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D.C.’s Public Charter School System Turned 20 This Year. Now What?

Malcolm “Mike” Peabody, a real estate developer and activist, believed that the failing schools and a lack of opportunities for poor black residents were a civil rights issue. He wanted to mend these impoverished neighborhoods by improving schools, but he thought it would be impossible given the hold the teachers union had on the school system. His solution: public education that could exist outside the D.C. Public Schools. He started a local charter school advocacy organization, becoming one of the leading voices in the nascent education movement, which advocated for schools that could receive public funding but function apart from a traditional public school system’s bureaucracy.