The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Washington, D.C. Rec Center Ruined by Charter School

Mar 14, 2022

The working class and poor neighborhood of Washington Highlands in Washington, D.C. is seeing its rec center swimming pool downsized and tennis court eliminated by a private company. Private charter school company KIPP DC leased the property including the closed Ferebee-Hope Elementary School from the city, and is building a charter high school and a new rec center only half the size of the old one.

The new facility “cannot accommodate children coming in the summer,” the former supervisor for area city pools says. “I didn’t expect the recreation center and pool to be smaller. They made it … almost nothing.”

The old rec center and elementary school opened in 1974 in the aftermath of the black revolt of the 1950s and 1960s. The school was described by a longtime resident as “one of the most-equipped.” But school officials closed the school in 2013 despite neighborhood protests and a lawsuit by activists, claiming the school was underutilized.

Just now the property is leased to a charter school operator. A longtime resident summed it up by saying that KIPP DC “is a corporation and so they’re making money off this.” Capitalist priorities!