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Posted at 9:40 AM ET, 06/21/2010

Excellence in D.C. schools

By editors

By Delabian L. Rice-Thurston

What does “free, for your tax dollars,” Woodrow Wilson High School have that pricey St. Albans and Georgetown Day School also have? What do Wilson and Banneker Academic High School have that no public charter school has? They have National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. Wilson Senior High School had five National Merit semifinalists — as many as St. Albans and Georgetown Day had. Banneker Academic High School had two National Merit semifinalists. No public charter high school had any in 2010, and neither did a number of private high schools.

Now that the school year is over, and Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty have not seen fit to shout such major successes in our public high schools from the rooftops, allow me to do it for them. Yes, one day it will be wonderful when every public high school in our city has highly competitive students. But while we are on that road, trying to create excellence everywhere, we need to salute it where we have it. District residents should understand and support the excellence that does exist in our public schools.

Next year, I hope The Post will list National Merit semifinalists, as it has in years past. I also hope the D.C. Public Schools will revive some of the summer programs it used to foster high academic achievement among the best students in the city. Many years ago, the Superintendent’s Program for Potential National Merit Scholars gave bright students throughout the city a chance to come together and share enriching academic experiences over the summer. And it did produce results.

By editors  | June 21, 2010; 9:40 AM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, Mayor Fenty, education, schools  
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Next: More than one missed opportunity


Charter schools don't have them because charter schools DO NOT outperform traditional public schools. People think they do but that is a myth except for a few like KIPP. If you want to read more about that topic and the problem with our public schools today then read "The Death and Life of the Great American School System" by Diane Ravitch. It will change your mind about charters, privatization of public schools, competition, market driven education reforms and "reformers" like Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein who are doing more harm to public schools than people realize.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | June 21, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

UrbanDweller, I would agree with you 100% until you turn around and play the perennial blame game.

Anyone who thinks Michelle Rhee is doing harm to DCPS is simply ignorant and uneducated about DCPS. There is no clearer way to put it. You sound like a Tea Partier or Rush Limbaugh blaming Obama for everything. Take your misprinted sign, your flag bandanna and come inside from the corner where you're waving at cars.

Posted by: bbcrock | June 22, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

bbcrock: Actually, quite the opposite. I'm well educated, well read and well informed. The kind of person Rhee and others don't like. Do some research and you'll find her claims are fraudulent. I work in DCPS and I know. I also have data to back up my student achievement, unlike Rhee who put it on her resume but somehow is unable to produce the miraculous results she claimed her students achieved.

And for the record, I'm a democrat and voted for Obama. So you make assumptions about which you know nothing. Do some intelligent reading and research and come back to the blog when you are able to debate with some intelligence and correct information.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | June 22, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately that's not the game plan. While it is true that most agree that reforms are needed. This administration's goal is to make the public think that nothing is working ad if it is they seek and destroy. If Rhee can't claim it she won't acknowledge it. It would be interesting to know how many schools have failed to be reaccredited through Middle States since she's been here.

Posted by: candycane1 | June 23, 2010 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations to those hard working students! We should set aside anger towards DCPS administration, union, etc to salute these academic superstars!

Posted by: vnm202 | June 23, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

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