NEW YORK, Feb. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, more students in Washington DC enrolled into charter schools than public schools. Last year, charters had an 11% increase in student enrollment, while public schools had a 1% increase. Mayor Vince Gray noted that the nation's capital is only a few years away from being evenly split between the two school systems.
The shift was welcomed by financier and well-known education philanthropist, Jeffrey Epstein and his foundation, the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation. Jeffrey Epstein founded the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University with a $30 million dollar grant in 2003 and has since expanded his support into early development, Head Start and charter school programs across the nation, including Washington DC.
Some of the charter schools that the Jeffrey Epstein has supported include, Harlem Link Charter School, the Maya Angelou Schools in DC and the Bard High School Early College in New York. "Charter Schools have the freedom to self-regulate. It's a critical component of their success. They also reduce the burden on the public school system," Jeffrey Epstein asserted.
In fact, last year, the DC Schools Chancellor, Kaya Henderson, decided to close fifteen public schools due to the shift to charters.
Despite this growth, there is concern about the number of charter schools that close every year. According to The Center for Education Reform, 15% of charters close every year. However Jeanne Allen, President of the Center for Education Reform explained that unlike the public school system, this closure rate reflects a healthy level of accountability. Today 41 states have charter school laws and audit requirements. 52% of charter schools are also now authorized by school districts and 48% independently.
"We need to enhance state standards of excellence," Jeffrey Epstein noted. "But it's essential that these laws are just that, standards, and not management policies."
Jeffrey Epstein is a trustee of the Institute for International Education, a former board member of Rockefeller University, the Council of Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, New York Academy of Science and sits on the board of the Mind, Brain and Behavior committee at Harvard.