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Private schools seek to become charter schools

My colleague Michael Birnbaum reports:

The D.C. charter school board didn't attract a string of struggling Catholic schools seeking conversion in this year's charter applications, which were due Monday. But it did receive proposals from two existing private schools hoping to open public charter schools, along with applications from a D.C. teacher training nonprofit and 10 other groups.

The board will review the applications, hold two hearings in March and vote on them in April. Approved schools would open to students in the fall of 2011.

Two of the applicants, the Naylor Road School and the Kuumba Learning Center, are existing private schools that are seeking to win the right to operate as public schools. Both currently draw students heavily from the federal D.C. voucher program, which gives private school scholarships to students from low-income families, but is closed to new entrants and is likely winding down.

Update: Feb. 3: Kuumba Learning Center notes that it would continue operating its private school but wants to open an additional public charter school.

In its application materials, the Naylor Road School says "it has become unsustainable to remain open as a tuition-based program." But it expresses its hope to stay open as a public charter school, which would eliminate tuition for its students but subject it to D.C. accountability requirements such as the DC-CAS standardized tests.

Another one of the applicants, the Center for Inspired Teaching, is an established D.C. non-profit that trains teachers. It hopes to open a school that will give teachers-in-training the chance to partner with experts.

"We felt it was time to create a place where we could really have more direct influence over the conditions where we're training teachers," said Julie Sweetland, director of research, teaching and learning at the center. "We want it to be a showpiece and help disseminate creative teaching more widely."

She said the school would have a core staff of master teachers and a more itinerant staff of student teachers who would work in the same classrooms as the permanent teachers, spending a few years at the school before moving elsewhere.

The charter board didn't take any applications last year, and in 2008 it approved two of 10 applications.

By Washington Post editors  |  February 2, 2010; 6:25 PM ET
 
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Comments

With existing charter schools planning on some expansions and new ones created every year- last year it was the Catholic schools being bailed out and converted to charters- my question is this:

How many charter schools can DC sustain? DC still has a relatively small student population. Is anyone looking at the problems with having so many schools. Isn't it wasting money?

Posted by: letsbereal2 | February 2, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

SO...

Private Schools no longer have reliable income to fund their schools

SO...

the solution is to have tax dollars to fund them insteand while simultaneously funding public school education.

Question: What support did private schools EVER provide public school budgets. I'm sure school systems locally or nationally have received donations from the, for example, Catholic
Schools supported by the Archdiocese, toward public school budgets.

Fix public school system issues FIRST and what's left over,toward Charter programs.

I have no problem with choices, i.e. charter schools, but fix educational issues that plague the majority, i.e. public schools first.

Posted by: PGCResident1 | February 3, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Correction to post above...

Question: What support did private schools EVER provide public school budgets. I'm sure school systems locally or nationally DID NOT RECEIVE donations from the, for example, Catholic Schools supported by the Archdiocese, toward public school budgets.

Posted by: PGCResident1 | February 3, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

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