NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

D.C. Schools Fail

November 18, 1996

A study undertaken for Washington, D.C.'s financial control board deplores the state of public schools there -- singling out weak management, unsafe classrooms, decrepit schools and poor student results. The study is entitled, "Children in Crisis: A Report on the Failure of D.C.'s Schools."

  • Some 26 percent of high school teachers there said they had been assaulted, injured or threatened by a student last year -- compared to 14 percent nationwide.
  • Test scores are more than one-fifth below the national mean.
  • Yet the city spent $7,655 per student in the 1994-95 school year -- 26 percent more than the U.S. average.
  • The D.C. superintendent's office alone outspent its counterparts in neighboring Fairfax and Montgomery counties and nearby Baltimore combined.

Although more than half of D.C. students drop out after the tenth grade, that may not be a bad decision since the report warns that the longer a child stays in D.C. schools, the less likely he or she is to succeed.

Republicans in Congress earlier this year tried to set up a program of scholarships for low-income children that would have enabled them to attend private and parochial schools. The plan was blocked by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), thereby denying Washington, D.C. parents the opportunity enjoyed by President Clinton, who sends his daughter to a private school.

Source: Editorial, "Who Truly Values Kids Most?" Investor's Business Daily, November 18, 1996.


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