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No Charters for Kids of Board Vice-Chair

Brian W. Jones, vice chairman of the D.C. Public Charter School Board, was finishing up his testimony at the D.C. Council's confirmation hearing today for an old friend and colleague, Kerri L. Briggs, the Acting State Superintendent for Education, when he mentioned that he was the father of two school age children.

Where do they go to school? Chairman Vincent C. Gray asked.

It turns out that Jones' kids are finishing up kindergarten and third grade not at one of the District's 59 public charter schools but at Maret, the posh Woodley Park private school.

Jones, a former general counsel for the U.S. Department of Education, is part of a lengthy list of public officials, from President Obama to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who have opted for private schools for their children. He acknowledged there was something a bit awkward about his position on the board and his choice of schools.

"I do aspire to get them into charter schools," he said, but only after getting them off to the best possible start.

"We didn't want to take any chances," said Jones.

He added that while at the Education Department he was "present at the creation" of the D.C. voucher program, which was proposed to then-Secretary Rod Paige by then-Mayor Anthony Williams and charter activist Kevin Chavous.

"I think it's important that low-income families in the city have an array of effective options for their kids' education like I have," Jones said.

Bill Turque

By Bill Turque  |  May 28, 2009; 6:55 PM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque , Education  
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He's the former general counsel for the DOE. That's a good job with a good salary. Why shouldn't his kids be in private school? Though where he lives, i'm sure the public schools are great.

Posted by: chelita | May 29, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Yet more evidence that Charters are nothing more than Republican-led, capitalist ventures (under the guise of helping "poor" folks obtain more options for education) designed to undermine public schools and teachers unions. How can this man tout the "wonderfulness" of charter schools (even going so far as to say he "aspire[s]" to enroll his own children in one) while paying private school tuition? What is there to aspire to? Just register them!! It's apparent he speaks with forked tongue. I wonder how public schools would fare if the same dollars allocated to charters were similarly invested in public schools?

Posted by: Now_What_Now | May 29, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

He means he hopes that someday charter schools will be good enough for him to send his kids to. Meanwhile, he's making sure they get a good start at a private school.

It completely disingenuous, though. As long as the charter schools are in minority neighborhoods, he wouldn't send his kids there. If things got rough financially, he'd sooner move his family to Montgomery or Fairfax County.

Posted by: efavorite | May 29, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

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