He Got His Daughter Into a Top School. It Cost Him His Job

DC Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson broke the rules he wrote himself
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2018 7:10 AM CST
Head of DC Schools Broke Rules for His Kid, Is Out of Job
Antwan Wilson speaks at a news conference at Easter High School in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

"It wasn't a mistake out of anything other than trying to ensure that my daughter’s well-being was taken care of," says Antwan Wilson, but it's a mistake that has cost the DC Public Schools Chancellor his job, just one year and 19 days into his tenure. The Washington Post reports Wilson was a high-profile pick made by Mayor Muriel Bowser who came to the DC area from Oakland, Calif. January brought one big hurdle—an investigation that determined one third of 2017 graduates received diplomas despite violating attendance requirements—but an issue much closer to home proved his undoing. In what WTOP calls one of his first moves as chancellor, NPR reports Wilson last summer put in place rules that curtailed a chancellor's ability to greenlight school transfers for public officials' kids. But then Wilson violated his very own policy.

Wilson's wife and three children arrived in DC over the summer. Rather than send his oldest daughter to Dunbar High, the lower-rated school their neighborhood is zoned for, he relied on the lottery system and got the sophomore into the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. But after a few weeks, she was "struggling socially and emotionally ... not eating, not coming out of her room and expressing real anxiety around going to school," says Wilson, who tells WTTG he had "tunnel vision" around the issue. Wilson then had his wife work with Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles to get the teen into the highly rated Woodrow Wilson High, which has a 600-person-long waitlist. The New York Times reports Bowser learned last week that the DC inspector general's office was looking into the transfer. Niles was fired on Friday; Wilson resigned Tuesday. (Read more public schools stories.)

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