(Ellie Haga is FLOC’s Executive Assistant and Development Associate.)
A recent article in The Washington Post addressed the resource disparities that many of our school neighborhoods face. One thing is clear – education is not always equal among the District’s kids.
As most people know, DC schools have continuously fallen behind in national school rankings. According to this article, the quality of education varies greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood, which leads one to believe that where you live can have a profound impact on the education you receive.
Take, for example, School Without Walls in Northwest DC. The school has a very competitive application process and, according to the article, next year’s 9th grade class has 120 spots for more than 700 applicants. These huge gaps in applications versus availability reminds me of the movie, “Waiting for Superman,” which portrayed several students whose academic futures hinged on the lottery system. I’m saddened by this because hundreds of kids will spend their high school years at a perhaps less than stellar institution based on a simple draw.
According to Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals, and Educators (SHAPPE), School Without Walls receives approximately $10,257 per student while neighborhood school Cardozo High School receives approximately $7,453. In almost every other neighborhood school, funding is also behind that of those schools with applications required. While increased funding may not be a silver bullet, it makes me wonder whether lives can be changed with better funding and resources.
The bottom line is that education and resources should not be dependent upon the neighborhood they live in or whether they get accepted into a particular school.
At For Love of Children, our students come from schools and neighborhoods across all eight wards of the city. When they enter our doors, no matter what school they go to, each child is given the opportunity to succeed in elementary school, middle school, high school, and career. They are given resources based on their needs and not by a lottery number.
Kids can count on FLOC to help them close the gaps.