Sunday, March 30, 2008

Post profiles little used school choice option

When you think of school choice you normally think of charter schools, private schools and vouchers. However, there is another option that DC parents have when deciding on where to send their children for their educational needs: MD or VA public schools.
Among D.C. families of certain means, the start of high school creates a dilemma: send your child to a flawed neighborhood school, run the gantlet of private school applications and waiting lists, or move? Dozens of families choose yet another option: paying tuition for their children to attend schools in other counties or states under a little-known but nearly universal rule that allows public schools to accept students from other jurisdictions -- for a price.

"Everybody is always in a quandary about what to do about the public schools here," said Claudia Egger, mother of Julia, 18. "It just occurred to me to call" Bethesda-Chevy Chase, in Montgomery County.

Few public school parents would contemplate -- and many could not afford -- five-figure tuition for a service they are provided for free. Yet the Eggers think they are getting a bargain.

They didn't want their daughter at the local school, Woodrow Wilson Senior High. Julia told her mother, "I don't want to walk through a metal detector when I go to school every day."

Private school was an option but a costly one, with tuition approaching $30,000 at top schools.
I know it would probably never fly, but I'd love to see those parents who are paying to send their children to MD or VA private schools sue the District to recover from their District taxes the cost of sending their kids elsewhere.

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