Monday, January 05, 2009

The Washington Post Charter Stories 

I'll have more to say on this subject but for starters here's the letter to the Editor that the Washington Post has not published. Please note that the newspaper did issue a "clarification" which is now seen when you look at the article on line.

December 14, 2008

Letter to the Editor
The Washington Post

Dear Sir,

I have been interested for years in your newspaper publishing an in depth article on D.C.’s charter school movement since I believe that the public knows little about how these innovative organizations operate. Your article that appeared was widely off the mark.

In fact, in regard to the school of which I serve as the Board of Directors your reporters got the information entirely wrong. Mr. Nida voted against the William E. Doar, Jr. Public Charter School for the Performing Arts opening its high school two years earlier than planned. If he was so interested in making money off the tenant improvements this increase in students would bring then he disguised his true feelings to a degree not known since the days of President Richard Nixon.

Rather than becoming the new Woodward and Bernstein, your reporters completely missed the real story of one school’s attempt to develop 20,000 square feet. Once the charter board, in spite of Mr. Nida’s opposition, agreed to allow us to proceed it took us two years of working day and night to close a $1.6 million construction loan with United Bank, for whom Mr. Nida works. Many times it was difficult to get United to return our calls.

But at least we did obtain a loan through this bank while other lenders would not even consider the idea. Thousands of D.C. children are better off today because United Bank assisted charters in obtaining facilities in which they could learn. This is what your reporters should have uncovered. I guess the good old days are gone.

Mark S. Lerner

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