Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fatal Conceit 

So yesterday the Mayor and the DCPS Chancellor announced which of the 24 schools would be shuttered by next year. Members of the D.C. Council immediately started complaining that they were not part of the decision making process and at least one parent believes that Mr. Fenty reneged on a promise to keep her child's school open.

What a difference yesterday would have been if all of these schools were instead converted to charters.

The Mayor and the Chancellor would have announced that all of DCPS would now have to compete for students. Schools could offer special programs like art and Montessori but they would have to present business plans detailing how this is to be accomplished.

All schools would have a year or two to demonstrate that they have the students to support their facilities. If enrollment numbers did not meet projections then schools would be closed or moved.

Could you imagine the increase in quality that would result from such change? Schools would be desperate to improve their programs to attract as many families as possible. Programmatic decisions would be based on demand and not the whims of administrators.

It was said yesterday that the roster of schools to be closed was based upon work completed by three Washington Think Tanks. But they failed to talk to the most important one, the Cato Institute.

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