School reform and accountability - community input sought on DC proposal for No Child Left Behind waiver
- Dear friends, neighbors, fellow parents, and community advocates -
The Office of the State Superintendent of Education, in partnership with the DC State Board of Education, is holding a series of community forums this month to get feedback and ideas on the District of Columbia's proposal to change how we hold schools accountable for student achievement. (See list, below.)
This represents the biggest change in federal education policy since No Child Left Behind was signed into law a decade ago, and I hope as many residents as possible will weigh in on the U.S. Department of Education's exciting opportunity for states to recalibrate how we measure student achievement and what we mean by educational excellence.
For example, a high school report card might include the percentage of students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams or improvements in graduation rates. Elementary schools might be acknowledged for moving struggling 5th grade readers from 2nd to 4th grade levels - currently "below the bar" or cut score, and thus earning that school a "failing" label.
This is not a "pass" for low-performing schools or a way for schools to ignore struggling subgroups of students. DC will continue to assess students and post scores - but current law requires 100% of students be reading and doing math on grade level by 2014.... and right now, only a handful of our city's public and public-charter schools are even close to that. Citywide, fewer than half of elementary students are on grade level. And about 80 percent of our schools -- even high performing ones like Murch Elementary and CHEC - are somewhere in the "needs improvement" pipeline, according to No Child Left Behind measures.
There are two meetings in Ward 2 this evening - at Garrison Elementary, 1200 S Street NW at 5:30 pm, and at the Logan Circle ANC2F meeting, Washington Plaza Hotel on Thomas Circle, 14th and Mass. Ave NW, at 7:15 - and in Ward 3 at the Hearst PTA meeting (37th between Porter and Upshur). A Ward 1 ANC meeting is scheduled for next week. Other presentations are being scheduled, so please check the OSSE website. To inquire about hosting a forum, please check with OSSE communications specialist Jeralyn Cave, jeralyn.cave@....
Written comments or concerns also welcome: osse.comments@...
I also would welcome feedback - particularly on whether DC should start to "count" science scores (currently tested in 5th, 8th, and high school biology) in the school accountability plan.
Here's a litt of upcoming community meetings. Hope you can join me and the OSSE team at Garrison Elementary this evening.
DC State Board of Education, Ward 2
202-257-3226 state board cell
202-741-0888 state board main number
List of ESEA Waiver Request ommunity Meetings
Hearst PTA Meeting
Palisades Citizen Association
John Eaton Home & School Association
3 & 4