DC Mayor Vincent Gray, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson and DC City Council: Immediately implement a moratorium on the closure of any DC Public Schools
Since 2008 DCPS has closed 29 schools, and the Mayor and Chancellor recently announced plans to close up to 20 more schools by the end of the 2013 school year.
These closures are harmful to students, teachers and communities and are being carried out in an unjust and discriminatory manner. An immediate moratorium is necessary because:
• No evaluation has been conducted to determine the impacts of the last round of school closures
• No evaluation has been conducted by the city since the passage of “Mayoral Control” of the schools in 2007, despite the enacting legislation calling for annual reviews and a 5-year evaluation
• A boundary study must be conducted before, not after, closures to ensure students have safe and equitable access to educational facilities
• Taxpayers deserve and demand an explanation and accounting of the cost savings expected from closures and how those monies will be used, as past closures not yielded the cost savings promised
• Public schools are the heart of communities, which suffer when public facilities are left vacant. A community level study of future building uses must take place before closures to prevent vandalism and blight seen at previously abandoned schools
• Public School closure decisions can not be made without an equal analysis of charter schools
• Most importantly, school closure decisions must not be rushed and must include ample and full community input, especially from those most directly affected students, parents and teachers
School closures in DC disproportionately impact students of color and have not been shown to improve education outcomes. Of the 3,8000 students who will be displaced by planned closures, only 36 are white and 80% are low income. DC and several other cities have filed Title 6 complaints alleging racial discrimination in school closures, and the Department of Education is set to investigate.
An immediate moratorium on public school closures is required until the above concerns are addressed by the government officials elected to carry out the needs and wishes of DC residents and taxpayers.