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“The reforms now in place — the new teacher contract, the first year of IMPACT [evaluations] and personnel changes based on the ratings and strong school-based leadership — will help us tremendously as we work toward building on the progress we’ve made,” said Rhee spokeswoman Jennifer Calloway. “We embrace high expectations for ourselves and our students — and DCPS is focused on both raising the bar and closing the gap.”

Advocates said the success of charter schools proves that the D.C. School Reform Act of 1995, formulated by the Clinton White House and the then-new Republican-led Congress to broaden school choice and stimulate competition in the public sector, is paying off.

“The charter school leaders have worked untold hours to ensure student success. That is why parents are choosing them, and why there are huge waiting lists of students trying to get in,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who led the chamber when that D.C. school law was passed and pushed hard for the reforms, told The Washington Times. “The answer is to allow fast expansion of these successful schools, and elimination of schools that fail.”