In the June 17 editorial “Punishing at-risk students,” the District’s Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn claimed the District bent over backward to help AppleTree find a location for our Tier 1 charter preschool and called us “irresponsible.” That’s hardly the case. The deputy mayor provided a list of office vacancies, which is like handing an unemployed person the help-wanted ads.
For four years before Mr. Kihn’s eviction letter, AppleTree’s leadership worked diligently to secure a permanent location in the rapidly developing Southwest-Navy Yard neighborhood. AppleTree lost a bid to a for-profit day care to remain in its redeveloped Riverside Baptist Church site. This spring, AppleTree secured leases for new, permanent space, which, unfortunately, will not be ready for occupancy next academic year. We asked for a one-year reprieve and were denied, because we are a public charter school. In his recent testimony before the D.C. Council’s Committee of the Whole, Mr. Kihn was criticized roundly by the council chairman and the Education Committee chairman for presenting a “study” rather than a “master facilities plan” as required by the law.
The District will make greater progress in increasing the public’s access to high-quality schooling when leaders take their responsibility for developing actionable public education facilities solutions more seriously, instead of blaming the victims of the city’s indifference.
Jack McCarthy, Washington
The writer is president and chief executive of the AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation and board chair of the AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School.