Councilmember McDuffie statement on DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson

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Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie issued the following statement on District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson:


“On June 22, 2017, Chancellor Antwan Wilson signed Chancellor’s Directive #103, Discretionary Out-of-Boundary Transfers Policy. The transfer policy expressly states that, “this discretionary transfer process is not available for current or former ‘public officials.’” As a current public official, Chancellor Wilson sought and received a discretionary transfer for his child and, thus, violated this policy. In so doing, he breached the public trust and must resign.

I do not arrive at this decision lightly. In fact, I have spent the time since learning about this on Friday talking with many Ward 5 parents and students. Their emotions ranged from shock and disappointment to anger and frustration. Most residents expressed that they had lost confidence in Chancellor Wilson. I agree.

Before speaking publicly about this matter, I also wanted to speak directly with Chancellor Wilson. I did so yesterday and appreciated his willingness to speak candidly with me.

As a husband and father of school-aged kids, I can understand Chancellor Wilson’s desire to do what he believed to be in the best interest of his child. To be sure, I always put my family first. I think most parents do. However, most parents are not afforded the privilege of receiving a discretionary transfer for their child, even under the most compelling circumstances. So while I sympathize with Mr. Wilson and his family, I also sympathize with the thousands of parents who abide by the rules and whose children remain on school waiting lists or in schools that are not meeting their needs.

Not unlike most urban cities, our system of public education in the District of Columbia faces serious challenges. While we have made progress, this highlights the frustration that so many of our parents and students face in finding a quality neighborhood school. In that way, it is clear that we have much work to do.

As Chancellor, it is critical to maintain the trust of the students, parents, teachers, and the school administration in order lead effectively. If prior to this controversy, Antwan Wilson was the person to lead DCPS into the future, it is now clear that he no longer maintains the public confidence needed to do so.”