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Washington DC - Education & Schools

As the nation's capital, DC boosts of excellent educational institutions for children of all ages, and even for adults. DC has some of the most renowned universities and colleges in the world, and some of the oldest in the country. DC and the Washington metropolitan area boost of the largest percentage of adults with tertiary education in the US. According to the US Census Bureau, 46% of DC residents hold a Bachelor's Degree or higher, compared to the national average of 27%.

Expatriates will find the range of educational options plenty for their children. The DC government manages an Education Center website that provides updated information on DC schools and other topics of interest to both students and parents. A comprehensive and objective listings of all the public, private and independent schools in DC is available here. The listing is maintained and updated by the DC government's Education Center. At the time of writing, the website was under construction, and is scheduled to be ready by December 2008.

Expatriates intending to place their children in US Public Schools should note that admissions to Public schools in the US are allocated according to school clusters according to residential address. Hence, pay special attention to the location of your place of residence, as it would more or less determine the public school your children will attend. It pays to carry out some careful research to help in the choice of public schools for your children. The quality of public schools is controlled at the state and county/city level, and can vary significantly from cluster to cluster. Some of the best public school systems in the Washington metropolitan area are found in Montgomery Country, in Fairfax Country and in the City of Falls Church.

For childcare programs and preschools, there are many options in DC for children. The type of programs available for your child depends on the age of your child. Infant care is meant for children between birth to two years old; preschool is for children between the ages of three and five, and childcare is for children over five years of age. All programs offered are accredited. The DC Department of Health licenses DC childcare facilities. Some organizations that can provide valuable information about child-care services are summarized here:

Early Care and Education Administration

717 14th St. NW, Suite 1200

Washington 20005

Tel: (202) 727-1839

Fax: (202) 724-7229

This administration works with public and private child advocacy groups to provide care for children aged five and younger, and offers before- and after- school care to eligible children up to age thirteen. It also manages an early-intervention program to detect developmental problems in infants and toddlers.

Nation's Capital Child and Family Development

1501 Benning Rd. NE, lower level

Washington 20002

Tel: (202) 397-3800

Fax: (202)399-2666


A nonprofit organization that is the largest direct provider of child-care services in the city. There are 19 locations in the DC area.

Washington Child Development Council

1400 16th St. NW, Suite 715

Washington 20036

Tel: (202) 387-0002

Fax: (202) 387-0411

This council operates a free resource and referral service on all licensed child-care facilities in DC. There is also information on childcare centers, child-care homes and before and after school programs.

Private or Independent schools are the alternatives to public schools in the US. Most expatriates will choose to send their children to either private or independent schools. There is a good range of private or independent schools to choose from in DC. There is an accreditation of the 84 independent schools in the Washington Metropolitan area that is carried out by the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington (AIGSW).

There are many colleges and universities located within the Washington Metropolitan area. The Georgetown University (7,000 undergraduates) is older than the District itself, having been founded by John Carroll in 1789. The University of District Columbia (6,000 undergraduates) was established to service the African-American community in DC. Some of the more popular universities include the George Washington University (10,000 undergraduates).

For expatriates who prefer to send their children to international schools, DC also has international schools offering British, French and German curricula. Be prepared to be put on a waiting list.

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