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WalletHub: D.C. schools among nation’s worst

July 31, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

If you’ve recently moved to the D.C. region and have children who are school age or soon will be, consider this:

Virginia ranks sixth and Maryland eighth on WalletHub’s list of the country’s best school systems.

Know this as well about WalletHub’s study, which was released Monday: D.C. isn’t among the top 10, which was led by Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont.

In fact, among the 50 states and the District, the D.C. Public Schools system ranked third worst a pitiful placing for the nation’s capital.

Like most bona fide studies, WalletHub used several criteria in its rankings, focusing on the teaching and learning aspects of education and not merely environment, race and ZIP codes.

That identity politics was not included should give local and national politicians a clue about how not to run a school system.

For example, how many students receive free breakfast and lunch, their parents’ income, their race and ethnicity and the like are often used to “excuse” teachers for not teaching and children for not learning and attending school.

And in D.C., instead of officials and parents acknowledging their failure to own their responsibilities in education, they do the same as the children they drop out.

So, for the record, of the 51 U.S. school systems, the District’s student dropout ranking was no drum roll, please 51st.

D.C. also ranked 51st in median SAT scores and median math test scores, 50th in math test scores and 49th in percentage of licensed/certified public k-12 teachers. In that last category, the city’s message could be that teachers don’t have theirs, so they have nothing aspirational to share and pass along.

Here again, it’s a sad situation that speaks volumes to businesses small and large, including Amazon, which is aiming for a new HQ2 and always looking to expand its money-making potential.

As a region, D.C. combined with Maryland and Virginia has a shot. Hitting Jeff Bezos’ Amazon bull’s-eye, however, is no guarantee. Sure, the wealthy dude bought a D.C. home, and his HQ2 is going to have wage-worthy jobs. But wage-worthy work forces are fluid work forces, and uneducated work forces are the most fluid among the fluid.

D.C. really needs to step up its education efforts if it wants to get its children out of the education basement.

Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Council have some heavy lifting to do when school starts next month, and they can start by reteaching and relearning themselves what schools are supposed to do.

Parents, in the meantime, must do the same. It’s not kids’ fault they’re not learning, it’s yours.

At least there’s one school-related thing from the WalletHub study the city can be proud of, and that’s the ranking for lowest bullying-incidence rate. In that category, DCPS placed first.

Whew.

⦁ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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