July 23, 2007

Great Expectations in DC

The education leadership of the Washington, DC schools appeared before a Senate committee – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, of all panels - late last week to discuss the mayor’s proposed reforms to the troubled school system. The tenor and tone of the debate can best be summed up by the title of the hearing, “Great Expectations: Assessments, Assurances, and Accountability in the Mayor’s Proposal to Reform the District of Columbia’s Public School System.” You can click here to view an archived webcast of the hearing, or to access all of the written testimony of the witnesses, which included the Mayor, the President of the new State Board of Education, the new chancellor, the state superintendent, the deputy mayor for education, and the new school facilities manager.

State Board President Robert Bobb’s comments on the state board’s new duties and responsibilities is worth highlighting at length. To wit, “The D.C. State Board of Education was established by the District of Columbia Education Reform Amendment Act of 2007. Although the members of the new Board remain the same, the objectives of this board are narrower in focus than the objectives of the previous Board of Education.

The State Board of Education looks forward to discharging our new duties and responsibilities. In our new role approving  and advising on citywide education issues, we will approve learning standards and graduation requirements; we will approve the accountability structure that will dictate how lagging and failing schools are supported and held accountable  for their performance; and we will establish the criteria for operating all types of education institutions throughout the District of Columbia, including D.C. Public Schools, charter schools, private schools, supplemental education service providers, and the education programs administered at the college and university level.”