23 Feb 2010

Public Can Weigh in on Future Charter School March 15 & 16

photo originally uploaded to flickr by david.nikonsvcanon

Did you ever go to an “information” meeting and leave knowing little more than you did when you walked in the door? That was the reaction of many to the meeting convened last Wednesday to discuss plans for a charter school at the present home of the International Graduate University behind Safeway on 13th Street SE. The Washington Post covered the meeting and education writer Bill Turque summed it up by describing Hill residents as “frustrated.” To ensure the upcoming public hearing is more of a dialogue, make sure to get on the list of speakers ahead of the meeting. Details are below.

“I left early because Mr. Boek started with his usual accomplishments of the past 50 years or so and shows us pictures of famous people that have visited IGU or been visited by Mr. Boek,” said Hill East resident Lisa Bergman. “After a half hour of this, people repeatedly asked him if we could speak about the Charter School and he said when he was done and that if people didn’t like it they could leave.” Bergman left.

Tommy Wells is skeptical about the proposal and his Chief of Staff, Charles Allen, reminds neighbors that the city’s decision to move forward, for better or worse, is “completely within the hands of the Charter School Board. They are the authority that gives charters out, and they are not responsible to report to the Council – so our influence will be somewhat limited. With the hearing set in mid-March, neighbors in opposition should organize to attend that hearing and testify.”

The hearings will be held March 15 (6-9:30 p.m.) and March 16 (6-8:30 p.m.) at the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School, 1100 Harvard Street, NW. Those interested in addressing the board must register beforehand by calling 202.328.2660 the day of the meeting. There are 13 new proposed charter schools on the agenda. Two schools, the Inspired Teaching Demonstration Public Charter School and Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School, indicate their locations are undetermined but Ward 6 could be a possibility.

According to the Charter School Board, comments at the hearings should address:

  • The expected benefit of the proposed charter school to students, parents, and the community;
  • The impact the proposed charter school is likely to have on other public schools in the District of Columbia; and
  • The impact of the proposed charter school on the quality of educational practice.

The board’s website says they will make a decision regarding the applications at the meeting to be held on April 19.

Will you reserve a spot on the speakers list — and what will you say?

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  • James Roberts

    Tommy Wells needs to get to work; “not my issue; and I am impotent to respond” is not going to fly. Tommy Wells needs to step up and testify at the Hearing against this proposal. His experience on the School Board and the fact that he represents this Ward 6 require him to not ring his hands and be a leader.

  • Charles Allen

    Mr. Roberts,

    I think you may have missed a few statements, communications and meetings on this subject.

    Tommy has commented several times on the proposal, including a letter of opposition to the Public Charter School Board — http://bit.ly/cam1li.

    He’s also had his staff working with neighbors who are organizing to testify in opposition at the hearing on the 16th.

    I don’t see any ringing of hands going on.

    If you take issue that the Charter School Board isn’t accountable to the City Council, there’s not much I can do about that — it’s simply the facts. But it’s not accurate to say Tommy isn’t leading and working with the community on this issue.

    Charles Allen

  • James Roberts

    He did write a letter and we are grateful.

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