Losing Sight On DC Absenteeism & Truancy
Education DC
by Valerie Jablow
1M ago
Watching the December 19 DC council hearing on truancy and absenteeism, featuring a bevvy of government witnesses testifying over the course of 4 hours, brought to mind the parable of blind men trying to describe an elephant—in this case, the causes of, and solutions to, the high percentages of DC students chronically absent and truant as recently reported by the office of the state superintendent of education (OSSE). Recall that this 12/19 hearing was a reconvening of one that began on December 12 with public witnesses. Recall also that the 12/12 hearing (see the witness list here and the vid ..read more
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School Games
Education DC
by Valerie Jablow
2M ago
Part of the difficulty in writing about DC’s boundary process and the associated master facilities plan (MFP) is that the civic actors at the head of both have thus far assembled an array of data so predictable in its conclusions that there is almost no reason for any discussion. Which appears to be the point. After all, these civic actors have bolstered their ideation of the closure of schools like Sousa with data showing that most kids in bounds attend other schools; test scores are not high; and its building (like so many other schools of right on that side of DC) itself largely unused (foo ..read more
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Hidden Agenda, Hidden Plans: The MFP & Boundary Process
Education DC
by Valerie Jablow
3M ago
Tonight and tomorrow evening (November 7 and 8), the deputy mayor for education (DME) will hold public meetings for communities around Bancroft and HD Cooke elementaries. (See here and here for more information and to register for the virtual meetings.) Just don’t expect to know any details beyond the fact of these meetings entailing something relating to the master facilities plan (MFP) and/or the boundary process. Moreover, while the DME’s website advertises these meetings as only for Bancroft, H.D. Cooke’s November 3 school newsletter indicates that the meetings are for both school communit ..read more
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School Report Cards, Budgets, & Teacher Retention, Oh My: Upcoming Events
Education DC
by Valerie Jablow
4M ago
–The DC office of the state superintendent of education (OSSE) is updating school report cards and is seeking public feedback on the same starting tomorrow at three upcoming sessions, each with its own subject matter. Registration and more information is here for the following sessions: Monday October 30, 5:30–7 pm: session on what information should be on the report cards. This session will be held in person at the MLK Library, 901 G St. NW, 4th floor conference center; register here. Monday November 13, 6–7 pm: session on how and where the report cards should display schools’ summa ..read more
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The Continuing Opacity Of DC School Funding: Federal Grants
Education DC
by Valerie Jablow
4M ago
[Ed. Note: The following is by Mary Levy, DC school budget expert, on the lack of accounting of federal grants in DC’s public schools in the wake of a new financial management system.] By Mary Levy In a startling blow to fiscal accountability, the office of DC’s chief financial officer (CFO) has eliminated budget information on major federal grants in agencies across DC. On April 12, 2023, I testified against this practice before the DC council committee on business and economic development, at a budget oversight hearing for the office of the CFO, who is the recently appointed Glen Lee. M ..read more
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New School Year, Old Problems
Education DC
by Valerie Jablow
6M ago
—On Wednesday September 6, the DC council will reconvene a hearing on DCPS food contracts. Recall back in August, council chair Phil Mendelson cancelled the hearing’s first iteration when DCPS didn’t provide the contracts (despite being legally required to do so). It is unclear whether the council has the contracts in hand now—and whether the council is willing to have (new) public witnesses sign up. –The deputy mayor for education (DME) will hold town halls for the boundaries process on Tuesday September 26 (12 pm) and Wednesday September 27 (6 pm). More information on both is here, where it ..read more
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A Compilation Of Publicly Inaccessible Information Around DC Charter Schools (Or, Do Better DC)
Education DC
by Valerie Jablow
6M ago
This blog post is intended as a resource, compiling recent problems of public access to information held by the DC charter board, with a list of related decisions by the DC office of open government (OOG) as well as other examples. For background: OOG handles complaints around violations by DC government agencies of DC’s Open Meetings Act (OMA). While OOG is not the only district agency that handles concerns about DC agencies, I have found that other DC investigative agencies (DC inspector general and BEGA, the latter of which OOG is a part) don’t have any listing of (and/or any investigative ..read more
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Planning For Schools AND Saving Them, Part 3: Charter Expansion Grants
Education DC
by Valerie Jablow
7M ago
By the end of 2023 (or, as it’s now looking, the beginning of 2024), DC will have both a new boundaries study as well as a new iteration of its master facilities plan (MFP). As both are integral to the future of DCPS, this is the third of four blog posts on the subject exploring past and more recent events that relate to it. The first post was on DCPS closures; the second was on the MFP and boundaries process; and the last will be on an attempt to change zoning rules for DC charter schools. Charter Expansion Grants Back in December 2022, the DC office of the state superintendent of education ..read more
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Meanwhile, As The Folks Supposed To Represent DC Taxpayer Interests Don’t . . .
Education DC
by Valerie Jablow
8M ago
[Ed. Note: Below is a list of recent, dispiriting, and not unique occurrences regarding the dissing of the public around our publicly funded schools. Thankfully, an antidote is at hand: The DC Open Government Coalition (in collaboration with the DC Public Library) is providing a free program to empower residents to get information about our publicly funded schools. The program is on Wednesday July 12 at 6 pm at the Shaw library, 1630 7th St. NW, meeting room 1. Sign up is here. Go forth in power.] –Many large trees were chopped down in spring to build a new facility in Ward 8 for DC’s Communit ..read more
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Moving Ahead With The Master Facilities & Boundaries Plans
Education DC
by Valerie Jablow
8M ago
Since early 2023, the deputy mayor for education (DME) has been heading up work on the master facilities plan (MFP) and on school boundaries. Both sets of work have progressed—and one will have town halls this month. MFP Registration is here for the MFP town halls on July 12 (12 pm) and July 13 (6 pm). The DME has touted the town halls as part of the MFP process that “will provide strategic, data-informed recommendations to ensure more students have access to modern, well-maintained facilities that meet their needs.” Irony abounds: As many existing DCPS schools have serious and longstanding fa ..read more
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