Correction: An earlier version of this letter incorrectly identified Kevin P. Chavous as executive counsel to the American Federation of Teachers. He is with the American Federation for Children. The following version has been updated.
While I respect D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s eager embrace of reform at the D.C. Public Schools, she is off the mark when she says that continuing the city’s approach to public charter schools could give rise to a “cannibalistic environment,” where “somebody gets eaten” [“ Site of D.C. charter fuels debate over coordination ,” Metro, July 6].
District charters educate 44 percent of D.C. public school students, have better educational outcomes than traditional public schools and have led to improvements in DCPS. Charters’ on-time high-school graduation rates are 21 percentage points higher than those of DCPS. And charter students, a higher share of whom are economically disadvantaged than DCPS peers, outperform the latter on standardized tests.
Competition from charters motivated the D.C. Council to make DCPS accountable to the mayor, leading to reforms that improved test scores and graduation rates.
That a proven high-quality charter school plans to open near Langley Elementary is an opportunity, not a threat. Parents will decide which schools work best for their children, whether it’s a traditional DCPS school or a charter.
Kevin P. Chavous, Washington
The writer is executive counsel to the American Federation for Children and a former D.C. Council member.