An op-ed in The Post on Sunday said the balance between the D.C. Public Schools and the charter schools resembles a “thoughtful weave of charters and traditional schools.” It’s not clear many others would agree.
Richard Whitmire, the author of a biography of former DCPS Schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and a recent book on the Rocketship network of charter schools, dubbed D.C. an “education hot spot” in his Post opinion piece. He noted the high proportion of top-ranked charter schools in the District and praised both Rhee and current DCPS Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson for making DCPS “the fastest-improving urban district” in the nation.
No doubt there are those who would quibble with some of these statements, but at least they’re based in fact. Where Whitmire goes off the mark is in characterizing the current relationship between DCPS and the charter sector as harmonious, and the pattern of DCPS and charter schools as “thoughtful.”
Whitmire seems to have overlooked the recent flap about joint planning that brought to light tensions that have been lurking under the surface of the generally cordial relationship between the two sectors in recent years.
DCPS and the deputy mayor for education want limits placed on where charters locate and on the number of charters that can be approved. The charter sector is adamantly opposed to that idea, saying it would threaten the very autonomy that has enabled them to thrive.
Natalie Wexler is the editor of Greater Greater Education and a member of the board of the D.C. Scholars Public Charter School. 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.