City Desk

More Than Half of DCPS Students Who Attended a Closed School Not Re-Enrolling This Year

More than half of District students who attended 10 of the 13 public schools that were shuttered in June because of low enrollment numbers did not sign up to attend a District public school for this upcoming school year, WAMU reported today.

This is a potentially big hit for the D.C. public school system, which has been losing many of its students, and thus funding and staffing,  in recent years to the burgeoning public charter school system.  (In his 2013 State of the District, Mayor Vincent Gray said D.C. would be the first city to have a public education system with a 50-50 balance between traditional public schools and charter schools.)

The latest figures obtained by WAMU show just 44 percent of students who attended one of these now closed schools re-enrolling in a traditional public school.  School does not start until next week, so these numbers will likely fluctuate a bit, but the 44 percent is barely half of the 80 percent enrollment numbers D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson said she was aiming for earlier this year.

Enrollment figures vary based on which school students attended last year. Seventy-two percent of students who attended Shaw Middle School have re-enrolled in another traditional public school , while only 31 percent of students attending Marshall Elementary School and Spingarn High School signed up.

Despite enrollment numbers falling way short of Henderson's expectations as of now, this news shouldn't come as a total surprise: When D.C. public schools closed 23 schools in 2008, only 3,000 of the 5,200 impacted students re-enrolled, according to WAMU.

Overall, the District is slightly ahead of enrollment trends at this time last year. About 75 percent of the expected 46,060 students have enrolled.  Students must re-enlist in District schools every year, with some students waiting until the first day of school to re-enroll.

Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
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  • Drez

    What are the raw numbers and what are they as a percentage of gross DCPS enrollment?

  • SWS

    Is it silly to wonder where these kids go?

    Is there any data on if they're enrolling in suburban jurisdictions? Charters? Privates? Or do they just stop going altogether?

  • noodlez


  • drez

    If they go to charters DCPS gets the data. DCPS doesn't get data if they leave the city or go to private school.

  • Typical DC BS

    Most are probably going to Prince George's County schools now.

  • Aaron

    Noodlez - you're right. And this makes Kaya Henderson look pretty bad. I was on balance unimpressed with her on Kojo last week or two weeks ago.

    Speaking of WAMU, the first and last word on public education was on Diane Rehm two days ago.