While I’ve heard the moaning about the DC Public School System since my first days in DC, I never really cared about it. I was a swinging single and my whole goal was to keep away from anything kid-related, though many would say I acted child-like.
But now that I’m soon to be a parent, I am thinking more about my child’s future education, and as a District resident, the schooling options. Looking around, I see a lot of promises broken and lives wasted in the DC Public School system, yet hope with Public Charter Schools.
So I propose a radical change: Let’s ditch the failing public schools for a fully Public Charter School System.
Here we have one of the highest-cost, lowest performing public education systems in the United States, and our city government is expending untold millions of dollars and political capital to fix. The problems are myriad, and all of them, from lack of parental involvement to aimless youth, to an entrenched & bloated bureaucracy, seemingly intractable.
Faced with this boondoggle, parents are desperate for options and have already created a parallel system to educate their children. Over 40% of parents send their children to Public Charter Schools, and I would argue that they are the 40% that care about their child’s education. In addition, Public Charter Schools are doing a better job of educating at less cost. And almost all require greater parental involvement, student motivation, and teacher engagement than public schools.
I know that when my child gets to be school age, they’ll be headed off to a cool bilingual charter elementary school – we now have several schools to choose from in Petworth, some more convenient than others.
So why not take all taxpayer & Gates Foundation money that’s currently going down the public school rathole, and put it towards an all-charter school system? We could save the the DC government a few billion a year and give a better education to the city’s children.
Or look at it another way: could a fully Public Charter School system really be worse than what we have now?