Not 'apples to apples' at D.C. schools
The four highest-funded schools on a per-student basis (i.e., the magnet institutions of Ellington, School Without Walls, Banneker and McKinley) educate their students for $19.2 million, an average of about $9,700 a student. The four lowest-funded schools (i.e., the neighborhood schools, Roosevelt, Ballou, Anacostia and Wilson) serve more than twice as many students as the magnet schools do, for a total of about $26.7 million, or an average of about $6,500 a student. I am curious to know what it is about the 4,123 students at the neighborhood schools that makes them worth only 67 percent of the value of each of the 1,986 magnet school students?
The principal of the School Without Walls had it right when he said that data from the Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals and Educators do not allow "apples to apples" comparisons, because indeed the data show that at some DCPS high schools, the city provides sugar-coated apple tarts, while other schools are left to pick through rotten ground apples. We simply have to find a way to more equitably carve up the proverbial apple pie.
First we have to close one, possibly two of the under-enrolled schools, saving administrative costs. Second, we have to curtail the roughly $5 million of “special subsidies” to the magnet schools. Third, we have to go back to the original model of the magnet schools and cut out their sports programs — by law any DCPS student can play sports at their neighborhood school, so the magnets need not fund the extra athletic programs. There are likely other redundancies that can and must be cut to help us navigate these troubled waters.
The writer is a board member of the Woodrow Wilson Management Corp., a nonprofit organization that helps manage facilities at Woodrow Wilson High School.
Jack Koczela, Washington
| February 10, 2011; 7:12 PM ET
Categories: D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, education, schools
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