That's My Take: DC Public Schools - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

That's My Take: DC Public Schools

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WASHINGTON -

A few weeks ago, D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced a five-year plan to boost the achievements of the District's 123 public schools and dramatically raise high school graduation rates. 

The goals of Henderson's plan are aggressive. They include:

- raising the math and reading proficiency rates from 43 percent to 70 percent

- increasing the proficiency rates of the 40 poorest performing schools by 40 percent

- boosting graduation rates from 53 percent to 75 percent

- adding a pilot program to expand the school day at some schools

But Henderson has already gone on the record saying that this aggressive plan can not be achieved given the current size of the District's public school system. 

We have too many schools with low enrollments creating an inefficient system. 45 schools have less than 300 students. D.C. averages 382 students per school compared with Fairfax County, which averages 915 students per school. 

Closing schools, as the Chancellor has called for after the 2012-13 school year, is the most effective way to increase the efficiency of the schools system. 

We agree with Henderson. We can no longer afford to run 123 public schools.

Closing schools is the "third-rail" for all school officials. Chancellor Henderson surely knows this. But, to her credit, she has proposed a series of community discussions regarding the number and location of the schools that should be considered for closing, renovation or replacement by charter schools.

Chancellor Henderson's office tells FOX 5 that a series of State of the Schools meetings will be held in each ward over the next few weeks. So if you care about making the District's public school system better, this is your time to share your thoughts about this critical issue. 

But understand this, as long as all those vested in the process of improving the District's public school system know that there is no gain without some pain, we call all look forward to a more successful and efficient public school system in the future. 

That's my take. Let me know what you think. Go to MyFoxDC.com and click on That's My Take or send me an email at tmt@wttg.com.


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