DC Schools Getting Stronger

Late last week the Washington Post published an op-ed by Richard Whitmire that added to the growing chorus recognizing the heartening improvement in DC’s public school system. (Progress in the D.C. schools: Many authors and a surprising path.) 

The article cites the recent release of federal data showing strong growth in both the traditional public school system and the charter school sector.  It could easily have also cited many other indicators: steadily improving results on the DC CAS, improving graduation rates, the Stanford CREDO study on the quality of DC’s charters, and the reversal of a fifty-year slide in public school enrollment.

The article singles out three individuals – DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, KIPP DC Executive Director Susan Schaeffler, and me. 

While I appreciate the shout-out, let me use this space to extend the props.

First on my list would be the school leaders and teachers who are the ones actually producing the improved results.  Mayor Gray deserves a lot of credit for sticking with the reforms and for his increasingly even-handed treatment of charter schools.  His Deputy Mayor for Education Abigail Smith has been instrumental in fostering collaboration between the different sectors that make up public education in the city.  And credit is due also to the D.C. Council, which consistently makes available resources for education that are the envy of the rest of the country.

Also, the op-ed refers to PCSB’s Performance Management Framework as belonging to me.  While I lead our staff to implement the PMF with fidelity, I can’t take any credit for the system itself.  It was developed under the leadership of my predecessor, Jo Baker, and the PCSB board.   As with so many things, PCSB’s current success owes a great debt of gratitude to them. 

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