Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Wilson decides to forego charter

Woodrow Wilson High School, one of the District's most successful public schools, has abandoned its quest to convert to a charter school. Why? Mainly because it successfully wrested away more autonomy from the DCPS central office. Using a strategy not unlike the Duke Ellington School used half a decade ago Wilson, like Duke, will have more control over the hiring of teachers as well as a bigger say on financial matters. Not everyone is happy, though.
Some education activists said the move to give Wilson more autonomy could spark complaints of unequal treatment from schools in other parts of the city.

"I wouldn't want the race card being played between schools east of the [Anacostia] river and west of" Rock Creek Park, said Darlene Allen, president of the D.C. PTA. Tensions could erupt "if the superintendent establishes no criteria spelling out how schools could get this," she said.
If this move spurs other public schools to press for more autonomy it may go a long way to forcing DCPS to get its administrative house in order.
The city's base allocation is $8,550 per high school student. But Wilson gets $5,444, according to Nicole K. Conley, the school system's director of resource allocation and management. The rest of the money stays at the central office for such administrative services as security, human resources, procurement and maintenance, she said.
UPDATE: More in the Common Denominator.

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