On Tuesday morning, DC Chancellor of Schools Michelle Rhee met with parents of students at Hardy School in Georgetown. The meeting was another contentious round of a fight that has been raging for months (and perhaps years, depending on your perspective). Last December, Rhee announced her decision to transfer the principal of Hardy School, Patrick Pope, to a new arts middle school that he would help develop. This was met with anger and frustration by current Hardy parents. However, of the Georgetown parents that GM has spoke with on this issue, most have viewed it favorably.
But how favorably? According to the reports (GM’s got a job and couldn’t make it to the morning meeting) the parents objecting to the removal of Patrick Pope argued that notwithstanding the change that is supposedly going to attract local families, no in-boundary families have yet applied to attend Hardy next year. Here’s a Fox report mentioning this specific point:Vodpod videos no longer available.
The thing is, though, in-boundary families don’t need to fill out an application to attend Hardy. What is not mentioned in this report is how many in-boundary families normally would fill out an application by this point. In-boundary children can decide to attend Hardy pretty much whenever. So in GM’s mind, without more context that’s not a particularly persuasive piece of information.
It is concerning, however, that the reports mention significantly fewer (162 down to 30) out-of-boundary children applying to Hardy as of Tuesday. If that stat is true, it could indicate a decline in confidence in the future of Hardy. However, it could just as easily indicate that there is a lot of confusion over how students are supposed to apply to Hardy in the first place. That Rhee is fighting with the parents over this exact issue could probably help explain how (and possibly by whom) confusion could be sown. In fact, the Washington Post reports that applications to Hardy via the lottery (i.e. the way that Rhee wants it to occur) is way up this year: “Citywide, interest in Hardy remains robust. In the lottery that closed Sunday, 151 students put in bids for sixth-grade seats at the school, up from 88 last year.”
Either way, it does not seem that this was the final round of this fight.