A young and popular principal in the DC public school system quit to open a cupcake shop instead.
Bill Kerlina recently opened up to the Washington Post about the frustrations that led to his resignation. He said that there was no support for teachers — “reform” means just firing them — and some parents were racist and entitled.
Considering that the school he worked at is across the street from the prestigious Sidwell Friends private school, he said that it could learn a lesson or two from its neighbor:
One way to lure neighboring families — restricting the number of out-of-boundary seats — would be a “horrible mistake,” Kerlina wrote, as “the diversity at Hearst is what makes it a great school.”
He offered another solution: Move the school toward “inquiry-based learning,” stressing group activities, hands-on projects and student curiosity. It’s standard practice, he said, at the private school across 37th Street NW.
“The reason people spend [more than $30,000] a year to send their children to Sidwell is because they believe in inquiry-based learning,” Kerlina wrote. “DCPS does not — the approach is too scripted and doesn’t allow for students to think outside of the box.”
I know that not all public schools are the same, and there are some pretty damn good ones. But “white flight” — or more like “upper middle class flight” — is something I have noticed in not just DC and New York, but the San Francisco Bay Area.
As someone who visited the local public schools, I was frustrated by not only the way foreign language was implemented, but the “teaching to the test” — which I saw firsthand — was a turnoff, big time. There is no comparison to that and inquiry-based learning, especially if your child has already been learning that way.
Which leads me to the point of this post: President Obama and a lot of members of Congress send their kids to private schools. Why the heck would they think that this scripted testing culture would be good for public school children and not their own? It doesn’t make sense.
I was also struck by the disparity between the DC public schools and its suburbs. Why? Did any of you read this story? What did you think?