No such thing as a bad school in DC

Dunbar2
Old Dunbar High School being demolished in 2013


Are there any bad public schools in DC?

I think there are but I don’t know if I really want to bother with petty fights with people who feel the need to defend failure. No one is free to say that since a school fails to have a decent bell curve of failing and excelling students and is skewed towards failure, that maybe it could be a bad school. Nor can you point to low in-boundary participation, the mismatch of demographics between the school and the neighborhood, and empty seats and say that people/parents are saying something in their actions.

Personally, I know that acknowledging problems is the first step to recovery and towards success. Doesn’t guarantee success, but it helps to stop the self-deception.

There are some great public schools in the District of Columbia, not all of them charters.  Shepherd Elementary School in upper northwest, does an awesome job of educating black boys. Over 70% of Shepard’s African American boys, between 2016-2019, approached, met and exceeded expectations on PARCC scores in math and ELA. Sadly, this is rare.

The number of schools where black boys fail to meet or even partially meet expectations are many. So many. Both charters and DCPS. But I’m not going to name them for they have their defenders.

I get it. Education is hard. There is a mix of building issues, the kinds of families (students and parents) a school attracts, the staff who come and stay, and the leadership. These need to be in balance. But you can’t fix the problem and try to figure out what is out of wack if you won’t even identify what is a bad school.

I’ll be exploring Shaw schools, and I will name names.

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