An independent study commissioned by the DC Deputy Mayor for Education (DME) and released today identifies the ten communities across the District with the greatest gap between student demand and supply of high-quality education opportunities in the public system.
The study, Quality Schools: Every Child, Every School, Every Neighborhood, was conducted by the nonprofit IFF, based in Chicago, which has performed similar studies in other cities. It examined traditional public schools and charter schools in the District in each of the 39 neighborhood clusters, and then categorized them into four tiers based on school performance, ranging from “performing” (Tier 1) schools with high DC-CAS proficiency rates or steady improvement over the past five years to the most underperforming schools (Tier 4).
“All parents want and deserve quality schools for their children,” said Deputy Mayor for Education, De’Shawn Wright. “The report we are releasing today provides objective and very valuable information about neighborhoods in the city where we are not providing adequate high-quality public education opportunities, and now we know precisely where we must focus our efforts.”
“The report represents an important step forward in our ongoing education reform work,” noted Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “It provides an unprecedented level of clarity for both parents and policymakers and will inform key decisions for years to come. I look forward to a constructive public dialogue as we all work together to ensure our children get the world class education they deserve.”
Wright continued, “Our goal is to ensure that children across the city have access to high-quality education opportunities in their neighborhood, while maintaining and supporting the diversity of our public schools.”
To make progress towards this goal, DME will be working closely with D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) and the Public School Charter Board (PCSB) leadership in the months ahead, using the study’s findings as a starting point to identify potential alternatives and solutions. Together, the first step will be to engage parents and community members in each of these ten highest-need communities to review the data, solicit their feedback, and discuss the solutions available to close the education opportunity gaps.
In a joint statement, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson and PCSB Executive Director Scott Pearson said “We applaud Deputy Mayor Wright and his team for leading this analysis of high quality education options in the District of Columbia. We wholeheartedly agree that we must provide additional quality seats for parents and families of the District in each and every neighborhood, regardless of background, circumstance or income level.”
“This is just the first step in the process. No final decisions will be made until my office, DCPS, PCSB and other school representatives have had a thorough conversation with the community and conducted a comprehensive review of the solutions available to us,” added Wright.
The report found that 68 percent of the total gap between student need for performing schools and current available supply is concentrated in ten neighborhood clusters. Further, only 15 percent of charter school students and 13 percent of DCPS students are currently attending a Tier 1 school.
For a copy of the full report, visit http://dme.dc.gov/DC/DME/IFF+Needs+Assessment+Report