2017-2018 PARCC data show modest gains in DC education

Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS) is now the DC Charter School Alliance!

Please visit www.dccharters.org to learn about our new organization and to see the latest news and information related to DC charter schools.

The FOCUS DC website is online to see historic information, but is not actively updated.

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Michael Musante, Senior Director

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2017-2018 PARCC data show modest gains in DC education

Public charter schools particularly successful serving African-American and at-risk youth

Aug. 17, 2018 — WASHINGTON — Mayor Muriel Bowser and her administration released annual data on the state of DC’s public schools on Thursday evening, showing modest growth across the city among both traditional and public charter schools. The 2017-2018 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) data show public charter schools remain a vital and successful part of DC public education for families, across wards and student groups.

“Public charter schools continue to offer high-quality options for families in DC, regardless of students’ age, background, or zip code,” said Irene Holtzman, executive director of Friends of Choice in Urban Schools. 

Following the citywide 2017-2018 academic data release, FOCUS updated and re-released its interactive PARCC Data Dashboard which allows users to compare public school PARCC data points quickly and easily across wards, grade levels, and student demographics.

“This dashboard makes complex data accessible and easy to navigate for parents, policymakers and educators. With one click, you can get a school’s year-over-year improvement, its performance in relation to other schools in the same ward, and its student-group and grade-level performance data,” said FOCUS Program Manager, Preety Patidar.

The public charter sector has steadily improved in English language arts and math performance since 2015. Public charter schools have been particularly successful in serving African-American and at-risk youth, ensuring more students across DC leave school prepared for college or for their careers. PARCC data from the 2017-2018 academic year show charters have been particularly effective in wards 5, 7, and 8.

  • In Ward 8, every charter middle school and high school had higher combined math and ELA proficiency than every traditional public school.
  • Two of DC’s top charter schools - schools that perform at a level comparable to some schools in Ward 3 in math - are in Wards 7 and 8.
  • Of the 10 top performing schools in Ward 5, nine are open-enrollment public charter schools. The only school that performed better selectively admits students based on an application process.  


Open enrollment public charter schools in Wards 5, 7, & 8 have higher aggregate proficiency rates than all but application-only schools.

Still, there is plenty of room for growth.

“While the charter sector tracks the citywide rate of improvement and I’m pleased with our growth, our children need schools that will go further, faster.” Holtzman said.

In the coming weeks, schools and families will receive their school and student’s PARCC scores and have an opportunity to understand how local neighborhood schools and public charter schools are performing.

“What we can definitively say,” Holtzman said, “is that PARCC data show that charter schools continue to offer families high quality education options regardless of where students and families live.”


Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS) supports the diverse set of public charter schools in DC by advocating for and strengthening autonomy, equity, and quality.

PDF icon 20180817 PARCC Press Release.pdf72.32 KB