I want to wish you and yours a Happy Holiday Season and thank you for your support and your work on behalf of our city’s students over the past year.
PARCC. Last month, the Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE) released the District’s results for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) scores for the 2014-16 school year. Here are OSSE’s presentations (Grades 3-8 and High School) and you can find more details on the city-wide scores here. In the coming days, each family with a student who took a PARCC assessment will receive two reports, one for English language arts and one for math. OSSE has developed a guide to help you understand your student’s results.
While our city’s PARCC (and NAEP) results, as well as other key data points such as enrollment and graduation rates, do highlight encouraging trends for our city’s schools, I am deeply troubled by the persistent achievement gaps across our city. On the high school English test, only 17% of students who are “economically disadvantaged,” 20% of Black students, and 25% of Hispanic students met or exceeded expectations while 82% of white students met or exceeded expectations. And, further, just weeks after we celebrated a surge in our city’s graduation rate (DCPS release here), we find that at several of our city’s high schools no students met expectations on the PARCC in Math and very few met that threshold in English. The gaps are equally as shocking for our elementary schools.
I have asked OSSE for data relating to PARCC scores to enrollment in early educational programs and student mobility. I’ve also asked OSSE to provide additional details on the city’s investment in early literacy and math interventions and how effective those programs are at improving our student test scores. If there are other pieces of data that you’d like to see, please contact me to let me know.
FY2017 Budget. The Fiscal Year 2017 budget process for the DC public schools has begun. DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson met with the community in November at Stuart-Hobson Middle School to hear our concerns and priorities. Local School Advisory Teams (LSATs) have also been meeting with the Chancellor and her staff. At the December Capitol Hill Public School Parents Organization (CHPSPO) meeting, Councilmember Allen’s team and I presented information on the budget process to school communities. Please let us know if we can help you and your school community navigate the budget process. [Note: the process for funding of public charter schools operates a quite a bit differently than for DCPS. If you have questions about that process, please contact me.]
My priority for the FY2017 is the restoration of funding for School Modernization. The FY16 Capital Budget, reduced funding for school modernization by $330 million dollars over five years, including $125 million that was slated to go to #Ward6 schools. I want to see this funding restored and our #Ward6 school modernizations, especially for Eliot-Hine MS and Jefferson Academy MS, put back on schedule.
State Board of Education.
State Diploma for GED Recipients. At our November meeting, the State Board of Education adopted a resolution authorizing the city to move forward with regulations that would allow students who pass the GED exam to receive a high school diploma. I was proud to join my colleagues in moving this issue forward and will continue to push our state education agencies to conduct outreach to employers to ensure there is a deeper understanding of the increased rigor of the new GED test (which aligns to the Common Core requirements all District students must meet to graduate). The Office of the State Superintendent of Education will draft regulations and issue them for public comment with a final vote by the State Board tentatively scheduled for our February meeting.
High School Credit Flexibility. During our December meeting, the State Board of Education approved a resolution to authorize the State Superintendent of Education to create regulations that embrace the findings of the SBOE’s High School Credit Flexibility Task Force. These new regulations will allow students who demonstrate proficiency in areas (such as a World Language) to earn credit towards graduation without having to spend 120 hours in a traditional classroom setting.
Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force. Karen Williams, SBOE Vice President and Ward 7 Member, and Faith Gibson Hubbard, Chief Student Advocate, have been asked by the Deputy Mayor for Education, Jennifer Niles, to serve on the city’s Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force. The task force will issue a report for Mayor Muriel Bowser with recommendations for improving the coherence of public education in the District of Columbia for families and increasing collaboration across traditional and charter public schools to improve effectiveness, efficiency, and student achievement.
The Board pushed hard to ensure that our voice, as the city’s elected representatives on educational issues, was a part of the process. Task Force meetings, which will be open to the public, are expected to meet at 6 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month for two years. The first meeting is scheduled for Jan. 26.
In early December Congress passed and the president signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replace the many of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The State Board will be meeting in early January to lay out our plans for the New Year but a major focus will be on helping our city develop an accountability plan that meets the new requirements of ESSA while working to narrow our city’s achievement gap.