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Mayor Bowser Kicks Off Education Week, Announces Change to DC’s School Lottery System

Monday, January 30, 2017

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles kicked off Education Week in Washington, DC by making a series of policy announcements. During the event at DC Bilingual Public Charter School, Mayor Bowser announced the establishment of a “walkability preference” in DC’s school lottery. The walkability preference will enable a public charter elementary school to offer a preference in admission to families living within half a mile of the charter school and more than half a mile away from their DCPS-zoned school. The optional preference will go into effect for the 2018-2019 school year.

“We are moving full steam ahead to ensure all our young people have access to the high-quality education they need and deserve,” said Mayor Bowser. “My Administration will continue to expand opportunity and make unprecedented investments in public education so that students from every neighborhood, in every ward are set up for success.”

The Mayor’s other announcements included:

Expanding Access to High-Quality Schools

  • In this year’s budget submission to the Council, the Mayor will include a 2.2% annual increase to the public charter school facilities allotment.
  • The Keene School will be awarded to DC Bilingual Public Charter School in Ward 4.
  • The P.R. Harris School will be awarded to the Charter School Incubator Initiative, which will develop the building for two public charter schools in Ward 8.
  • A community meeting will be held in February to discuss the solicitation of the Winston Education Campus in Ward 7 and Fletcher-Johnson Middle School in Ward 7, which will be made available to public charter schools.

Expanding Access to Data and Information

  • The release of a series of Fact Sheets detailing data on enrollment, academic programs in schools, and student demographics.
  • The development of a 10-year Master Facilities Plan, which will serve as the public education facilities directive in Washington, DC.
  • The opening of the Public Comment Period for the District’s state education plan proposal to the U.S. Department of Education, as required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

“We are serious about our commitment to expanding access to a high-quality education for all families that call the District home,” said Deputy Mayor Jennifer Niles. “I look forward to pushing the needle even further to ensure we meet the needs of all of our students.”

This year marks 10 years since the passage of the Public Education Reform Amendment Act (PERAA) in Washington, DC, which established the current public education structure and sparked critical reform efforts. Since PERAA’s passage, Washington, DC has seen dramatic improvements in educational outcomes, including eight consecutive years of increased student enrollment and, just last school year, DC’s highest ever graduation rate.

Follow DC Education Week on social media by using #EDweekDC.