Councilmember Silverman Statement on Chancellor Wilson’s Apology

DC Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) issued the following statement after DC Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson issued an apology to District parents for pursuing preferential treatment and skirting the public school lottery process:

This is another damaging blow to DC public schools and confidence in its leadership.

I’ve already received emails from parents exasperated by Chancellor Wilson’s apology. A lot of the irritation is because the chancellor faced a dilemma encountered by many DC public school parents: He felt his neighborhood school did not meet the needs of his child. The chancellor’s solution was to break a policy written by him that would not allow public officials preference in school placements. This was put into place by Chancellor Wilson himself after a school lottery scandal became public less than a year ago, in which top DC government officials were found to have received special treatment from his predecessor.

That he would ignore his own policy is indefensible, and it is even more galling that he would wait until he was caught by the DC Inspector General to admit this to the mayor. I understand Deputy Mayor Jennie Niles helped the chancellor bypass the lottery process, and she has resigned. Mayor Bowser has reiterated her confidence in the chancellor, but given his actions, I question his decision-making and leadership.