DC School Chancellor Steps Down After Cheating His Own Lottery System

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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The D.C. Public Schools chancellor announced Tuesday he would resign after he cheated his own lottery system to get his daughter into a higher-quality school.

Antwan Wilson announced he would resign his position as chancellor after discovery that he had rigged the D.C. Public Schools lottery system to facilitate a transfer of his daughter into a high-quality school, reported The Washington Post.

“I wish I could go back and look up and talk to as many people as I could about the challenge I was facing,” said Wilson in a Monday interview, according to WaPo. “I failed miserably. It wasn’t a mistake out of anything other than trying to ensure that my daughter’s well-being was taken care of.”

The chancellor’s daughter enrolled in Duke Ellington School of the Arts for fall 2017. The family decided the school was not a good fit for her a few weeks into the school year. Wilson sent his wife to negotiate a transfer with Jennifer Niles, D.C.’s deputy mayor for education. Niles proceeded to conduct the transfer of the chancellor’s daughter to Wilson High School, a school with higher performance levels than Dunbar High School, the local school to which Wilson’s children had been assigned.

Niles resigned Friday.

“Stability and continuity in our system is very important, but in order for that to be effective, a leader has to have the trust of the people he manages and the people he leads,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat. “Let me say this: Chancellor Wilson is an extraordinary educator. He has built a career on helping students and transforming schools, and he is a human being that made a mistake.”

Lottery system nepotism has not been the only incident involving D.C. Public Schools to make headlines the past few months. A city commission found that one-third of 2017 graduates from the district should not have graduated due to poor attendance or failing to properly attend makeup courses. (RELATED: DC Schools Graduating More And More Chronically Absent Students)

“If we had the option to go to Wilson versus Dunbar, which is our assigned school, we would love for him to go there; we would prefer to not have to pay,” said Kerry-Ann Elliott, who resides in the same high school district as Wilson’s family. “D.C. has that reputation of cronyism, and this definitely sent the message you can bypass those rules if you know the right people.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the chancellor’s office for further comment, but received none in time for press.

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