Despite D.C.’s pledges, hundreds of families a year bypass city’s public middle schools

According to the Washington Post’s Alejandro Matos, hundreds of D.C. parents with children in traditional elementary schools yank them out of the system before they can reach their neighborhood middle schools, preferring to hunt for other educational options.

City records show that more sixth- and seventh-graders now enroll in charter schools — privately operated but publicly funded — than in traditional public schools. D.C. Public Schools holds a numerical edge in all other grades, from kindergarten through high school.

Middle schools pose such a challenge for DCPS that when Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) ran for office in 2014, she pledged to strengthen them throughout the city, ensuring that every campus in the system offered high-powered academics, clubs and athletics.

She called it “Alice Deal for All” — a slogan referring to the city’s most sought-after traditional middle school.

Alice Deal Middle, with more than 1,470 students in the Tenleytown neighborhood of Northwest Washington, continues to have a long waiting list and is at capacity. But two years after Bowser took office, there are few signs that demand for other DCPS middle schools is rising.

“If you are not in an affluent neighborhood, where you have fabulous DCPS elementary schools that feed into Deal, you are really left with slim picking,” said Selma Patillo-Simms. Her son, Grant-Austin Simms, is an eighth-grader at District of Columbia International, a charter school. His assigned DCPS secondary school was Columbia Heights Education Campusan option Patillo-Simms said she did not want because of its performance on standardized exams. Read more here.