Friday, December 4, 2009

Ownership Society News

Rhee wants to sell off closed D.C. schools to condo developers

If you really want to know what lots of school closings are about, look no further than today's Washington Post. D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee, like Klein in N.Y. and Huberman in Chicago, have been on a school closing rampage. Many of the schools are closed for no obvious educational reasons. Arne Duncan says he wants to close 5,000. The plan in urban districts everywhere is to turn school operations over to privately-managed charter schools.

Tooday's Post tells the story of D.C. charters trying to find space inside these closed neighborhood schools. But they're running into heavy competition from condo developers who want to cash in on neighborhood gentrification. For example, charter operators are bidding for the closed Franklin School (Pictured).
"But to the developers also attending Thursday's open house, a hotel or condominiums might be more attractive, and it's likely they'll get their way."
Either way, whether public space is turned over to private charter operating companies or to condo/hotel developers, the real losers are kids, parents and communities, who have lost a valuable resource as well as a voice on how public space is utilized.

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