Many younger residents moved to the District in the last 10-plus years, thanks to a resurgent demand for urban living and policies that encouraged residential growth. For many at or nearing the age of having children, one question above all determines whether they will remain in the District or decamp to suburbs: Are the schools good enough for my child?
I have heard from many people who very much want to remain in the District, even in the more walkable and urban neighborhoods, but won’t do so if that means sacrificing their children’s future. Private schools are becoming more and more expensive relative to most people’s incomes and inflation.
Still, few good parents who have a choice in the matter will keep a child in school if the educational outcome is actually bad. Is it?
The answer is very different depending on where you live
The District essentially has two educational challenges. Just as transit thinks about choice riders (people who could drive but might choose to take transit if they perceive it’s better) and non-choice riders (people dependent on the train or bus, like the poor, elderly and disabled), so are there two types of families in D.C.: Those who could move to Maryland or Virginia counties with high-quality schools or send their kids to private school, and those who can’t or won’t.
The non-choice residents comprise the kids who are really being left behind by poor education. Some can get into charter schools, but there aren’t enough highly-performing charter schools to serve everyone. There is no question that we need to provide a better education to break the cycles of poverty and crime and help kids go on to college, a prerequisite for most well-paying jobs in today’s society.
[Continue reading David Alpert’s post at Greater Greater Washington.]
David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.