So What Was OSSE Told About ESSA?

That title above was what I endeavored to find out at the beginning of March, through this FOIA request:

“Pursuant to the provisions of the District of Columbia’s Freedom of Information law, I request documentation of feedback (by date, organization, and meeting) garnered from organizations and groups that OSSE [the office of the state superintendent of education] met with to discuss ESSA implementation in the time period from January 1, 2016 through February 28, 2017.

“The list of organizations and meetings includes, but should not be limited to, those on the OSSE webpage “Organizations Represented in ESSA Feedback” and “ESSA Stakeholder Engagement and Opportunities for Public Comment”–as well as those on the OSSE webpage “Additional Engagement Opportunities: ESSA State Plan Public Comment Period”: Both these webpages are accessible from the OSSE ESSA information web page.

“Please do not include in this request materials already available on the first website–specifically notes from individual meetings that are (as of this date) available on that website.

“I also request documentation of survey results from the “Vision for DC Education” survey run by OSSE ( as well as the survey called “ESSA Public Comment survey questions,” available at

“Please be mindful of the statutory requirements for providing this information or a justification for not doing so. (Date Range for Record Search: From 01/01/2016 To 02/28/2017)”

Here is the response I just got today.

Bottom line:

We (still) have no thorough public record of all the feedback that OSSE got from private groups for an entire year before formulating a test-heavy ESSA plan that we the public got 33 days to review all the while another private organization phone banked its way to ensuring that same plan got passed by the state board of education.

If you think it is a shame that we taxpayers will apparently never know what the American Heart Association or the Chesapeake Bay Foundation or the College Board had to say about ESSA, our public schools, and the use of standardized tests for 70% of their ratings, rest assured: you are not alone.

My only question is: why is this stuff secret when our children have to live with its consequences every single day in our public schools?

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