Having already replaced the principal of Hardy Middle School in a much-criticized attempt to make the school more appealing to local families, D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee is eyeing the Duke Ellington School of the Arts—that’s the one on 35th Street with the big green chair—for possible conversion from an illustrious performing arts-centric high school into a public high school that would serve Ward 2 families.
Rhee and school construction czar Allen Lew say that they have no concrete plans to convert the school yet, but the Washington Post‘s Bill Turque reports that Lew’s office has developed a cost estimate for moving the Duke Ellington school into the vacant Logan Elementary School in Northeast D.C., near Union Station.
Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans (D) is also strongly in favor of the conversion, as Ward 2 is the only ward in the District that does not have a neigborhood high school.
Parents of children at Ellington, a unique school run by D.C. in partnership with George Washington University and the Kennedy Center whose students have to audition to get accepted there, told Turque that they find these rumors “disturbing.”
But where Hardy parents accused Rhee of trying to force black students out of the neighborhood by ousting their principal, parents of students at the historically black Ellington, who, like students at Hardy, come from all over the District, not just Ward 2, feel that the potential plans may be economically driven.
“Times being what they are, parents in that community want their kids to be able to go to a school that they don’t have to pay for,” one parents said.