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The DC State Board of Education Requests Input on the Every Student Succeeds Act and More!

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 11:08

Below is the June edition of the Citizen Reader.  Scroll down to find article on the following topics: 

Calling All Citizens:  The SBOE Seeks Your Thought on the ESSA
DOEE conducting free blood lead screenings in response to recent elevated levels of lead in the water of some schools
District Law and Lead in Children
June 14 Primary Election Councilmember Candidate’s Views on Education
Calling all citizens: the SBOE seeks your thoughts on the ESSA
State Trends in Student Data Privacy Bills
After School in Japanese!
Schedule of SBOE/ESSA meetings
Schedule of Committee on Education Hearings
…and there’s more to come in this busy month of June, 2016


Calling All Citizens:  The SBOE Seeks Your Thought on the ESSA

Like their counterparts across the country, DC’s State Board of Education and State Superintendent of Education are in the process of leading the city in the transition from the No Child Left Behind Act to the new federal education law that replaced it in December 2015–the Every Student Succeeds Act.

As a part of that process, the Board has set up a page on its website just for ESSA and on that page there is a survey in three languages: English, Spanish and Amharic. The public is encouraged to email the Board with any thoughts that don’t fit on the survey. There is also a schedule of meetings the Board is holding across the city to provide an overview of the new law and its requirements and to hear the public’s views and thoughts. The meetings are Ward based but they are not limited to residents of the particular Ward—anyone is free to attend the meeting in any ward.

The Board’s ESSA page also has a video-recording of its March 16 meeting where three very knowledgeable people with long experience in public education, policy and law presented their understandings of the new law and there is a document called “What YOU Need to Know About ESSA” in a power point format that shows some of the contrast between NCLB and ESSA and many of the requirements and other factors to be considered as DC works out its own plan for what its public education system should be accountable for and how it will do that. See next page for more resources and last page for schedule of the meetings.


DOEE Conducting Free Blood Lead Screenings in Response to Recent Elevated Levels of Lead in the Water of Some Schools

This is the schedule on the Department of Energy and Environment website:
• Saturday, June 11 from 10 am to 4 pm at Michigan Park, 1731 Bunker Hill Rd. NE
• Friday, June 17 from 12 to 6 pm at the King Greenleaf Recreation Center, 201 N St. SW
• Saturday, June 25 from 11 am to 3 pm at the Raymond Recreation Center, 3725 10th St. NW • Saturday, August 6 from 9 am to 4 pm at the Columbia Heights Recreation Center, 1480 Girard St. NW
Screenings also took place on June 1 and on June 4. For more information, see or call 202-535-2600, TTY711.

Additional Information about ESSA:

● All the information mentioned on the previous page can be found at The Board’s email address is 202-741-0888 ● There is more at And the following:

● US Department of Education, explains it all and has a link to the law itself.
● National Conference of State Legislatures provides a summary at, type ESSA summary into search box.
● American Federation of Teachers has plain English explanations in a series of Fact Sheets and much more at succeeds-act

ESSA rule making has been moving along quickly.  The US Department of Education’s committee to write the rules needed to implement the new federal law, Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, held its first three day session in late March. On April 1, the Department issued a press release, Education Department Releases Proposals for Consideration by ESSA Negotiated Rules Making Committee. The proposals concern two elements of the law: Assessments and the mandate to Supplement, Not Supplant. The press release summarizes the proposals and provides links to the full versions.


District Law and Lead in Children

One of the DC Department of Energy and the Environment’s responsibilities is ensuring that DC laws about lead and other toxic substances are known and adhered to. You’ll find everything about the subject at

A law, “Childhood Lead Screening Amendment Act of 2006” that became effective on March 14, 2007 requires that all children living in DC be screened for lead by the age of 6.

The schedule by which the screenings are supposed to take place is:
+ Between the ages of 6 months and 14 months, and again
+ Between the ages of 22 months and 26 months
+ If a child who lives in the District has not been screened at these ages, they must be screened at least once before they are 6 years old.
+ District law also requires that all children must be screened before entering day care, pre-school or kindergarten.”

So, children born in DC since 2007 should already have had two screenings by the time they are two years and 2 months old as part of their well-baby check- ups. Parents or guardians with questions should contact their child’s doctor.

June 14 Primary Election Councilmember Candidate’s Views on Education

The Coalition for DC Public Schools and Communities, which holds to a set of Six Principles by which education decisions should be made, sent a questionnaire to all the primary election candidates for councilmember and posted the responses on for all to read.

The Coalition says, “We believe it is important city council candidates go on record about important public education issues because the DC Council approves the operating and capital budget for the DC public schools; has the power to enact policy that effects support for and effectiveness of public education in DC; and is responsible for oversight of public education and ensuring accountability for quality public schools. The C4DC questionnaire seeks to inform voters about each candidate’s views on the issues of public education vision; budget; research and evaluation; and measurement and testing.”

The first question asked is: “How committed are you to ensuring we have a city wide network of excellent DCPS neighborhood schools serving children from pre-K through high school to which families have a right to attend (without being subjected to a lottery)?”

In addition to being sent to all the Primary election candidates, the questionnaire was also sent to Independent At-Large David Grosso who will be on the November ballot and is currently the chair of the Council’s Committee on Education.

While some candidates did not respond much can be learned from those who did.

Council Considers Major Revisions to Youth Justice Law

B21-0683, The Comprehensive Youth Justice Amendment Act of 2016, was introduced on April 5 and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Bill Summary per LIMS: “As introduced, this bill makes changes to District law regarding detainment of minors. It redefines the term “child” to include more persons and prohibits the following:
(1) the placement of children into detention prior to a fact-finding or dispositional hearing solely because they have been declared in need of supervision;
(2) the placement of individuals under the age of 18 into adult penal institutions; and (3) the transfer of legal custody from parents or guardians to a government entity after a finding of delinquency as relating to a child under the age of ten.

The bill also contains provisions eliminating the legal presupposition that detention is required in certain circumstances; authorizes certain persons to view ordinarily confidential juvenile records; requires the Attorney General to develop a program to provide victim- offender mediation as an alternative to prosecution if both parties agree; and requires the Department of Youth Rehabilitation to conduct and submit an annual analysis to the Council on the root causes of youth incarceration.”

Nearly seventy witnesses testified at the hearing on June 2. The record for written testimony ends at close of business on Thursday, June 16, 2016.


State Trends in Student Data Privacy Bills

DC’s bill to protect the privacy of student data, Bill 21-578, the Protecting Students Digital Rights Privacy Act of 2016, had a hearing on March 21 and is still under Council consideration according to a staff person at the Committee on Education office on June 6.

Meanwhile the National Association of State Boards of Education, NSABE, released a report in May called Trends in Student Data Privacy Bills in 2016. Among its findings is that some 400 bills on this subject have been introduced in state legislatures since 2014.

This year, they say, 38 states have considered 112 new bills as well as 73 bills that were carried over from 2015. The report notes that one of the bills from last year, California’s Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SOPIPA) directly regulates third parties in contrast to bills in Colorado and Connecticut that distinguish between contracts schools sign with third parties, such as for cloud storage, and products where there is no negotiated contract.

The report also notes that “more than 50 bills expand the role of state boards of education (SBEs)” though Michigan is interested in limited student data that boards may access and several states would prohibit boards from “sharing information with certain entities, including the US Department of Education.”

DC’s state board of education is a member of NSABE and At-large member Mary Lord was president of the association last year. See for its Policy Update of May, 2016 with full report.


After School in Japanese!

Globalize DC, a local non-profit, is planning an after-school program, at no cost to students, focusing on the Japanese language and culture for about 25 high school students from DCPS and charter schools.

Students interested should take the first step by submitting the online Student Interest Form. Here is the link to the form:

To learn more, contact Sally Schwartz at 202-251-1692 or by email at


Schedule of SBOE/ESSA meetings

Thursday, June 2 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm at the Petworth Library in Ward 4
Saturday, June 4 from 1 to 2 pm at the Columbia Heights Education Campus in Ward 1
Saturday, June 4 from 4 to 5 pm at the Capital View Library in Ward 7
Monday, June 6 from 6 to 7 pm at the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center in Ward 5
Wednesday, June 8 from 7 to 8 pm at Tenley-Friendship Library in Ward 3
Monday, June 13 from 6 to 7 pm at the Martin Luther King Library in Ward 2
Thursday June 16 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm at the Anacostia Libary in Ward 8
Tuesday, June 21 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm at the Capitol Hill Montessori @Logan in Ward 6


Schedule of Committee on Education Hearings

Wednesday, June 9, 2:30 pm in Room 120
Public Roundtable on Public Resolutions 21-722, 21-669 and 21-624 to confirm the appointment of Donald Soifer to the Public Charter School Board and the appointments of Kamili Anderson and Karma Cottman to the Board of Library Trustees
To testify: call 202-724-8061 or email by Monday June 7

Wednesday, June 15 10 am in Room 123
• State of School-Based Athletics in Public Schools
• Bill 21-601, District of Columbia State Athletic Consolidation Act of 2016
To testify: or call 202-724-8061 by 5 pm on June 13

Wednesday June 22 10 am in Room 500
• Committee on Education and Committee on Transportation & the Environment
Joint Oversight Round Table on Lead Testing in Public Facilities
To testify: or call 202-724-8061 by Monday June 20
• 2 pm Committee on Education Meeting Room 123


…and there’s more to come in this busy month of June, 2016

June 17 last day of school for DCPS. Students will be dismissed at 12:15 pm.

June 27 DCPS Summer school programs begin. See for complete schedule.


June 30 Deadline for DC Tuition Grant Applications (TAG). For more info go to

Congratulations to ALL graduates!

Citizen Reader is a project of Livingview Communications-a citizens’ information service. Contact: with corrections, letters to the editor or to subscribe. Thanks!

The post The DC State Board of Education Requests Input on the Every Student Succeeds Act and More! appeared first on Grassroots DC.

Proposed Bill to Fund DC Public Housing Repairs Raises Concerns

Tue, 06/07/2016 - 14:01

The fight to increase the amount of affordable housing in the District of Columbia should also include efforts to maintain the city’s public housing. It was a need for clean, safe and affordable housing that prompted the creation of public housing in the 1930s. That need still exists today but our willingness to fund it has been on the decline since the 1960s. Today, the Public Housing Operating Fund—the main source of revenue for public housing maintenance and repairs–pays for only 86% of the items in HUD’s budget.

It looks as though the D.C. City Council may at long last be trying to make up the difference with the Public Housing Rehabilitation Amendment Act of 2016.  The problem that those who advocate on behalf of public housing have with the bill is that it won’t pay for maintenance if the housing is slated for redevelopment. So if you live in Barry Farm, Kenilworth Courts, Park Morton, Highland Dwellings or Lincoln Heights–all properties scheduled for eventual redevelopment–you’re out of luck.

The article below provides more details.

New Legislation Welcomed by Public Housing Advocates

Cross-posted from Street Sense
Written By Reginald Black

Members of the Empower DC housing campaign and residents of public housing took a walk around the Wilson Building weeks before the first FY2017 budget vote to meet with council members and discuss their budget priorities. The residents have been calling for desperately needed repairs to both occupied and unoccupied units of public housing managed by the D.C. Housing Authority (DCHA). The residents have been requesting work orders for more than six years, some properties haven’t been properly maintained since the 1980s.

In March, At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman and Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1), Charles Allen (Ward 6) and Mary Cheh (Ward 3) introduced a bill that would provide funds for maintenance of existing public housing units. It is a great move by council, but public housing residents still had some concerns regard language within the bill.

One of the first stops on the list was Ward 8 Councilmember LaRuby May’s office. The councilwoman was not in at the time, but the group met with Councilwoman May’s staff. Their main concern stems from a line in the bill that states the repair funds allocated could not be used for properties up for demolition. “We wanted to address line 46,” said Detrice Bel, leader of the Barry Farm Tenant and Allies Association. “Residents have an issue with that.”

“I live in a development on Capitol Hill that is supposed to be upkept, but it’s not,” said public housing resident Robert Lee. He asked if May’s office could seek changes to the language of the bill that would force maintenance people do their job. “We need more accountability when it comes to public housing. It’s like everybody’s looking for a paycheck.”

Lee also described his days as a maintenance worker. “In the morning, we clean up the activity from the night before,” he said. “But after that, when is the work going to get done in the places?”

May’s legislative director, Michael Austin said their office is open to all ideas. “We’re always trying to find what we can do to preserve homes, that includes public housing.”

To Lee, there is no observable sense of urgency on these issues. “These are people’s lives we’re talking about,” he said. “These are the same arguments we present you all the time.” The bill has not moved forward since a notice of intent to act on it was published in the District of Columbia register on March 18.

The post Proposed Bill to Fund DC Public Housing Repairs Raises Concerns appeared first on Grassroots DC.