April 26, 2006
Scott Montgomery Elementary School in Washington, D.C., is suffering from flagging enrollment. A new KIPP school, set to open in the District in July, is having trouble finding affordable real estate. The solution? Buddy up. In a first-of-its-kind move, the principals of Scott Montgomery and the newest KIPP Academy worked out a plan to share buildings and collaborate on teacher training. Students would attend Scott Montgomery from kindergarten through fourth grade and then would move upstairs to KIPP for grades 5-8. D.C. Public Schools Superintendent Clifford B. Janey backs the idea, but he isn't getting much support from his bosses. School Board Vice President Carolyn N. Graham has urged the two school leaders to revamp the plan. "We want to fully embrace a working relationship with KIPP, but we don't want to do it to the detriment of our student body and financial viability," she said, worried that the move would mean the loss of even more students and dollars from DCPS. But the greatest detriment to the D.C. student body surely isn't an innovative arrangement to provide better education for its students, it's the quality of the district public schools themselves, which are among the worst in the nation. If Graham is concerned that her financial viability might be in trouble, we suggest getting D.C.'s schools back on track. Teaming up with the most promising urban reform model in the nation is a good way to start.
"D.C. Public School Seeks Linkup With New Charter," by V. Dion Haynes, Washington Post, April 22, 2006