Profiles In (Dis)Courage(ment)

Number of students at DCPS and DC charter schools whose assessments were analyzed by a recent private study that determined there is terrible learning loss among DC students in remote instruction: About 30,000

Total number of DC public school students: More than 90,000

Number of charter schools participating in the study: 12

Total number of DC charter LEAs: 62

Enumerations in the study of students’ problems with internet connectivity, availability of tech devices, and/or their repair and use: 0

Estimated number of DC students without one or more of those things during remote instruction: Unknown, but exceeding 30,000 in DCPS alone (based on distribution of laptops)

Number of committees currently on the DC Council: 12

Number of committees dedicated to education: 1

Number of committees on the DC Council starting in 2021: 10

Number of committees dedicated to education: 0

Ratio of taxpayer funds for DC’s publicly funded schools to DC’s total budget: 1:7

Month a task force first met with the DC Council committee of the whole to advise about learning loss: May 2020

Number of members of the task force; their identities; and their selection process: Publicly unknown

Number of times they met with council members (and which) over the course of 6 months: Publicly unknown

Recommendations from the task force that “helped guide the Committee’s budget priorities for the fiscal year 2021 budget” per the council chair’s report: Publicly unknown

Number of lobbyists visiting DC council members, staff, or mayor and staff: Publicly unknown

Number of bills at large council member Elissa Silverman introduced to ensure parents, teachers, and students would be involved in re-opening DCPS: 3 (here, here, and here)

Number of times council chair Phil Mendelson moved the bills ahead: 0

Statements by Silverman on their fates: 3 (here, here, and here)

Number of surveys DCPS administered to families about re-opening: 3 (here, here, and here)

Number of those surveys that showed that most Black families did not want in person instruction: 3

Days after DCPS re-opening on November 18 that DCPS and the teachers’ union reached an agreement on re-opening: 30

Date of ANC1D resolution to the mayor and council that it had no confidence in DCPS re-opening: November 17

Days after DCPS re-opening that it first reported covid cases in its re-opened CARES classes: 7

Number of signatures on a petition started by a charter parent to re-open DCPS: More than 1000

Amount of signatures from DCPS parents: Unknown

Date of report of a private group for the DC auditor that said that “scientific studies support the fact that younger children are less likely to suffer from COVID-19 and are not as likely to contribute to widespread community spread”: December 9

Number of DCPS students testing positive in CARES classrooms by December 23: 15

Number of re-opened DCPS schools with reported covid infections as of December 23: 18

Number of those DCPS schools closing completely before the break due to covid infections: 9

Percentage that represents of schools with reported infections closed completely due to covid: 50%

Date that the chancellor continues to say DCPS will re-open more fulsomely: February 1

Number of DC charter schools re-opened or planning to do so shortly: Unknown

Amount of money awarded by the mayor to DC charter schools to assist with re-opening: $10 million

Number of DC charter schools awarded PPP loans in 2020: 38

Number awarded more than $1 million: 18

Total amount of PPP loans awarded to DC charters in 2020: More than $40 million

Statements by council or mayor regarding the inequity of funding this represents: 0

Amount of DC revenue bonds approved by the DC council in November for Friendship and KIPP: $70 million and $52 million, respectively

Year the DC council passed a law to sponsor a research practice partnership (RPP) with an independent entity for DC public education data: 2018

Date by which the office of the state superintendent of education (OSSE) received candidate groups’ applications for the RPP: February 2020

Minutes into the last public meeting of OSSE’s RPP vetting panel before members suggested moving into a confidential executive session to discuss proprietary information, “trade secrets,” email streams between panelists and candidates, and candidate NDAs: Less than 10

Minutes the RPP panel spent discussing how to proceed, given the fact that members of the public were listening: More than 30

Number of videos, transcripts, or audio of prior RPP panel meetings publicly available that I could see or access via OSSE’s website: 0

Final vote of the panel, selecting the Urban Institute for the RPP: 5-1

Year that the Urban Institute and DC education leaders began working in secret on a plan for Urban to be an independent education research entity for DC: 2017

Minimum number of RPP panelists voting for Urban in positions of education leadership in the Wilson Building in 2017 who likely knew about (and possibly were involved in) the secret planning with Urban: 1

Minimum number of Urban Institute board members with personal and/or business connections to DC charter schools: 1

Year that Fletcher-Johnson, a closed DCPS school, was first put up for charter RFO, against community wishes: 2014

Year that Fletcher-Johnson was again offered to charters, against community wishes, after no charter was selected: 2017

Year that Fletcher-Johnson was awarded to a development firm to be made into housing, one of the wishes of the community: 2020

Notice (as of December 29) on DC’s public calendar of special charter board meeting on December 10 to vote on Digital Pioneers’ expansion to a high school: None

Number of charter board criteria not met by Digital Pioneers for grade expansion: 2 of 5

Number of charter board criteria not met by Digital Pioneers for enrollment ceiling increase: 7 of 13

Number of charter board members voting in favor of Digital Pioneers’ high school, despite charter board staff memo against it, citing uncertainty and stress of current times and “flexibility”: 5 of 7

Number of conditions the charter board imposed on Digital Pioneers for its expansion, including depending on private donors for fiscal security: 4

Days after approval of Digital Pioneers’ high school by the charter board that DC’s school choice festival, EdFest, began: 2

Donations made by Digital Pioneers’ founder to DC elected officials in the 2020 election cycle: $970

Number of recommendations the office of the DC inspector general (OIG) made to OSSE and DCPS in its study of health education and HIV/AIDS instruction per the Healthy Schools Act: 12

Number that DCPS agreed with: 5

Number that OSSE agreed with: 4

Number of charter schools included in this study: 0

Reason given: “limits on the OIG’s jurisdiction over DCPCS”

DCPS middle schools that reported meeting the standard of 75 minutes of health education per week: 9 of 31

Number of roles OSSE plays, per the report, in implementing the health education section of the Healthy Schools Act: 7, including establishing health standards in schools

Number of OSSE staff members directly observing its implementation in schools: 0

Number of schools observed by the OIG holding PE classes in a supply closet: 1

Number of teachers teaching health and PE at one school to over 500 students: 1

OIG’s observation of this situation: “Meeting the minutes requirements in such a case would be logistically and mathematically impossible.”

Subject area test scores in decline since SY15-16 on the annual Health and Physical Education Assessment administered by OSSE to all DC students: 100%

OSSE’s stated enforcement power of the Healthy Schools Act and control of associated curricula: None

Years the Healthy Schools Act has been in existence: 10

Ratio of special police officers to DCPS students, as mentioned in testimony to the DC council: 1 to 129

Ratio of social workers, psychologists, and counselors to DCPS students: 1 to 217, 402, and 408, respectively.

Number of times “STAR” is mentioned in a DC state board of education report for new members on concerns with the STAR rating system of DC schools: 39

Number of times education rights are mentioned: 0

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