The Washington Post

Henderson outlines boundary-change process

A citywide task force will lead the effort to determine new school boundaries and feeder patterns in the District, Chancellor Kaya Henderson said Wednesday.

DCPS will convene the task force next month, Henderson told the D.C. Council’s Education Committee in a hearing Wednesday. The task force will gather input from parents and community members before making final recommendations in June.

The changes would go into effect in the 2014-15 school year.

Boundary changes are likely to be even more politically difficult and explosive than Henderson’s controversial plan to close 15 city schools. The prospect of being shut out of desirable schools, especially those west of Rock Creek Park in the Wilson High School feeder pattern, is already triggering angst among parents.

Henderson floated the possibility Wednesday of eliminating boundaries and feeder patterns at the high school level. That would essentially do away with assigned neighborhood high schools, many of which are severely under-enrolled, and replace them with magnet and theme-based schools.

Giving students the chance to choose a high school based upon their interests might draw teens back into the school system from charters — especially if DCPS provides transportation to and from school, Henderson said.

How and whether that would work will be part of public conversation in the coming months.

Emma Brown writes about national education and about people with a stake in schools, including teachers, parents and kids.


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