The Week(s) Ahead: Petitions And Hearings And More, Oh My!

***Today, Wednesday September 23, at 3:30 pm, the education committee of the DC council will hold a vote on bill 23-0717, which concerns creating an at risk preference for charter schools in the lottery. A hearing was held on the legislation in the summer. More information is here.

(Speaking of the council: there’s been a little note floating about that come 2021, there will be no education committee—rather, the entirety of the council will comprise education oversight, with the council chair presiding.)

***Be sure to complete a survey by Digital Equity in DC Education (5 minutes total!) on distance learning to inform future advocacy to ensure ALL students in DCPS have adequate and reliable technology and access to the internet.

***Be sure also to sign this petition to the council, demanding reinstatement of FOIA deadlines in DC. As you may recall, one of the first actions of our council in the face of shutting down the city in the pandemic was to extend FOIA deadlines into infinity. (Which is pretty rich, given that our legislators continue to pass laws regarding items that the public effectively can find little or nothing about via FOIA in a timely manner. OTOH, maybe that’s the point?)

***As you may have noticed, we have an election coming up! See here for questions and answers from at large council candidates on education issues, courtesy of education organization C4DC. Here’s a list of endorsements by the Washington Teachers’ Union.

The balance of our state board of education may be tipped after the election. Thus far, some votes have fallen along a pro-ed reform/anti ed reform line, in a 5-4 split. Seats held by three of the former are up for re-election in November, including the at large seat currently held by Trump supporter Ashley MacLeay (who is not running for re-election); the Ward 2 seat held by Jack Jacobson (ditto); and the seat of Ward 7 rep. Karen Williams, who is running for re-election. The seat of Ward 8 rep Markus Batchelor (who is running for the at large seat on the council) is also up for the November vote.

(Related: It’s worth recounting here the long public history of state board at large candidate Jacque Patterson. Not only does he currently have more than $16,000 in campaign contributions (a large share of which comes from well-connected ed reform figures such as Citybridge’s Katherine Bradley, former PCSB director Scott Pearson, charter board member Naomi Shelton, and council member Brandon Todd, alongside personnel from KIPP, Rocketship, and Friendship charter schools), but that (large) amount outpaces his current rivals in much the same way as his campaign finances did 4 years ago, when he ran for that same state board seat before not making the ballot for lack of qualified signatures. Years before that, fiscal and reporting irregularities in a Ward 8 ANC chaired by Patterson were the subject of a report by the DC auditor–see here for excellent recent reporting around those issues. It is also worth noting that as a current KIPP employee, Patterson is able to run for public office in DC–a privilege DC charter employees enjoy that is not granted to DCPS employees.)

***Next Friday October 2, the DC Council will hold a public meeting on distance learning in our publicly funded schools. Sign up and more information is here. There is also a petition being circulated by at large state board candidate Mysiki Valentine to change the date of the hearing, given that it’s on a Friday during school. See here for more information.

Related: The inspector general for DC is looking into the travails of distance learning—in DCPS. (Apparently the other 47% of DC students warrant no oversight in this.) Not exactly surprisingly, DCPS attendance rates relative to last year are not great, which is rather ironic, given that there can be no comparison to last year’s and this year’s attendance rates in light of low enrollments alongside persistent digital inequity. (Not to mention that measurement of attendance and suspensions at charters apparently stopped in early spring.)

***On Wednesday October 21, the DC Council will hold a hearing, for invited witnesses only, on school security in DCPS. Recall that changes in DCPS school security have been fomented by, among other things, protests of police brutality.

***On Friday October 23, the DC Council will hold a hearing on including information about teacher retention in the statewide data warehouse for our publicly funded schools. See more information and sign up here.

***On November 12 & 13, the DC council will hold hearings on the comprehensive plan. See here and here for more information–and see here for more information on what the comprehensive plan may mean for DC’s public schools.

2 thoughts on “The Week(s) Ahead: Petitions And Hearings And More, Oh My!

  1. Thank you Valerie for this post. I didn’t realize the Council was voting on the at-risk preference today. There wasn’t much publicity about this. Also, thanks for letting us know about the FOIA petition. Just signed it!

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  2. Thanks so much–I realized at about 3:30 today, when I tried to tune in to the council vote, that the announcement for the vote said it was at 3 pm, not 3:30! I recall when I checked before posting this in the first place that the announcement said 3:30, so not clear to me what happened (goof or change–sigh).

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