Citywide Education Progress Reports

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Families Take the Lead to Open a New School

A small group of parents in one of the city’s most impoverished wards spearheaded a process to open the kind of school they wanted for their neighborhood. Parents from the nearby Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling solicited input from the community, which they then used to set guidelines to develop a request for proposal for school applications from charter operators.

Available land on the military base provided a rare opportunity for such a deliberate process, but some groups hope that family involvement in identifying what a school should look like and in vetting operators can become commonplace.

Over the past several years, the charter application process has included much more emphasis on showing concrete evidence that families want a specific type of school in their neighborhood. To push this work forward, some groups are starting to collect better information about the kinds of schools that families want to see and where they should be sited.

View Washington D.C.’s citywide education progress report.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education is a research and policy analysis center at the University of Washington Bothell developing systemwide solutions for K–12 public education. Questions? Email