Each year, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools ranks the public charter school laws on the books in 40 states plus the District of Columbia.
The ranking takes into account the amount of autonomy granted to these schools, the level of public funding provided to them, and other factors. The District, which for years was ranked first or second, this year scored 11th out of 41.
Given the strength of D.C.'s public charter school movement, this lower ranking may seem odd. Some 41 percent of students enrolled in the District of Columbia Public Schools attend charters.
Charter enrollment grew 8 percent compared to last school year, while attendance at DCPS facilities fell.
Among large cities, only New Orleans, whose public school system is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, has a larger share of charter students.
Sadly, however, the District government refuses to provide these schools with the public funding to which D.C.'s charter school law entitles them.
Charter schools are public schools, but of a different kind. They offer tuition-free education and, in the District, cannot screen students by administering entrance exams.
They must enroll any D.C.-resident student until they have filled their available places. And D.C. law requires that funding for charter and DCPS' school operating costs be based on a uniform per student funding formula.
But since the charter law was passed in the mid-1990s, D.C.'s government has increasingly resorted to funding DCPS outside the formula.
A recent study found that DCPS received additional funds and government services ranging from $72 million to $127 million over the past four to five years.
There are many reasons to be offended by the city's unequal treatment of its public charter schools. Some 87 percent of D.C.'s public charter school students are African-American, compared to 67 percent of DCPS' students.
Charters also serve a higher share of students who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch: 75 percent of their students do so, compared to 67 percent in DCPS.
And there are no charter schools in Ward 3, the city's most affluent area; charter schools open their doors where the need is greatest.
The city government's discrimination against charters is not justified by charters' accomplishments. Charters' high-school graduation rate is 84 percent higher than before the charter law passed, when half the District's public school students dropped out.
The charter graduation rate is higher than that of DCPS. Charter students score higher, on average, on D.C.'s standardized reading and math tests than their peers enrolled in DCPS.
In a recent study commissioned by District government, some 34 percent of charter schools were identified as "high performing," compared to 20 percent of DCPS schools.
East of the Anacostia river, there are only six schools that qualify as "high performing" in that study, and all are charters.
Despite the needs of charters' students, and their accomplishments, the city continues to find ways to deprive them of city funds.
DCPS schools receive nearly twice the city dollars per student in school building funds as charters, for example.
Recently, DCPS received an additional $25.2 million from the city because it overspent its budget. But charters, which receive less city funding per student, have to live within their means.
Charters receive formula funds according to the number of students they actually enroll. DCPS is funded according to enrollment estimates, which frequently overestimate enrollment.
Before he was elected mayor, Vincent Gray supported a D.C. law creating a commission to investigate public school funding inequities, and propose remedies.
The commission reported last week, but failed to make recommendations to fund D.C.'s public schools as the law and equality demand.
Mayor Gray was elected on a platform that pledged to fund both types of our public schools fairly. Will our mayor move to implement the changes he campaigned upon?
Tom Nida, is regional president for United Bank in Washington, D.C., and Maryland, and the former chairman of the D.C. Public Charter School Board.