Herein a rundown of events on the horizon:
DCPS calendar feedback: DCPS is soliciting feedback on calendar proposals. See here for more information. School will start August 26 (traditional calendar) or August 12 (extended year calendar).
OSSE school report card feedback: The office of the state superintendent of education (OSSE) would like your thoughts on the new STAR rating system and report cards for our publicly funded schools. See here for the survey and here for the report card website. (And see here and here and here for a beginning primer on how the report cards work IRL.) If you find it odd that your child’s school is now being rated like dog leashes or car tires, you may find some solace in . . .
A Better Way to Measure School Quality: On January 26, from 10:30 am until noon, researcher Jack Schneider will be at Columbia Heights Education Campus (3101 16th Street NW) to talk about his work on measuring school quality. Childcare is provided! For more information, see this flyer. Please rsvp here. This event is co-sponsored by the following local good people/orgs. doing good work for the greater good: Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals and Educators; Teaching for Change; Ward 1 Education Council, CHPSPO, EmpowerEd, Ward 4 Education Alliance, Ward 7 Education Council
Education committee open house: The education committee of the DC city council is holding an open house on January 23, from 6-7:30 pm, in room 116 of the Wilson building (our city hall, at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW). If you wish, you can rsvp here. As part of a shake-up after the election, council chair Phil Mendelson decided that the council’s committee of the whole (i.e., all council members) would be a co-leader of all education committee hearings and business.
And speaking of hearings . . .
Attendance accountability hearing: On January 31, at 10 am, the education committee and committee of the whole (COW) will hold a hearing with government witnesses on this topic. Expect an interesting show that continues the, uh, conversation started last year (see here and here for starters). Witnesses were unconfirmed as of this moment, but the public is invited to submit written testimony.
Public roundtables on the proposed DCPS chancellor, Lewis Ferebee: The city council committee on education (not with the COW!) will be holding two public roundtables on Ferebee: January 30, 6 pm at Ron Brown High School, 4800 Meade St. NE and February 6, 6 pm at Cardozo, 1200 Clifton St. NW. You can sign up to testify here. (For a primer on Ferebee and why the council ought to proceed with caution, check out the public service writing in this and this.) The council will likely hold a formal hearing on Ferebee after these roundtables.
Transparency in at risk funds: On February 1 at 10 am, the education committee and COW will hold a hearing on transparency in the use of at risk funds, which is a natural place to also discuss proposed legislation to ensure better reporting of at risk funds in our schools. You can get more information about testifying here, and you can see more about the legislation here. Given the, uh, historical issues surrounding use of at risk funds, trying to ensure the funds are used appropriately seems like a no brainer–thus, expect controversy.
Performance oversight and budget hearings: Sometime in February and March, the city council will hold these hearings for DCPS; the charter board; the deputy mayor for education; and OSSE. Expect the hearings for OSSE to have a component related to the re-appointment of Hanseul Kang as head of OSSE. (If you need a refresher on Kang’s efforts in DC, see her agency’s work on combining scores of different PARCC math tests at the same grade; and her agency’s interesting interpretations of the Healthy Schools Act; and her agency’s efforts to have different scrutiny for DCPS and charter schools; and her agency’s fascinating oversight of residency fraud and issues with the lottery; and her agency’s work against an independent education data initiative; and, of course, her agency’s major role in the Ellington residency debacle, which has now had several lawsuits associated with it.)
Hearing for B23-0051: Also sometime in February or March, the city council may hold a hearing for proposed legislation on establishing more dual language programs in DCPS. See the legislation here. Despite its good intentions, issues around inequitable access (and just finding the funding) could prove difficult.
[Confidential to the DC council: speaking of good intentions, how about legislation to ensure that OSSE regulates providers of alternative education services for kids suspended from charter schools? Right now, as explosive reporting recently revealed, those providers are completely unregulated in our charter schools. Here’s an advertisement that Friendship just placed for one (from this website). See anything in the detailed listing about specific teaching certifications? I didn’t.]