April 9, 2019
Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan, 215 G St. NE, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Theodora Brown & Raenelle Zapata (Ward 5 Council on Education) and Eboni-Rose Thompson (Ward 7 Education Council) – Ward Council priorities and how we can better support each other
We are back! And excited about it!! Please join us Wednesday, March 27th at 6:30pm for our monthly meeting @BrooklandMS! We will spotlight three #Ward5 schools and be joined by @MySchoolDC to discuss the post-lottery process. Hope to see you there!
— Ward 5 Council on Ed (@Ward5EdCouncil) March 18, 2019
- Founded in 1995. Traditionally, conducted an annual survey of all schools – talk to staff (secretaries/custodial staff, etc).
- Under Rhee, all Ward 5 middle schools closed, and became education campus models. Middle school students were not accommodated; no pre algebra, no world language, and therefore, Ward 5 students could not apply to School Without Walls or Banneker. Ward 5 Education Council fought to reopen middle schools, and DCPS opened Brookland Middle School and McKinley Tech Middle School
- Schools in Ward 5 still struggle from underfunding. None of schools in Ward 5 have full-time librarians.
- Today: Priority is to revitalize Ward 5 Council on Education
Paul Kihn joined in March; inviting CM Allen & Grosso to talk about Transparency legislation
— Ward 7 Education (@Ward7EdCouncil) April 4, 2019
- Reasons behind budget shortfall by ~$15M
- New costs like security
- Extended year ending
- Enrollment projections are unclear and inaccurate
- Over-saturation of schools; capacity exceeds demand and students are scattered
- Combination of above, seeing hits beyond 5% yet schools are losing stabilization funds
- Budgets came out late; after oversight hearings, so schools did not show up during hearings to address budget cuts; lag in information
- Priority – stop the bleeding; Ward 7 only second to Ward 8 vis-a-vis school age kids, but not many go to in-boundary schools.
- Joining ANC meetings to discuss a resolution to support additional funding for the DCPS schools in Ward 7
- Ensure every ANC passes resolution
- Eboni-Rose to email resolution to Suzanne
- Budget advocacy cheat sheet for individuals. Not all schools have PTAs; not every issue specific to one school – helpful to speak with a collective voice
- Working to come up w/ a # around funding gap
- Ward 7 has STEM and language immersion schools, but there is little support for the programs.
- Feeders are broken in Ward 7, e.g., H.D. Woodson High Schools’ only feeder school is Kelly-Miller Middle School which also feeds into Eastern High School.
- Transportation is another important issue, especially for Kelly-Miller. Transportation was raised at the Strategic Planning Cabinet meeting.
- Parents invest, but DCPS is not matching the investment; parents are willing to be partners, but not risk it all without investment by DCPS
- Feeder Strategy
- People are less concerned about the type of programming at a school, and more concerned about what the feeder pathway is. Looking to DCPS to support vertical articulation (path for language, path for STEM, etc)
- Think more creatively about Sousa? Are there cluster situations to be leveraged?
- Programming strategies? Every conversation with DCPS = how to better invest in schools in ways that translate to families.
- Address Woodson’s lack of adequate feeder pattern – Kelly Miller has rights to Eastern and Woodson
- CM Trayon White drafted resolution for Ward 8 schools that had support from every at large CM
- Important for communities to have access to by right schools w/ predictability through high school
- Target increased funding to DCPS schools hardest hit in Wards 7 & 8. The students who need the most are getting the least in this year’s budget.
- Stable feeder patterns are needed across city; how to support feeder systems across the city and how do we ensure the schools fill the needs of kids in each community
- A stimulus investment is needed for the under enrolled feeder patterns to attract students to them, and over time it will cost the city less due to factors such as more efficient use of school buildings.
- Timeline: currently gathering feedback. Education Committee report May 2, this is where Ed committee will show how it intends to increase funding for schools
- Q: Will focus include guidance around where DCPS should put the money? A: We’ll give them some direction. It will be critical to give direction in order to defend the amount we’re asking for.
- We will need to make the case for why the Council should fund DCPS and not the charters with additional funds. There is justification in the law, in the high gain of DCPS students throughout the year. Ward 7 is asking for the at risk funds to be restored. This may be the largest hurdle.
- Part of the pitch is we will not accept any more closings; this council cannot be the one that oversees the death of DCPS
- Believe CM Mendelson will add $ to schools. The question is how much? Acute need is in DCPS.
- Justifying cuts w/ enrollment, which are guesses; w/out investment in schools, enrollment will drop.
- Enrollment reserves are not being used
- How can we support:
- Testify at Council meetings; help our councilmembers DME Hearing April 25
- WTU Rally on April 25 – 4:30pm
Thursday, April 25, at 4:30PM, AT rally on Freedom Plaza We will demand that the DC Council amend the proposed FY 2020 DCPS budget to fully fund our schools.
Also: sign fhe petition https://t.co/oeToUx77no
— WTU Local 6 (@WTUTeacher) April 3, 2019
3. DME Hearing April 25 & W6PSPO Testimonies
4. Bike-to-School Day is May 8, 7:30-8:15 AM @ Lincoln Park. All schools are invited.
- Register your school –> HERE
- Please have your school’s organizer contact Suzanne Wells and Sandra Moscoso for resources.
Next CHPSPO Meeting: May 21, 2019
- April 20 – National Park Service Easter Egg Hunt at Frederick Douglass House (10am-1pm)
- April 25 Deputy Mayor for Education Budget Oversight Hearing
- May 8 Bike-to-School Day, Lincoln Park
Visit W6PSPO on the web at http://chpspo.org
March 19, 2019
Payne Elementary School, 1445 C Street, SE, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- At-Risk Funding Overview – Betsy Wolf, Amidon-Bowen parent [See presentation]
- Inequity in school funding in DCPS
- DCPS funds look like they are equitably allocated across schools in that schools serving greater % at-risk get more funds. But schools serving greater % at-risk also serve more students with IEPs. Taking out special education funding, no longer see equitable funding across schools in DCPS.
- Why not? Where is at-risk money going? It’s going to cover core general and special education positions in many cases. At-risk money is not truly supplementing the base funding.
- Achievement gaps
- DC has a large achievement gap because it has large income inequality. Nationwide, achievement gaps are the highest in places with the greatest income inequality.
- Interventions to target achievement gaps
- To target the achievement gap, you need to supplement instruction for the lowest performing students. Small-group instruction and tutoring have been shown to be the most impactful interventions in education research. But schools don’t have enough extra money to fund positions like reading specialists across the board.
- Open discussion with Chancellor Ferebee
- Budget: trying to address decline in enrollment w/in schools in East DC vs
overcrowding in West DC
- Pointed to Council legislation re: stabilization to support schools in enrollment decline (cap at 5% of resources)
- Confusion remains around DCPS budget/follow the $?
- Start at per pupil allocation, then add $
- Comprehensive staffing model adds to ‘blur’
- Re: recommended interventions to target achievement gaps (like small group/reading specialist):
- School based decision today; do we create a model that is mandatory
- Influence of great teachers/school leaders is not necc equitable
- Believes in autonomy, but also in sharing with schools research-based strategies to inform their staffing and budgeting decisions.
- Cross-sector planning (W6PSPO → community members; CF: Chancellor Ferebee)
- W6PSPO: Proliferation of charters and impact on overall resources. CF: Approaching coordination carefully;
- W6PSPO: Need planning and stability w/ policy around it; Need Chancellor to be ‘cheerleader’ for DCPS
- Inequity w/in schools
- W6PSPO: Resources/visibility w/in schools are focused on early childhood families (engagement is higher from early childhood families), but schools are being judged by test scores at 4/5th grades
- Teacher Turnover
- W6PSPO: When classrooms are without a teacher for extended period of time, is there an accountability model parents can follow up with beyond the principal? (Principals are not always responsive nor give priority to staffing gaps). CF: Instructional superintendents are first point of contact.
- School Leadership:
- W6PSPO:What can the DCPS do to strengthen teacher/principal retention? CF: Exploring multi-year principal contract (today, principal contracts are renewed -or not- annually); Committed to engaging w/ WTU on IMPACT; Solve for great leadership
- W6PSPO: Principals are able to use IMPACT to evaluate and retaliate against teachers; teachers don’t have a meaningful way to give feedback on principals. CF: DCPS tracks data about whether teachers return. Understand that there are independent evaluators under IMPACT. W6PSPO: Correction – WTU did not want evaluators who didn’t know them, the school community and requested peer evaluators. Suggest DCPS pursue meaningful feedback from teachers when evaluating principal’s performance;
- Modernizations/Community Engagement:
- W6PSPO: Modernization/PACE act – suggestion to engage parents who have gone through SIT process to get a view ‘under the hood’ how policy plays out in practice.
- W6PSPO: What can we hold DCPS accountable for vis a vis lead in drinking water? CF: DGS/DCPS committed to communicating at each step of the process.
- W6PSPO: DCPS central office staff need to spend more time in the schools, understand what happens on the ground
- Open discussion with Jessica Sutter, SBOE W6
- State board voting on priorities Weds, March 20
- STAR report/dc school report card
- OSSE survey on report cards: 3 year cycle for changes, except High school growth model
- High school graduation requirements/Credit recovery
- Teacher/leader turnover
- Teacher/leader working group
- Social studies
- Rich curriculum
- UPDATE: State Board members will meet monthly in working groups related to school visits (first Tuesday), teacher retention (third Friday), rich curriculum (fourth Monday), research (fourth Monday), and social studies (fourth Monday). These working groups will be an opportunity for members to discuss key issue and focus areas that the State Board has identified as priorities for 2019. The discussions will provide members the opportunity to share thoughts, recommendations, and next steps for the SBOE. Thank you! ~ Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist, SBOE
- Teacher/leader turnover
- Ward 6 DCSBOE Rep Proposed Priorities (JS = Jessica Sutter; W6PSPO → Community members)
- OSSE STAR Rating Feedback: JS: Will use OSSE Survey and SBOE surveys as starting point for community level discussions. How best to do the OSSE/STAR feedback for Ward 6? W6PSPO: Best at school level; better opportunity for collecting feedback, esp from teachers. Focus group model.
- Middle/HS paths: Ward 6 families have expressed frustration around middle and high school options. (in particular lack of strategy around dual language continuation) Middle and high schools (mostly parents from dual language programs have reached out and are dissatisfied w/ feeder options). Looking at options for bringing solutions for Tyler and Stokes communities. W6PSPO: Should start conversation with DCPS; feeders patterns would be affected.
- Advocacy Coordination Across Sectors: JS: should W6PSPO broaden advocacy efforts to also include charters? W6PSPO: overall, priorities are not necessarily always aligned. Currently, W6PSPO has hands full w/stabilizing feeder patterns, DCPS budget, technology, etc. W6PSPO always open to coordinating with charter schools when it makes sense on specific issues common to all schools. Some common areas might include standardizing grades (like grade middle schools start, e.g., 5th for charters, 6th for DCPS; SpEd student imbalance (neighborhood schools and open enrollment schools bear the brunt of SpEd-heavy communities, while charter and selective DCPS schools have low SpEd population).
4. Wilson Building Visits – Danica Petroshius –
- Friday, March 23 10AM-4PM. Danica to follow up via email to W6PSPO
5. CHPSPO’s new name → W6PSPO
CHPSPO started in 2005 as a group of Capitol Hill public school parents. Much has changed, and we now work with our neighbors in SW, Shaw and across Ward 6 to achieve common goals. We decided tonight to change our name to @W6PSPO to better reflect our values and the work we do.
— Suzanne Wells (@Sew20003M) March 20, 2019
Next CHPSPO Meeting: April 23, 2019 (Note: 4th Thursday due to spring break)
Budget Oversight Hearings – Register to testify here–> http://bit.do/educationhearings
- March 27 State Board of Education, Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education, and the Office of the Student Advocate
- March 29 DCPS (Public Witnesses Only)
- April 4 Public Charter School Board
- April 9 Office of the State Superintendent of Education
- April 25 Deputy Mayor for Education
March 25 Capitol Hill Community Foundation Spring Grants deadline
March 29 Ferebee Friday, Pretzel Bakery, 8 – 9:30 am
Visit W6PSPO on the web at http://chpspo.org
Miner Elementary School – 601 15th Street, NE
January 15, 2019 – 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- 2019 Performance Oversight and Budget Hearings, Laura Marks and Anne Phelps
- Budget Presentation. See presentation.
- Important to make priorities heard by Mayor before it is transmitted to Council (March 20), as agencies are formulating their budget now. Citizen priorities are captured in decisions.
- Email Jenny Reed firstname.lastname@example.org (Director, Office of Budget & Performance) , John Falcicchio email@example.com (Mayor’s Chief of Staff), (see more on slide 19).
- Look up Mayor’s schedule (https://mayor.dc.gov/newsroom)
- Only chairman has scope to re-fund/fund priorities. Typically, this cannot be done at committee level (committees develop recs).
- Attend hearings: http://www.davidgrosso.org/education-committee/
- Education-related committee changes:
- Grosso is chair; Mendelson somewhat co-chairing. Possibly joint hearings for performance and budget – Education; DCPS, DME, OSSE, Library
- DGS now under Robert White
- Once Mayor’s budget is transmitted to Council, it will be published on https://cfo.dc.gov/ (circa March 20)
- DCPS has slightly different budget timeline; Council does not engage in school-level budget recommendations on Operating budget. However, Council has some discretion on Capital Budget. (See slide 13)
- Of 14.6B, 8B are used locally; education is second largest allocation (18.2%),
- Of 1.67B Capital budget, DCPS 20.9%
- DC Public Library – many opportunities for collaboration w/ DCPS, and libraries need adequate budget support
2. FoodPrints Funding, Jennifer Mampara
- In 13 schools in all wards but ward 3. In Ward 6: Watkins, Peabody, LT, SWS, Tyler – http://freshfarm.org/foodprints.html
- Funded by OSSE, PTAs, Federal Grants, Private Donors, Indiv School Budgets through contract by DCPS Office of School Nutrition Svcs
- At the end of the school year, DCPS contract funds will run out, OSSE grants are for kickstarting (not ongoing) programs
- Requesting from DC Gov, fund existing programs,
- Letters to Mayor, DME, DCPS advocating for food education programming in schools. High demand
- Language to include in testimony. See language.
3. Technology Advocacy, Grace Hu
- Follow @DigitalEquityDC
- Letter to Mayor in DCLine + Petition
4. Wilson Building Visits, Danica Petroshius
- Early to mid Feb; refresh on CHPSPO; set agenda
- ~10 per day + twitter amplifying
- CHPSPO Strategic Plan:
- STAR Rating
5. Chancellor Selection, Group Discussion
6. It’s time for CHPSPO to change its name (come with ideas for names, new logo, etc.), Group Discussion. Suggestions:
- Ward 6 Education Council
- Ward Six Public Schools Parent Organization (WSPSPO)
- Capital Helpers for Public Schools and Parent Organizing (CHPSPO)
- Creative Help for Public School and Parent Organizing (CHPSPO)
Next CHPSPO Meeting: February 12, 2019
Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan – 215 G Street, NE, December 18, 2018
December 18, 2018 – 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Safe Passages Program, Office of the Student Advocate
- Who is Office of the Student Advocate? See presentation.
- 50% of Ward 6 Requests for Assistance to Student Advocate are re: Safe Passage
- Parent and Family Go To Guide. See guide.
- Safe Passage Toolkit
- Potomac Ave (MPD)
- MPD Daily juvenile conference call
- MPD Detail at L’enfant plaza
- MPD Daily usually start at stadium and l’enfant and follow groups
- Casual/plain clothes anti-terrorism which focus on Eastern Market and Potomac Ave
- Fights/violence are priority; fights can turn into robberies
- MPD Resource Officers focusing on youth advisory council ; suggestions
- School leaders and school staff present at ‘hot points’ can be a deterrent
- Lighting the path; stand out on the street between 3-5
- Advocate for heads of school to join the calls
- Next Steps: Fulcrum host DME, Office of Student Advocate, MPD, and Potomac Ave community planning around Safe Passage. Contact Tom Kavanaugh firstname.lastname@example.org
2. LSAT Coordination, Steve Bowen, Payne LSAT
- What is the best way to coordinate across LSAT members?
- Mailing list
- LSAT training in May; alongside with Council budget presentation
3. School Report Card reactions, Group Discussion – Deferred
4. CHPSPO 2019 Strategic Plan Action Items, Danica Petroshius and Suzanne Wells – Deferred
5. Is it time for CHPSPO to change its name?, Group Discussion – Deferred
Next CHPSPO Meeting: January 15, 2019
Sign Up: bit.ly/eliothinecommunitysession
Testimony of Caryn Ernst
State Board of Education
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
School Accountability Measures
March 15, 2017
Dear SBOE Members,
Thank you for developing ten outstanding recommendations for changes to the Every Students Succeeds Act draft accountability plan. Your ten recommended changes are an excellent reflection of the diverse and extensive feedback you gathered through community meetings, conversations and testimony.
More importantly, your recommendations provide thoughtful guidance for OSSE on how to construct an accountability system that corrects the deep flaws of NCLB and meets the intentions of the ESSA requirements to broaden accountability by adding to test scores and graduation rates indicators of “school quality or student success.” As the U.S. Department of Education noted – “[this requirement] presents an opportunity for States to develop robust, multi-measure accountability systems that help districts and schools ensure each student has access to a well-rounded education [.]”
As your recommendations make clear, OSSE’s current proposal relies on measures developed under NCLB and continues the many flaws of NCLB that have resulted in our schools becoming increasingly segregated with a persistent achievement gap.
IF OSSE incorporates your recommendations, the District will have an opportunity to reverse those damaging trends. However, during the public meetings OSSE seemed disinclined to commit the time and effort required to adapt its approach to create a new robust, multi-measure accountability system that ensures each student has access to a well-rounded education.
I urge you to reject any proposal from OSSE that does not incorporate all ten of your thoughtful and strategic recommendations.
As you know well, OSSE does not need to submit this proposal in April and has the time to incorporate all of your changes before the September deadline. There is no downside to you rejecting an incomplete proposal in March, but significant downsides to you capitulating to OSSE’s narrow and simplistic measures of school quality.
I applaud your willingness to gather robust feedback from your constituents and your ability to translate that feedback into a comprehensive and strategic approach to measuring school accountability. But all of that effort will have been wasted if you accept a plan from OSSE that doesn’t reflect the results of the hard work and commitment that you and your constituents have shown to getting this right.
Your guidance to the OSSE plan has been one of the most important roles that you serve as an elected school board and your vote on OSSE’s plan will be the most important action you take, as the school accountability system impacts every aspect of the education of every child in the District.
As your constituents, we urge you to do the right thing by our schools and our children by voting NO to an OSSE accountability proposal that does not incorporate all ten of your excellent recommendations.
I offer my most sincere appreciation for your dedication and hard work.
DCPS parent, Ward 6 resident
Testimony of Sandra Moscoso
State Board of Education
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
March 15, 2017
Good evening SBOE members. Please consider this my ‘Just in Time’ testimony, given OSSE’s March 14 response to SBOE.
I am Sandra Moscoso, a parent of students enrolled in BASIS DC Charter School and Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan – two very different schools with two very different approaches to education.
While my children in these very different schools perform similarly on the PARCC, their schools fall into very different “categories” of overall student body performance. Our family values both schools and the opportunities each school have afforded our children, and I can confirm the value we place in the schools is much broader than PARCC results.
With this in mind, I worry about how an accountability structure which focuses too heavily on a narrow measure of PARCC results, could (and does) translate into inequity within my own family. One of my children attends a school with the flexibility to offer art, social studies, and prioritizes foreign language, while my other child’s school moves mountains to do the above, while subject to the mandatory magic bullet of the day, and heavily scrutinized, giving up instruction time to constant testing.
I am hopeful that the approach (while still limited) of giving more weight to indicators outside of PARCC performance when evaluating school success or accountability, will indirectly address some of today’s inequities in DC’s education system. We want all schools to have access to arts, enrichment, science, civic studies. We don’t want lower performing schools, who may be addressing very diverse student needs, to continue to struggle to provide robust learning environments in a frenzy to chase down test scores. Our schools should be able to meet the goal of growth without sacrificing equity. Your recommendations support a step in this direction.
We have this unique opportunity to broaden school accountability beyond the current testing paradigm. Excluding or diminishing academic and non-academic indicators like school climate, social studies, arts, etc., is a huge opportunity missed.
Thank you, SBOE for representing the voice of DC parents in this discussion. I also thank OSSE, who in their March 14 summary of public engagement feedback, acknowledges what we have heard parents say over and over again: we want less weight on standardized tests, growth matters, and school climate is important.
Thank you for the opportunity to share this testimony.
Testimony of Sara Moore Kerai
DC State Board of Education Hearing
March 15, 2017
Thank you for the opportunity to testify. My name is Sara Moore Kerai and I am a parent of a pre- K 3 child at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan.
I care deeply about the quality of my children’s education and the need to understand the quality of our schools based on more than just a test score. I was excited and hopeful at the opportunity to create a new accountability system that will value test scores alongside other important ways of demonstrating school quality & environment.
I read the draft plan and attended an OSSE outreach session hosted by the Capitol Hill Public School Parent Organization. I was pleased to hear the deep interest in a new accountability system that looked at the whole child shared by all of the parents who attended.
At the meeting, I was concerned by OSSE’s seeming lack of motivation to make significant changes, and to allow more time to think critically about these issues as a broad community.
Later, I was pleased when the State Board of Education released a list of well thought-out and meaningful recommendations for changes to the draft ESSA plan. The recommended changes are greatly supported by my community, including teachers and parents. The recommendations also demonstrated that members of the State Board actually listened to feedback from the community. My community has hoped that the State Board would not approve an OSSE plan that does not implement those changes in full.
However, only yesterday, OSSE released its response to public and State Board comments.
This left us once again with precious little time to review and understand the response and its impact before today’s hearing. As I understand it, the plan takes some meaningful steps in addressing the State Board’s comments, as well as parent and educator input, but it does not go nearly all the way. Is the State Board indicating that it generally supports the revised plan as is? It is disappointing to me and my school community that we are essentially backed into a corner with no additional room for revision or improvement.
While I appreciate OSSE’s efforts to respond to some of the community input, I still believe we can do better. I hope that you will not stop with the plan. I hope that OSSE will continue to work with the parent and educator community every step of the way through implementation. A plan is only as good as its implementation – and implementation will not be effective without parent and educator partnership.
TESTIMONY OF DANICA PETROSHIUS
DC State Board of Education Hearing
March 15, 2017
Thank you for the opportunity to testify. I’m Danica Petroshius, parent of two at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan.
Based on the conversation at your meeting yesterday I viewed via Periscope, it appears that there is State Board support for the revised ESSA plan. It begs the question: Is this a fake hearing?
I have been astounded at the disregard for DCPS parent and educator engagement in the ESSA plan process even though we support 49,000 students every day. OSSE has touted that it held “50 meetings with 100 organizations” throughout 2016 before the draft plan went public. We are supposed to applaud that as great public engagement. Who were those private meetings with?
- 50 charter schools or charter organizations
- 34 national education groups
- Only 10 local education organizations
- 4 universities
- 4 DC government agencies including DCPS
This is a very unbalanced outreach plan where 84% of the input came from charters and
national organizations that have no understanding of how DCPS schools operate and what the needs of our students are.
OSSE did hold one public meeting in each ward in June 2016. I can’t take that seriously. Anyone that truly wants to engage parents and teachers does not do so at end of school and summer when communication with schools and parents is difficult. Let’s face it. The DCPS parent and educator community did not help create the draft.
After these 2016 meetings, parents and educators did not see the draft plan until January 30th of this year. We had only one month to give input on a plan that will affect our children’s education for the next 10 years.
Now, again, we are being treated as expendable in this process. The revised draft came out only yesterday yet we have to testify on its merits within 24 hours.
Parents appreciated the full set of State Board recommendations to improve the ESSA plan.
Yesterday’s revised draft plan includes some improvements and it’s clear our advocacy helped move the needle forward. But it was not without a massive effort by us to overcome the reluctance of OSSE to listen.
OSSE is not elected and so has less stake in our voice. But the State Board is elected and has power to say “wait – we can think more, plan more, do better.” Please stop saying September is too late. 30 states are waiting until September to submit their plans and they will start collecting baseline data in 17-18 just like DC. We could wait and build a better plan with deep buy in. But OSSE says they won’t. I urge you, our elected body, to vote no on the plan. But based on yesterday’s swift, seemingly pre-baked support of the tweaked OSSE plan, it seems you have already decided to stand down.
So tonight I’m standing up for parents and educators who do the daily work to build excellent DCPS schools to say that we as a community can do better. We should not make stakeholders beg for real engagement. Parents and educators should not be “processed out” of the system by back-door deals.
I ask OSSE and the State Board to commit today to a better process going forward. As
Superintendent Kang has said over and over, this plan is “just the beginning.” In fact, the plan is full of policies that include “let’s look into it more”, “let’s phase it in” and “let’s test it out first.”
So I ask you to make public and articulate in the plan:
- your commitment to full transparency and ongoing engagement;
- a schedule that you will execute on engagement at each phase of implementation with the intention of seeking ways to continuously improve the plan;
- a process for implementing the Task Forces recommended by the State Board; and
- a process for sharing results of the pilot fully and hosting engagement meetings to
discuss how as a community we should use the results to improve the system.
We hope that OSSE and the State Board support our calls for more engagement, more
innovation and more transparency. Our students deserve it.
OSSE’s ESSA Draft Proposal
Dear members of DC’s state board of education,
I am Valerie Jablow, a DCPS parent. I am sending you all this via email because it is the only way I can get timely feedback to you on OSSE’s response to your recommendations on ESSA. I urge you to vote NO on OSSE’s ESSA proposal.
Yesterday afternoon, I found out about OSSE’s response to public comment on its ESSA draft proposal.
I didn’t get to read that response until this morning, while eating breakfast and trying to get my kids out the door.
Then I read that OSSE would promulgate a new draft plan by the end of today, which I have not yet seen.
How do you keep up?
Perhaps more importantly, how does any parent, teacher, or administrator keep up?
Back in November, I and other parents of public school students in DC testified before you about the horrible effect of a test-heavy emphasis in accountability on students and schools in DC.
In February, when the superintendent of OSSE and her chief of staff held a public meeting in Ward 6 on ESSA, they touted the feedback they had already received in 50 meetings with 100 different groups. And they repeatedly said that teachers, principals, and parents wanted the heavy-test emphasis of its draft proposal.
Jaws dropped in the room that night. Who were those people who wanted testing to dominate accountability? Certainly not anyone we knew in our schools!
Thus, several weeks ago I made a FOIA request of OSSE, for a list of meetings, participants, and feedback received in all its meetings on ESSA from such groups and individuals from January 1, 2016 through the end of February 2017.
Right now, the best evidence we have for such feedback is OSSE’s response document from yesterday—in which “many” and “some” commenters are said to have said something, all of which is not necessarily reflected in what OSSE is now proposing to do with ESSA!
Thus, I hope that my FOIA request will allow me and others to find out what the Chesapeake Bay Foundation had to say about ESSA in DC public schools—as well as the other organizations whose staff met with OSSE on ESSA implementation for more than a YEAR, while all of us DC citizens (who, unlike the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, actually have children and/or taxes in this game) had only 33 days to comment on the proposal. (Which is three days more than the federal minimum of 30 days for public comment–and a few days more than the DCPS chancellor got.)
Perhaps the most radical thing in OSSE’s draft calls for schools being taken over by other operators when their test scores do not go up after 4 years (p. 59).
As you know, even with the changes it is proposing, OSSE is still placing a heavy emphasis on test scores and attendance. At the same time, there is nothing in OSSE’s accountability framework that penalizes schools whatsoever for high suspension and expulsion rates.
So what is to stop a school from suspending and expelling its way into higher attendance rates or higher test scores?
And where will those students go when they are expelled or encouraged to leave?
To their by right schools!
So what does OSSE’s proposal do to take this differential into account and its effect on the scores of receiving schools?
This is what you are voting for with OSSE’s policy here.
As you know, our city creates new charter schools whenever and wherever, without any regard for the effect on existing schools, neighborhoods, or unfilled seats.
As a result, DCPS is losing about 1% per year of “marketshare,” because growth in DC public school seats does not match growth of overall enrollments or of our student population. Just next week, for instance, the charter board will hear comments on proposals by two charter operators—KIPP DC and DC Prep—to create five new schools and 4000 new seats. The board will vote on those proposals in April. The board has also received applications for eight new charter schools beyond that, which it will vote on in May.
At the same time that the charter board is considering 13 (!) new schools, DC has more than 10,000 unfilled seats at existing public schools. (Data from 21st Century School Fund, using current audited enrollment numbers and MFP.)
So what will happen ten years from now, when these ESSA rules are up for re-assessment?
Absent any change from city leaders in our public school governance, DCPS will certainly be the smallest school system. This means more DCPS closures.
And absent any change in this OSSE policy, it means that some schools in DCPS will just become a place for kids off’ed from other schools, as those other schools chase better attendance and higher test scores—and thus create an even faster metric by which receiving DCPS schools will be taken over or closed altogether, because there is no accounting for this dynamic whatsoever in this policy or any city governance of our public schools.
This is what you are voting for with OSSE’s policy here.
One of the aims of OSSE’s ESSA policy is to provide a way to compare schools fairly and to have a common system of accountability between them. But this betrays a facile notion of how our schools actually work.
As you know, one school system in our city is bound to uphold a RIGHT to education. That is DCPS. The other system, charter schools, is not bound to uphold that RIGHT. That immediately differentiates the two sectors in a way that cannot be compared. It doesn’t mean one is better than the other—it simply means that they are different by design. Why wouldn’t you have a system of accountability that takes that difference into account instead of actively denying it even exists?
Moreover, there is nothing common between those two sectors in expulsion rules; suspension rules; facilities requirements; curricula; teacher training; and teacher retention rates—all of which are important not only to student achievement, but also in accountability to the public. OSSE’s proposal doesn’t acknowledge any of this.
In fact, OSSE has made some rather huge assumptions in its draft proposal, which distort true accountability.
–That student satisfaction = school success = higher attendance rates. (See p. 5 of the response document.) What evidence is given to show attendance is 100% (or some other percentage) in the control of each school? What evidence is given to show that student satisfaction means the school is “successful” and that students will attend at higher rates? Indeed, what is “success” in this scheme if not mainly high test scores?
–That one of the purposes of the new rating system is to facilitate school choice by parents. This is perhaps the most grotesque distortion of ESSA possible. The point of school accountability is not to facilitate school choice, but to help students and to help schools help them. What assurance is here that parents and teachers will be able to use these test results and other criteria measured to help students learn better, except only in a punitive way, to avoid censure or takeover? Facilitating school choice should be the LAST thing that anyone is concerned about when it comes to helping our kids learn!
These assumptions and distortions are what you are voting for with OSSE’s policy here.
Finally, a note about compromise:
OSSE characterized its response yesterday to you and the public as a compromise.
But you, collectively, put together ten recommendations on OSSE’s draft proposal as a compromise before that—most of which have not even made it into OSSE’s response document.
So how much of a compromise was OSSE’s response yesterday—and for whom is it a compromise?
Here is a more concrete example:
OSSE’s rationale for not measuring high school growth is that different groups of high school students take different PARCC math tests and that it distorts scoring when those scores are combined.
OK. But right now, OSSE groups together middle school accelerated math test scores with regular math test scores and blithely spits out a number for both achievement and growth. That practice does indeed distort test scores—but OSSE has determined that’s OK with middle schools.
What sort of compromise is this?
I can attest that OSSE’s practice with those middle school scores has actively hurt my DCPS middle school, because a relatively large portion of its student body takes those accelerated math tests—whereas most other middle schools avoid those tests or have only a small fraction of their students take them.
So, instead of giving up on measuring high school growth or accurate middle school reporting, how about reporting data more responsibly (i.e., separate out results for accelerated tests)–or just using a different measure of math achievement than PARCC?
For all these reasons, I ask you to please not accept what OSSE is offering now. It is only a compromise of our ability to have rich, nuanced, and accurate assessments, which we desperately need and are not getting.
Your voting NO to OSSE’s proposal will give all of us time to make a policy of accountability that will reflect well on each school and every child. Thank you.