What Standards Does the “New DC” Expect?
DC schools need to meet the standards of the “New DC”. DC ‘s school system consists of 195 schools that serve over 32,000 students in both public and charter schools. According to the DC Public School website there’s a five year plan for DC Public Schools to:
1) Improve Achievement Rates
2) Invest in Struggling Schools
3) Increase Graduation Rates
4) Improve Satisfaction
5) Increase Enrollment
Will This Be Enough?
The focus on college preparation and/or technical training could be implemented very early. However, in an effort to allow for a smooth flow of transitioning from elementary school through high school standardized resources and programs could be offered across the board. It’s important for all of the elementary and middle schools to be on the same page so that by the time students reach high school everyone has covered exactly the same material using the same educational tools and curriculum.
According to the Office of The State Superintendent of Education’s website both the DC Public Schools and DC Charter Schools assessment exam scores increased by nearly four points for math and reading last school year. That’s encouraging news for families who are residing in DC and those who are considering relocating to the area.
It appears that the steps taken thus far foster the process of assisting every child who wants to further his/her education after middle school and high school. Meeting all of the students’ academic needs is important in order to supply the community’s businesses with qualified personnel. Perhaps local businesses could contribute to the educational system by offering more internships for high school students. Hence, students would have work experience upon graduation to place on their college applications. To say the DC public schools need to make drastic changes to meet the standards of the young families moving to the District is an understatement, despite their commitment to bettering all public schools in each ward. Many of the families and young professionals who have given up suburban living for vibrant urban living grew up going to well-funded school systems, with many available resources, and they expect those same standards for their own children. The range of quality in DC’s schools in wide, and geographically disparate. Many families find themselves faced with the choice of either sending their child to a mediocre public school, paying for private schooling through middle and high school, or moving out to the surrounding suburbs, where two of the connecting counties are in the nation’s top ten ranking. Close to 50% of the metro area’s private schools are religiously affiliated, primarily Roman Catholic or Episcopal, according to Private School Review. It is at their website where you can find many resources outlining the pros and cons of a family’s three main options when confronted with an ‘under-performing’ school as their in-district school: private school, homeschool, or relocation.
The issue of under-performing schools in the District is not an issue whose solution can be delayed. Many parents and soon-to-be parents are anxiously waiting to see what changes Muriel Bowser, recently elected mayor of DC, and the new Board of Education leaders will be doing to keep middle-class families with children (earning less than $100k per year) in the District.