Washington D.C. Schools Seek Spots For All

Washington D.C. Schools experienced an uneven distribution of student enrollment in 2006. Public school population declined in a rapid trend for the past ten years as they Washington D.C. Schools lost more students to the private schools and voucher programs. The vouchers allow participants to enroll in private schools and the funding pays for $7,500 worth of fees and tuition. The D.C. Public School District was alarmed and made efforts to corral their remaining students. Washington D.C. Schools’ officials received increased salaries, many of them making more than $150,000 dollars annually. These pay raises have been questioned by local publications. In response to the questions, the schools district’s media strategist claims that the raises were necessary to ensure the best leadership for Washington D.C. Schools.

Many Washington D.C. Schools’ parents wanted an extension of the voucher programs, due to their effectiveness and cost saving strategies. However, the consensus seems to be that vouchers would be more effective if they encompassed all of Washington D.C. Schools’ students. The solution seems to lie in the funding. As it stands currently, the vouchers are federally funded, saving the Washington D.C. Schools an incredible amount of money each year. If the vouchers become locally funded, the Washington D.C. Schools would save less money, but would increase school choices for students.

The troubled Washington D.C. Schools are going through other changes. Efforts have been made in the arena of educational overhaul. As recently as last year, the superintendent set a new list of standards for all grade levels to meet, referred to as the Master Education Plan. There was an emphasis placed on math time, reading time, and science time every day in the classrooms of Washington D.C. Schools. Additionally for high school students, community service and mathematical requirements were annexed to the curriculum. These new rigorous courses and high standards were enacted in an effort to maintain Washington D.C. public school enrollment. The Washington D.C Schools’ superintendent is competing against tantalizing vouchers. Because students decide to go private through vouchers in middle school, these grade levels face the most overhauls. The superintendent is attempting to unify all Washington D.C. middle schools. A reconfiguration of grades will affect the standard k-5, 6-8, and 9-12 grade progression throughout all schools.

In addition to the improvement of existing Washington D.C. school curriculum, a new initiative called for the construction of 20 new schools and the updating of more than 100 school buildings currently in operation. This Master Facilities Plan and is coupled with the Master Education Plan. The Master Facilities Plan also organizes high schools on single campuses, moves system administrative offices to excess school buildings, joins feeder middles schools to high schools with similar academic emphases, and improves the special needs programs for students currently enrolled in nonpublic Washington D.C. Schools.

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