An effort has been launched by the administration of the DC Mayor’s office in order to make it possible for a collaboration to be formed between the charter public schools and the traditional public schools in the city. The aim is to see an improvement in the outcomes for the students as well as effectiveness and efficiency in the operations and syllabus design of the schools. The charter community is, however receiving mixed signals from the mayor which is raising fears that the charter community might see its autonomy diminished.
A task force has been formed by the Deputy Mayor for Education in the city, Jennifer Niles. The task force will work on improving the public education scene in the city. The percentage distribution of students is 56 percent for the traditional public schools, while 44 percent attend the charter schools. Hence, if cooperation is achieved among the two categories of schools, it would certainly be in the best interests of most people. Cooperation can be obtained in areas like sourcing of study materials, in deciding on transportation for the children, recruitments of teachers, best practices as well as data sharing. Efforts need to be put in place to get the two sectors to work in synergy which was long overdue.
There is a worry that is festering in the school scene in the city, especially when it comes to political and educational administration. The anti charter feelings are present in certain circles and hence, many seek to control the way the charter schools are operating, the seats that are added, their location as well as who can enroll. These are areas that can be explored and discussed in a joint manner, but trying to dictate the terms here might prove to be counter productive. It might also go against the federal law that has set up the charter schools in the first place.
Most charter school defendants are particularly defensive about being told where to locate and where not. The district has not come forward in providing school spaces that are underused or surplus to these schools. Among the twelve buildings that were identified, only one or two were provided to K12 charter schools. Funds have also not been forthcoming for permanent facilities to be built for the charter schools. Ms. Niles, who has founded the EL Haynes public charter school, is, however, being seen as someone who can help bring about a balance of attention and focus to both kinds of public schools in the city.