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State of D.C. Schools, 2018-19

This State of D.C. Schools report is a systemwide overview of education in D.C. meant to help local residents, and especially parents of current and future D.C. public school children, better understand where D.C.’s traditional public and public charter schools have made progress. The report also addresses where targeted improvements are still necessary. We hope this State of D.C. Schools report will help inform local education policymakers in the development of future policy decisions.

What D.C. schools need to do to tackle chronic absenteeism

In the two years since a graduation controversy at Ballou High School exposed a serious student absenteeism problem across the city, D.C.’s traditional public schools and many of its public charter schools have deployed numerous interventions to improve attendance. Extensive evidence suggests that absenteeism undermines learning, beginning in very early grades. By middle school, absenteeism becomes a leading indicator that students will drop out of high school.

School performance by ward

School year 2018-19 is the second year running that public schools have been rated on the D.C. School Report Card, which gives District of Columbia families a look into all public schools in the District. Citywide, 37 percent of schools received the highest overall rating of a 4 or 5 on the school report card, but these schools are not equally distributed across the city: Wards 1, 7, and 8 have lower shares of these schools than other wards.