Scott Pearson, executive director of the D.C. Public Charter School Board (Courtesy of DCPCSB)
Scott Pearson, executive director of the D.C. Public Charter School Board (Courtesy of DCPCSB)

The D.C. Public Charter School Board recently denied proposals that sought to open three new public charter schools in the city.

The three proposals were submitted by BOLT Academy, Capital Village Academy and MECCA Business Learning Institute.

“Our goal is to provide D.C. students with quality and choice,” said Rick Cruz, board chair. “We assess all applications, including those submitted this year, with this in mind.”

The board, in determining the applicants had been close to meeting standards for approval, has encouraged them to make improvements and submit another application next year. In the past five years, the board has approved one-third of all applicants. Last year, of the seven applications submitted, three met conditional approval.

“Public charter schools in Washington, D.C., are some of the best in the country because the board thoroughly examines each application it receives — and approves only those which meet a very high standard,” said Scott Pearson, the board’s executive director. “The board determined that these applicants do not meet that standard.”

Charter School Waitlist Data

With more families seeking to enroll their children in a public charter school, waitlists to get into the schools are growing.

Here are a few highlights from the 2018 waitlist data:

– 11,317 individual students are on a waitlist to attend a PK-12 public charter school in the 2018-19 school year, an increase of 17 percent over last year.

– Roughly 66 percent of applicants are waiting for a spot at a high-performing (or Tier 1) public charter school.

– 13,611 total students on a waitlist are waiting for a spot in pre-kindergarten or kindergarten, an increase of 1,468 over last year. The greatest demand continues to be for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.

– 65 percent of public charter schools have longer waitlists than they did this time last year.

Pearson: DPCS Troubles Overshadowing Charter School Success

D.C. Public Charter Schools Executive Director Scott Pearson wrote in an recent essay that D.C. has faced nearly a year’s worth of bad news about DCPS, and it’s casting an unfair pall over the city’s public charter schools.

“This steady drumbeat has undermined confidence in the city’s traditional public schools — far more than is warranted, in my opinion,” he said, adding that DCPS “is a vastly better school system than it was in 2007, when Michelle Rhee and Kaya Henderson took the reins.”

Pearson’s essay, “The Broad, Long-Term Success of DC Public Charter Schools,” was published April 23 on the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Flypaper Education Writers Association Blog.

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