This 5-minute excerpt is from Lexington’s Don Soifer’s interview on one of the Washington, DC-area’s top public radio talk shows, the Kojo Nnamdi Show on 88.5 FM WAMU. The guest host was Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher, and my fellow guests were Virginia State Senator and Black Caucus Chair Mamie Locke and Fairfax County School Board member Stuart Gibson.
During the hourlong noon interview, Soifer argued that Virginia needs a new, stronger charter school law. Although the state’s schools are generally in the top fourth in the nation on student achievement, significant disparities exist. For instance, the statewide dropout rate for black students is twice that for whites, and the rate for Latinos is three times that for white students, a status quo he calls indefensible. In Portsmouth, the on-time graduation rate is only 67 percent, and the largest urban school districts, including Richmond, Norfolk, Roanoke, and Petersburg, each have large numbers of families currently served by very persistently low-performing public schools. Charters and choice could offer these families valuable new educational opportunities.
Click here to listen and download an MP3 audio file of the radio interview. (Opens in a new window).
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