Last Friday, as I was about to board a plane, I read an article about an exciting initiative being launched in Washington, D.C.
During the flight, I drafted a long, gushing piece, praising Abigail Smith, the new deputy mayor for education, and arguing that D.C. was becoming the most important city for systemic reform after New Orleans.
Upon landing, I was on the verge of posting the piece when I saw another D.C. schools announcement.
This one took the wind from my sails.
I sadly shelved the paean.
Here’s the story: D.C. has recently undertaken two invaluable reforms that, when combined with the city’s other systemic features, place D.C. on the brink of becoming the urban school system of the future.
But a third announcement shows that some city leaders are still tragically wedded to the old, failed approach.
I’ll start with the good news, then the bad, and end with a recommendation for solidifying D.C.’s place as a national model for systemic reform.
The Mayor’s Office announced that unused district facilities will be made available to charters (with a preference for high performers) and that the city will establish a common enrollment system for district...