The District will roll out its 2011 DC CAS results for public and public charter schools Friday morning, Mayor Vincent Gray announced at his news briefing today. He deflected questions about the scores, saying that he had not seen any data nor had he been briefed.
What’s due Friday is likely to be only aggregate reading and math scores for elementary and secondary schools. DCPS said this morning that school-by-school data are usually not available until August.
It’s hard to tell whether the news will be good, bad or mixed. Government agencies traditionally off-load negative news on Fridays, assuming that light Saturday newspaper readership will limit a story’s impact. But that strategy seems beyond quaint in the digital age. The District is also giving this announcement some production energy, with multicolored fliers inviting a cross-section of stakeholders to the “special briefing” at the Safe Shores Child Advocacy Center at Bundy School.
In any event, the scores will be closely scrutinized, given the erasure revelations and last year’s decline in elementary reading and math proficiency numbers. Gray was asked whether the cheating scandal in Atlanta — where an aggressive criminal investigation has uncovered widespread misconduct — has given him pause about the lower-voltage inspector general’s probe here. He said, in essence, no.
One small but symbolically significant footnote to Friday’s CAS briefing: Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s name is nowhere to be seen on the announcement. It’s strictly Gray, Deputy Mayor for Education De’Shawn Wright and D.C. State Superintendent of Education Hosanna Mahaley. In the Fenty era, Michelle Rhee would have been center stage. Gray explained that if he were to list Henderson, he’d have to also mention the heads of more than 50 public charter schools that operate under the law as their own little school systems.
The messages Gray is reinforcing here: The era of the rock-star chancellor is over, and that with nearly 40 percent of the city’s public school population, charters are no longer the stepchildren of D.C.’s education system.