Gray to Propose Giving Schools Chancellor Chartering Authority

Current charters enroll 43 percent of city students

Saturday, Jun 1, 2013  |  Updated 11:41 AM EDT
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Parents Push Effort to Save Elementary School

Mayor Gray will unveil his proposal Sunday.

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Parents Push Effort to Save Elementary School

Parents will proposed changing Middleburg Elementary School to a charter school to save it. Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports.
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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray will propose legislation that would give the District's schools chancellor power to approve new charter schools in the city.

Gray is set to announce the proposal in his weekly radio address Sunday, according to The Washington Post, who obtained a copy of Gray's prepared remarks.

In his planned address, Gray says he hopes the proposed legislation would attract charter school operators and give Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson a tool to improve traditional schools.

"We've seen some major improvements in our schools," Gray's prepared text reads. "But I want to see more gains and I want to see them faster."

According to the paper, Gray's proposal includes a provision that would allow charter schools in as-yet-undefined "high need" areas to become neighborhood schools, which any child living nearby would have a right to attend. Test scores posted by chancellor-chartered schools would count toward the D.C. school system's overall proficiency rates, though they would have independent control over budgets, curricula, and staff. Charter schools currently enroll 43 percent of the city's students, sometimes by lottery when not enough places are available for all who wish to go.

Currently, only the D.C. Public Charter School Board, an independent body, can authorize new charter schools in the city. A spokeswoman for that entity told the Post it supports the Mayor's proposal.

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