Guest blogger Candice Santomauro is a parent of District of Columbia Public Schools students and director of development at GreatSchools.
In 2008, what little I knew about D.C. education came from a Time magazine article, the one with the now-infamous cover featuring Michelle Rhee with a broom. Sitting comfortably in my Florida home with my children safely ensconced in a posh private school, I remember thinking how sad it was that the situation was so dire for the children of our nation’s capital. But we were white, made good money, and lived in the suburbs, and Washington’s challenges seemed a world away.
I remember thinking how sad it was that the situation was so dire for the children of our nation’s capital.
Fast-forward to 2009, our lives turned upside down by the economic tumble, exacerbated in Central Florida by a huge housing bubble having burst and the diminishing space program, we found ourselves relocating to D.C. I accepted a position with a small private school in Southeast Washington, ironically just a few blocks from some of the schools profiled in the Time article.
My then-seven year old would attend there as well, as we had known nothing else but private schools, and her tuition was a perk of working at the school. This private school was different, though, as it was 100 percent African American, attended by many D.C. Opportunity Scholarship recipients and children of low-income families whose tuition was supported by external foundations and private donations.