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Now that Mayor Vince Gray has adopted a set of changes to the city’s school-assignment policies, the question many D.C. parents are likely asking is: How will this affect me? The office of Deputy Mayor for Education Abigail Smith has released some data that help answer this question. Here’s a rundown.
Most families—-63 percent—-won’t experience any change to their school assignment. Twenty-six percent will be assigned to a new high school, while 11 percent—-all currently in the Spingarn boundary—-will lose their ability to choose from multiple schools.
The ward with the most affected students is Ward 7, where 1,266 students will be reassigned to a new school and 945 will no longer have a choice. Ward 3 will be the least affected, with no students reassigned. Cardozo, Dunbar, Roosevelt, and Eastern high schools will have the most new students in their boundaries.
Nearly half of affected students would move to a school with worse scores on the DC CAS test; fewer than one in 10 would move to a school with better scores. This change is most acute in Ward 7, where nearly every affected student would move to a school with worse scores, given the shift of many Eastern students to HD Woodson High School.
Middle school is the level at which most students will be affected by the changes, due in part to the proposed opening of three new neighborhood middle schools. Just 51 percent of students will remain within their current assignment, while 40 percent will be reassigned to a different school and 9 percent will lose the ability to choose between multiple options. The greatest changes will take place in the north and central parts of the city.
Ward 4, which currently lacks a standalone middle school, will be the most affected ward, with nearly 90 percent reassigned to a new school boundary (the reopened MacFarland Middle School or a new school in the north section of the ward. Ward 3 will see the least change, with only 73 students assigned to a new school.
For nearly 60 percent of affected students, the changes will mean a longer walk to school; fewer than 20 percent will experience a shorter walk. This effect is most pronounced in wards 1 and 4. Unlike at the high-school level, very few students will move to schools with worse CAS scores, while more than 30 percent will move to better-performing schools, although these figures do not include the schools that are not yet open.
Elementary school is the level at which fewest students will have new assignments. For 68 percent, boundaries will remain the same, compared to 15 percent who will be assigned to a new school and 17 percent who will lose the ability to choose between multiple options. Ward 8 will have the most reassigned students, although it also has the most total students. Ward 2 will have the fewest reassigned students, although it also has the fewest total students.
Unlike at the middle-school level, more elementary-school students (about 18 percent) will now have a shorter walk to school than will have a longer one (about 7 percent). However, more will move to schools with worse DC CAS scores than with better scores. Wards 7 and 8 have both the most students who will gain a shorter walk and the most students who will move to schools with worse test scores.
Maps and charts from the deputy mayor’s report