleaned from Niche, according to Yahoo News.

One consistently top-rated charter high schools is Washington Latin Public Charter School-High School (overall A).

The most improved public charter school was E.L. Haynes Public Charter School – Kansas Avenue Campus – High School. The rating raised from a B to a B+, Niche said. Twenty-two percent of their students scored proficient or higher in math, while 32% scored proficient or higher in reading. They still performed better than the city averages of 12% in math and 20% in reading.

The editorial board of The Washington Post rapped Democratic Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s administration for making life difficult for charter school operators.

In a June editorial, the newspaper highlighted the city’s efforts to close the Southwest campus of the AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School.

For the past five years, it has been located, under a use agreement with the public school system, in portable classrooms (owned by AppleTree) at former tennis courts next to Jefferson Middle School. The arrangement was always regarded as temporary while the school sought a permanent site. But finding space, as is often the case for charters, proved difficult. In one case, AppleTree lost out to a for-profit day-care provider. Finally, this year, AppleTree secured alternatives, but occupancy won’t be possible until next summer. Meanwhile, the city has told AppleTree it must vacate the Jefferson Middle School property by July 31.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Charter School Student” by the U.S. Department of Education. CC BY 2.0.




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