The Washington Post

Where are federal taxpayers’ school voucher dollars going?

The Muhammad University of Islam, on Kenilworth Avenue NE, is unaccredited but has benefited from voucher-holding students. (Astrid Riecken — For The Washington Post)

Public education in the District of Columbia, it has been said, is a three-legged stool. You have your traditional D.C. Public Schools, your independent charter schools, and a third leg that isn’t public at all: Private-school vouchers, funded by the federal government. The Post’s Lyndsey Layton and Emma Brown look at where exactly those 1,584 students and $20 million a year are going. Half are going to Catholic schools, a few attend upscale private institutions. But hundreds of students are using their vouchers at unaccredited or otherwise unconventional schools, “such as a family-run K-12 school operating out of a storefront, a Nation of Islam school based in a converted Deanwood residence, and a school built around the philosophy of a Bulgarian psychotherapist.” The upshot: “At a time when public schools face increasing demands for accountability and transparency, the 52 D.C. private schools that receive millions of federal voucher dollars are subject to few quality controls and offer widely disparate experiences.”

In other news:

At least one campaign aide warned Vincent Gray about the “shadow campaign” in 2010 (Post)

Blind item: Which D.C. candidate struck a cash deal to exit his or her race? (Post column)

Olney teen is stabbed to death inside Woodley Park Metro station (PostPostWTOPWUSA-TV)

Wilson disqualified from Turkey Bowl due to ineligible player; it’ll be Anacostia vs. Dunbar (Post)

Said player was ineligible because he lived in Maryland, raising questions about DCPS residency fraud (WaTimes)

Interim council member selection process “will not pick the best Democrat, let alone the best person, to serve our city” (Post op-ed)

DCPS dropped the ball on anti-truancy program, says Superior Court chief judge (Post op-ed)

Airports Authority takes a beating on Capitol Hill (PostWaTimesWAMU-FMWTOP)

D.C.’s high court nixes FOP-backed suit against police department (PostWaTimesWUSA-TV)

Can Kaya Henderson avoid Michelle Rhee’s school closing missteps? (Post)

The school closings state-of-play (D.C. Schools Insider)

Schools now on closure list, won $300,000 DCPS grant in June (Examiner)

DCPS is closing schools because charter schools are succeeding (Examiner)

Here’s what happened to the school buildings Adrian Fenty closed (Capital Business)

Anonymous letter accuses D.C. Lottery director of unethical behavior (WaTimes)

D.C. may now have a statue in the Capitol, but it’s not officially part of states’ collection (McClatchy)

Former Gray campaign aide says Hizzoner should decide on reelection bid by spring (Examiner)

Budget autonomy probably won’t be dealt with in congressional lame duck session (WAMU-FM)

A.J. Cooper says his “intentions are pure” in party switch (Loose Lips)

Marion Barry’s commitment to public schools wavered (Loose Lips)

Coolidge principal released pending trial on assault charge (WRC-TV)

Mary Cheh wants census of homeless gay youth (Examiner)

Eisenhower Memorial plans won’t be finalized till next year (AP)

Adams Morgan hotel opponents turn to the courts, Congress (Housing Complex)

Baltimore could teach D.C. a thing or two about school testing security (Post column)

For developers, “walkability” is king (Post)

Federal rules could stymie proposals to turn Georgetown heating plant into condos (WBJ)

Affordable housing task force could have recommendations ready by January (GGWDCFPI)

Good God, JBG is delivering a lot of apartments in the coming year (Curbed)

And will they build more on city-owned parcel on Sherman Avenue? (DCmud)

Ted Leonsis moves ahead with fancy new Verizon Center signs (WBJ)

Canal Park ice rink opens; Hizzoner rides a Zamboni (PostWJLA-TVJDLandDCist)

Saturday was Superior Court’s annual Adoption Day (PostWTOP)

No, McFadden’s, this was not a good idea (GOGBlog)

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.



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Mike DeBonis · November 16, 2012

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