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Posted at 10:04 AM ET, 10/ 5/2010

D.C. school enrollment up 1 percent

By Washington Post editors

The D.C. public school system's enrollment has increased by 1 percent this fall after nearly four decades of losses, city officials announced Tuesday.

Any gain over last year's 44,467-student count would represent a significant educational and symbolic breakthrough for the long-struggling system, which just last week endured the embarrassment of hearing from President Obama that it was not a suitable option for his daughters.

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By Washington Post editors  | October 5, 2010; 10:04 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Education  
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Comments

The passage of the Pre-K for All legislation in DC guarenteed universal Pre-K for three and four year olds in the district. This legislation was carried by DC Council Chair Vincent Gray and receives annual funding. Under the Fenty administration the funding for this universal Pre-K program was mostly directed to DCPS - so it is not surprising that enrollment has increased. Free full day Pre-K that includes free breakfast and lunch regardless of income level is hard to beat. And before Rhee came, the Pre-K program in DCPS was one of the best in the country with a national ranking of 9 out of 10 on the National Institute of Early Education Research quality index. What is interesting, if not surprising is that when Michelle Rhee came to DCPS she was not supportive of the Pre-K program, believing it did not belong in a K-12 system. She immediately stopped plans to open a number of new Pre-K classrooms her first year only to be persuaded by families a few weeks before the start of school that this was a good idea. Staff had to scramble to open a number of new Pre-K classrooms on time without the resources and support to do it right. Ms. Rhee has since learned that the Pre-K program is the key to growing enrollment.

Because Gray carried the Universal Pre-K legislation, and has been supportive of distributing the wealth among all Pre-K programs in the district, DCPS may not be the sole recipient of the Pre-K funds in the future. It will be interesting to see what happens. It will also be enlightening to see how many students have remained in the system compared to past years. I hope that information is forthcoming.



Posted by: highquality4kids | October 5, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

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