More Clowning…But Not So Funny For D.C. Students…

Not content with just harranguing SEED, Washington DC’s resident band of educlowns are now after schools superintendent Janey and KIPP reports Dion Haynes in Saturday’s Washington Post. At Quick and the Ed Kevin Carey uses the wonders of technology to unpack some of the self-interest for you, but the role of “Save Our Schools” is again worth noting.

At issue is a novel plan where the District of Columbia Public Schools would partner with KIPP and share space in a neighborhood school so that students would move from the traditional public school into KIPP in the 5th-grade. The plan is in part the brainchild of DC Superintendent Janey who apparently understands that with more than 20 percent of DC students now in public charter schools, accommodating parental demand might be a good idea.

Yet along comes “Save Our Schools” again. In case you had any doubt this was all ideological, remember that not too long ago these clowns were attacking public charter schools because they allegedly “skimmed” students, were non-selective, and so forth. But now, say the clowns, the problem with this arrangement is that because KIPP schools, like other public charter schools, are open-admission, some of the students from this elementary school might not find space in KIPP! That’s right, the problem isn’t that charter admissions are unfair, it’s that they’re too fair! As Haynes’ story points out this is less of a problem than it might appear and the obvious solution is another KIPP school if they’re that much in demand by parents.

Of course, if the SOS’ers really gave a damn about open-admission as an issue or principle they’d be protesting DC’s wildly popular and successful Banneker High School and Duke Ellington, both of which are public schools that are not open admissions. But this isn’t really about that. It’s about power and “the system” regardless of the impact on the kids. It’s a tragedy that bound by the journalistic convention of “on the one hand” and “on the other hand” WaPo’s Haynes can’t just call BS when the SOSers say reactionary nonsense like this or just assert that public charter schools in Washington aren’t public. And the DCPS school board, some of whom are now fighting this new partnership idea, are again on their way to showing an uncanny ability to shoot the public schools in the foot. That’s not just clownish, it’s sad.

Disc: I’m a trustee of a public charter school in the District.

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