D.C. Public Schools kicked off the 2015-2016 school year today, sending kids back to 113 schools around the city. In a statement, DCPS noted an uptick in enrollment for the fourth year in a row, the opening of four new schools and a new lifetime learning program called “Cornerstones,” aimed at teaching students skills they will need for life.
“Challenging curriculum has always been part of DCPS’ strategy, but going forward, students will receive the same high-quality learning experience, no matter where they live or go to school,” said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson. “Every first-grader, from Simon Elementary in Ward 8 to Janney Elementary in Ward 3, will bioengineer a frog habitat and 10th-graders at every high school will build electric batteries. And starting this year, every DCPS second-grader will learn to ride a bicycle, regardless of whether they have one at home. All high schools will provide at least six Advanced Placement courses, and some will offer more than 20.”
Mayor Muriel Bowser played her part for back to school by making appearances at schools all over the District to highlight the Slow Down Campaign, “to remind drivers that school is back in session and that they should slow down in school zones.”
Despite promising new programs and expansions at D.C. Public Schools, personal finance data website WalletHub rankings give the District’s school system incredibly low marks. WalletHub found that D.C. students have the lowest math and reading and SAT scores in the country, and the city’s schools have one of the highest dropout rates when compared to those in other states. This despite the fact that D.C.’s adult residents are some of the most educated, or most schooled, in the country.
There are good schools in D.C., but getting your kids into one requires living in some of the city’s most expensive real estate. A District Office of Revenue analysis released in June showed that housing prices in D.C. neighborhoods closely correlate with test scores in community schools.