D.C. charter board approves new preschool evaluation tool

Sep 18, 2013 by

The D.C. Public Charter School Board has approved a revised evaluation tool for preschools that is one of the first efforts in the country to tie the success of early learning programs to the academic performance of their students.

The original proposal prompted an outcry from parents who were concerned that the emphasis on academic testing could lead to a narrowing of what children learn in preschool.

The plan, approved Monday night, reflects these concerns by including an optional category that evaluates each school on its specific mission and gives social and emotional development a more equal footing with other criteria for schools that choose to measure it.

Sara Mead, a charter school board member, said the board is deeply committed to ensuring that the District’s public charter schools are preparing students for success.

“This is going to give us a way . . . to understand whether schools are accomplishing that,” Mead said. “That’s an important step to fulfilling our commitment to parents and taxpayers in the District.”

Board members said school readiness remains an urgent issue in the District given that more than half of the city’s third-graders lack proficiency in reading and math.

The original proposal drew a large community response, including calls for a more-balanced approach to measuring schools that would factor in the broader developmental needs of young children. An online petition attracted more than 280 signatures, and more than 50 parents submitted written comments to the board.

via D.C. charter board approves new preschool evaluation tool – The Washington Post.

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