Friday question of the day

Public, Private, or Charter School? That is the question. I do not have any children that I know of, nor, despite my mother’s pleas, are any children imminent but I know this is a huge question for young families living in Petworth. Now, I am a product of New York’s public schools. More specifically, I am a product of Long Island’s public schools. I am not a tough guy and fortunately for me, Long Island’s public schools were not too intimidating. Unless you are intimidated by high hair and thick accents. But that is beside the point. The question that I raise to you all is: what are you going to do if or when your children become of school age? Will you send them to public school? I know I am not rich and the thought of sending a future child to a private school seems unrealistic. While my children no doubt will be tougher than I, DC public schools can be dangerous and let’s be frank just downright pretty awful. How can I contemplate sending them to public school? Can I send them to public elementary school or would they still get their asses kicked? What is the alternative? Move to the suburbs? Unacceptable. Send them to a Charter, Catholic or other private school? It really has me baffled. So I ask you: Petworth, Columbia Heights, U Street and Washington DC residents in general – where will have you/will you send your kids to school?

12 Comment

  • Saint Gabriel’s. No two ways about it.

  • That is a dilemna that i have faced for the past 14 years. My son has been in private school since he started. Public school was NEVER an option because of the behavior issues associated with public school and because of test scores. Sure, it’s an expensive option, but I have peace of mind knowing that my son will not unneccesarily be placed in harms way if i can help it.

  • There are two very highly regarded charter schools in the CH/PW area: Capital City on 15th & Irving (Pre-K through 8th) and E.L. Hayne, which is building a new facility at Georgia & Otis (Pre-K through 5th). The only catch is that both of these schools are oversubscribed, so if you don’t win the lottery you are out of luck. Charter schools combine the best of public and private schools in my opinion: they are publicly financed but have the autonomy of a private school. We are fortunate to have two good charter schools in our neighborhood.

  • Hi Prince. I read your blog often and felt compelled to respond to this issue, especially after the recent Supreme Court’s ruling. My husband and I currently don’t have children but plan to one day and the issue of schools is something I often think about. It will most likely be a difficult decision because I believe in supporting public services and was lucky to attend a wonderful public school system in Boulder, CO. Howerver, we owe it to ourselves and to the children of DC to work together to create and foster a public school system that is equal and prepares children for the future in increasingly competitive workforce.

  • Well, I’m opting for DCPS, lumps, bumps and all. The other half is a product of DCPS and teaches in the system and I figure that gives us a leg up. Plus, I’m the child of a public school teacher.

  • I don’t know the details — perhaps someone else does — but I just heard today that there is talk of closing the Park View Elementary school at 3560 Warder St (between Manor and Newton) because only 300 students are enrolled at the moment and there don’t seem to be enough kids for it. . . anyone heard anything else?

    To answer the question — I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll get into the lottery at one of the charter schools — there’s a new science/math charter school moving from adams morgan into the neighborhood. . .

  • j.con what are some of the reasons why you like St. Gabriel’s? It’s down the street from us but I really don’t know much about the school. Thanks!

  • Hi Prince,
    You’re from Long Island? Me too…

    To answer your question, my wife and I plan to send our future potential kid to Cap City Charter School, if we win the admissions lottery, or Oyster Bilingual in Woodley Park – private schools until then.

  • Cesar Chavez Charter School for Public Policy is also moving a junior high school into the area (Kenyon St at Sherman Ave) in 2008 after they renovate the building

  • I’m really glad to hear about these options. I have to admit when I read this post, all I was thinking was “by that time, I’ll have to be living in the suburbs.” The elementary school in my neighborhood, Powell Elementary, was featured positively in a Post multimedia story that accompanied its latest series about DCPS. But Macfarland Middle and Roosevelt High? I”ve been in the latter school, and, no. I just can’t see going that route — not without major changes.

    I’d also love to know more about St. Gabriel.

  • My daughter is 10 and in the sixth grade. She attends Oyster and will through 8th grade thanks to the foresight of the terrific principal – continuity of education could change the DC schools for the better. I am lucky to have her there, but overall I believe in public school education.

    If educated, informed parents all pull their kids into private schools where does it leave those with no options. We are the ones who have the skills and abilities to make schools better and make a decent education a reality for everyone.

    I plan to have more children and will send them to DC public schools.

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