What Kaya Henderson really said about Middle Schools

January 22

Some have criticized DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson for reported remarks that the school system should “outsource” middle schools to charters. Here’s what she really said, which happens to be something that’s well worth considering.

Middle schools have been the subject of much debate, not just in the District and not just in recent weeks. We’ll take a close look at this complex subject in future posts, but let’s start with the exchange that triggered the recent controversy here.

Henderson made her comments on middle schools in mid-November, when the topic arose at a D.C. Council hearing on school boundaries and feeder patterns. Several Council members and a number of those who testified identified middle schools as a weak link in the DCPS system, with families often leaving after elementary school.

According to The Post, Henderson “suggested that perhaps the city should figure out how to funnel children to charter schools in the middle grades, arguing that ‘they know how to do middle school really well.’” Council member David Catania, who was chairing the hearing, retorted that he was “not about to outsource middle schools to charters.”

Since then, the exchange, as reported, has become fodder for tweets, sound bites and mayoral campaign rhetoric. Most recently, candidate Andy Shallal said that, while he didn’t want to “demonize” anyone, he did “take exception when the top educators say we cannot do middle school.”

[Continue reading Natalie Wexler's post at Greater Greater Education.]

Natalie Wexler is the editor of Greater Greater Education. She is a member of the boards of D.C. Scholars Public Charter School and the nonprofit One World Education. 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.

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