Nonprofit Charters to Run D.C. Failing Schools

Michelle Rhee moves forward on her plan to use outside providers and charter schools to restructure DC’s low-performing schools. Rhee seems to be taking an approach that includes parents in the discussion. Via today’s Washington Post. D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee plans to hire up to six nonprofit educational companies to help run the city’s 10 comprehensive high schools and has invited parents to meet with her tonight to discuss the details. An official from Friendship Public Charter Schools in the District, one of the organizations asked to submit a proposal, said Rhee wants contractors to take over one grade in the fall and then run entire schools beginning in 2009. For months, Rhee has discussed hiring firms as one of five options she could use under the federal No Child Left Behind law to fix 10 high schools and 17 elementary and middle schools. Students there missed academic benchmarks on the system’s standardized test for five consecutive years. Rhee’s plan applies only to the high schools. Rhee’s plan names six nonprofit organizations: Bedford Academy High School in New York; Friendship Public Charter School in the District; Institute for Student Achievement in Lake Success, N.Y.; Mastery Charter Schools in Philadelphia; St. HOPE Public Schools in Sacramento; and Talent Development High Schools in Baltimore.