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Study Confirms DCPS Enrollment Decline

Audited enrollment figures quietly posted on Friday confirm that D.C. public schools suffered their steepest annual decline since the District started using an outside firm a decade ago to verify the student population.
Enrollment for the 2008-09 academic year stands at 45,190, down 8.5 percent from last year's 49,422. That figure has spiraled steadily downward, to 80,000 in 1980 and to 67,000 in 2000.
Public charter schools continue their upward trend, showing a more than 14 percent percent rise over last year, to 25,729 from 21,947. Charters now represent slightly more than 36 percent of the District's total public school enrollment.
It appeared initially that DCPS' drop would not be as steep. An Oct. 6 count showed 46,208 students in the system's 120 schools. But a subsequent review of student records by Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio and Associates, the audit firm retained by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), confirmed a larger drop.
The enrollment figures were posted Friday on the OSSE's website. The annual audited count is usually accompanied by an official announcement. But this year, none was made.

By Bill Turque  |  March 17, 2009; 11:07 AM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque , Education  
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I wonder if those numbers for the Charter Schools include all the Catholic Schools that were converted to Charters this year. If so it also indicates a lot fewer kids enrolled anywhere in DC.

Posted by: qaz2 | March 17, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

This is literally the brightest news I've read in weeks. Its nice to see DC parents making the smart move and denying to send their kids to the thug-mill that is most DCPSs.

Posted by: mendelsonmustgo | March 17, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

DC parents are again voting with their feet and choosing charters, religious or biting the financial bullet and sending their children to private schools. These figures are discouraging for DCPS and we hope we can reverse the declining trend.

Posted by: chelita | March 17, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I imagine Mayor Fenty and Chancellor Rhee hearing this news and saying "Ah, our plan is working!"

Posted by: efavorite | March 17, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

This is a double whammy. First it's a formal rebuke of Rhee, who in her second year, should have a established an image of reform and improvement in which the public should have a comfort level. second, the school age populace of this city is declining significantly as well.

Posted by: oknow1 | March 18, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Oknow1, you are right on! It is a formal rebuke and a sign that things are not working. Get a clue, mayor and chancellor.

Posted by: southyrndiva | March 18, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

My conniving mind thinks of a couple of possibilities, both favorable to Rhee/Fenty:

1) The Rhee/Fenty plan from the beginning was to bust the union and turn DCPS into all Charter schools.

2) That didn't work; instead, she's scaring people out of the schools - maybe inadvertently, but still very effectively.

Same result - DC goes Charter.

Too bad teachers are getting hit with books in the process and kids are fighting and not getting educated, but there's always some collateral damage in any bold reform effort by bold leaders willing to take bold actions. Look at Iraq!

Posted by: efavorite | March 18, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

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