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Can The Success Of D.C.’s Best Middle Schools Be Replicated?
3/27/14 | WAMU
Behind the Headline
The Middle School Mess
Winter 2011 | Education Next
How to raise the quality of middle schools in the district’s public schools has been a point of debate for candidates in Washington, D.C.’s mayoral race. One candidate has suggested that the school district try to replicate the success of its highest-performing traditional middle school, Alice Deal, which is located in one of the wealthiest areas of the city.
However, reporter Cavitha Cardoza analyzed test scores from Alice Deal and found that low-income students at that school were outperformed by low-income students at six charter middle schools in the city. Some of those charter schools, for instance, DC Prep, have a very different instructional model than Alice Deal. Cardoza concludes
Students at both DC Prep and Alice Deal say they love their teachers, and it’s clear both places have a lot to be proud of. But they are very different populations and it’s not at all clear how each school model would work in a different neighborhood, with different children in different communities. So while the sentiment “Alice Deal for everyone” sounds good, many educators say it’s far too simplistic a slogan to meet the needs of the range of children who study in D.C. schools.
Peter Meyer wrote about the challenge of improving middle school in the Winter 2011 issue of Education Next.