With the first education oversight hearing of 2020 yesterday (on the office of the DC student advocate; education ombudsman; and state board of education), a busy season of education-related events awaits, including the Black Lives Matter at School week of action starting on Monday; hearings on oversight and legislation; and a transportation survey you can take to help with safe passage.
1. Black Lives Matter At School Week of Action, February 3-7, 2020
DC Area Educators for Social Justice is hosting a number of activities to engage students and other school community members in examining and addressing racism, discrimination, and injustice according to guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter movement. In schools, teachers can implement a curriculum, while there are a number of local events to engage educators, students, and other public school stakeholders, including community members.
2. Hearings on Oversight and Bills
Our DC city council is holding hearings on a variety of education-related topics, including several bills as well as performance and budget oversight. All hearings are held at our city hall, the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. To sign up to testify, see here.
—February 10, 1:30 pm: Hearing on bill B23-0496, the Fair Access to Selective High Schools Amendment act, which provides 7th graders with information about applying to citywide selective high schools; permits the top 15% of 8th graders to apply to citywide selective high schools; and doesn’t use standardized test scores as a criterion for application.
—February 12, 10 am: Performance oversight hearing, deputy mayor for education and public charter school board.
—February 19, 11 am: Performance oversight hearing, DCPS (public witnesses).
—February 20, 10 am: Performance oversight hearing, DCPS (government witnesses).
—February 26, 10:30 am: Performance oversight hearing, office of the state superintendent for education.
—March 10, 11 am: Hearing on bill B23-0488, the Student Activity Fund Theatrical and Music Performance Expenditures Act (ensures money for school performances can come from student activity funds at each school); bill B23-0569, the DCPS Family and School Community Fundraising Equity Act (ensures funds raised by DCPS PTAs would be required to be reported; not used for staff; and a certain percentage given over to DCPS for redistribution); and bill B23-0365, the Critical Risk Rate School Funding Designation Act (ensures schools with large percentages of at risk students receive more targeted funding and support).
—March 23, 11 am: Budget oversight hearing on state board of education; student advocate; and public education ombudsman.
—March 24, 10:30 am: Budget oversight hearing on the office of the state superintendent for education.
—March 26, 11 am: Budget oversight hearing on the public charter school board.
—March 31, 9:30 am: Budget oversight hearing on DCPS and the deputy mayor for education (public witnesses).
—April 1, 9:30 am: Budget oversight hearing on DCPS and the deputy mayor for education (government witnesses).
3. Take a survey on safe passage in DC
DCPS teacher Maria McLemore has created a research project on making transportation safer, more reliable, and more equitable for students in DC–inspired by seeing how her high school students were often late to first period.
You can take her survey on school transportation here.
The data collected will not be shared with a third party, and all responses will be confidential.
McLemore embarked on this research as part of an effort to connect teacher concerns and research directly to policy actions that affect students–especially important as education policy is often created by those who have never stepped into a classroom. When McLemore asked one student why he was often late, he said he commuted across town after escorting his younger brother and sister to school. He would fight over crowded buses and wait for others not running on time–and faced danger in his own neighborhood as well.
McLemore’s research–and that of other DCPS teachers participating in this effort–will be presented in May. Stay tuned!