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Roles and Responsibilities


The “Public Education Reform Amendment Act of 2007" (PERAA) effectuated a mayoral takeover of the District of Columbia public school system, substantially altering the educational paradigm in the District of Columbia by redistributing powers and authority concerning education.

Historically, the District of Columbia Board of Education was the central policymaking entity on education matters. However, with the enactment of PERAA, the Board of Education was removed from day-to-day management of DCPS and instead, DCPS became a cabinet-level, subordinate agency under the Mayor and a Department of Education was established, headed by a Deputy Mayor for Education (DME) to oversee the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE).

The State Board of Education continues to play key roles in maintaining and improving the quality of public schools.

By-Laws of the State Board of Education

Vision Statement

  • All District of Columbia students acquire the skills and knowledge to lead healthy, productive lives as engaged global citizens in a democratic society.

Mission Statement

  • The mission of the District of Columbia State Board of Education is to provide policy leadership, support, advocacy, and oversight of public education to ensure that every student is valued and learns the skills and knowledge necessary to become informed, competent, and contributing global citizens.
  • The State Board views its role in the achievement of this mission as one of shared responsibility, whereby it engages families, students, educators, community members, elected officials and business leaders to play a vital role in preparing every child for college and/or career success.

Equity Statement

The D.C. State Board of Education acknowledges that institutional racism and inequitable policies have contributed to uneven outcomes and opportunity gaps for various student groups.

The State Board believes all students deserve access to high-quality instruction and necessary support to meet their full potential according to a range of academic and 21st-century learning standards. The State Board believes all children, with the right support, can achieve at high levels and become well-rounded individuals who are engaged in their communities and have the freedom to choose the college or career of their liking: the primary objective of Pre-K–12 education.

To ensure the success of every public school student in the District of Columbia and the reduction of disparities between students, the State Board will:

  • Identify priority issues that disproportionately hurt and hinder the educational experience of vulnerable students;
  • Use its platform to generate public attention and a public policy focus on these issues and their solutions;
  • Support and promote the equity-focused work of the Office of the Student Advocate and Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education;
  • Promote and support state-level education policies that address these needs; and
  • Promote transparency that allows the State Board and others to ensure that schools adhere to state policies.

Equity Framework

By utilizing an Equity Framework, the State Board aims to provide a common vocabulary and protocol for evaluating and filtering policies, proposals, and decisions. By adopting such a framework, the State Board acknowledges these areas as priority on a perpetual basis. The Equity Framework stands to serve as an institutional guiding force for the State Board’s work through changes in its leadership from year to year or the numerous issues that arise any given year. There are three framework focus areas that organize the State Board’s Equity Framework, including:

  1. Improving student learning and academic outcomes for students designated as at-risk;
  2. Increasing the representation of groups that have been historically marginalized; and
  3. Expanding access to culturally relevant pedagogy and anti-racist professional development.

The Equity Framework’s focus areas are intentionally broad so as to not overly limit the State Board’s actions. Understanding the limitation of the State Board’s authority over the District’s public schools, the State Board’s focus on the Equity Framework will be used primarily to inform internal functions and decisions—though there will be times the State Board will seek to influence related discussions and decisions in the broader District education landscape.

Framework Focus Area Guidance
Student Learning and Academic Outcomes The D.C. State Board of Education will advocate for and take action to improve outcomes for students designated as at-risk through high-quality instruction and necessary support.
Student, Educator, Community, and Human Capital Representation The D.C. State Board of Education will advocate for and take action to increase the representation of groups that have been historically marginalized in the District’s teacher and administrator workforce and through the functions of the State Board.
Educator and Team Cultural Competency The D.C. State Board of Education will advocate for and take action to expand access to culturally relevant pedagogy within D.C. schools and anti-racist professional development opportunities for D.C. educators and State Board staff.

Statutory Roles and Responsibilities

The State Board is responsible for advising the State Superintendent of Education on educational matters, including: state standards; state policies, including those governing special, academic, vocational, charter and other schools; state objectives; and state regulations proposed by the Mayor or the State Superintendent of Education. The State Board is also responsible for approving the following state-level policies:

  • State academic standards that standards meet the following qualifications: specify what children are expected to know and be able to do; contain coherent and rigorous content, encourage the teaching of advanced skills; and are updated on a regular basis;
  • High school graduation requirements;
  • Standards for high school equivalence credentials;
  • State definitions of “adequate yearly progress” and “proficiency” that will be applied consistently to all local education agencies;
  • State definition and standards for “highly qualified teachers,” pursuant to the Every Student Succeeds Act;
  • Standards for accreditation and certification of teacher preparation programs of colleges and universities;
  • The state accountability plan for the District of Columbia developed by the Chief State School Officer, pursuant to the Every Student Succeeds Act ensuring that: (A) the plan includes a single statewide accountability system that establishes ambitious long-term student achievement goals, which include measurements of interim progress toward meeting those goal; and (B) the statewide accountability system included in the plan is based on, but is not limited to, challenging state academic standards, academic assessments, and a standardized system of accountability across all local education agencies;
  • State policies for parental involvement;
  • State policies for supplemental education service providers operating in the District to ensure that providers have a demonstrated record of effectiveness and offer services that promote challenging academic achievement standards and that improve student achievement;
  • The rules for residency verification;
  • The list of charter school accreditation organizations;
  • The categories and format of the annual report card, pursuant to the Every Student Succeeds Act;
  • The list of private placement accreditation organizations, pursuant to Uniform Per Student Funding Formula for Public Schools and Public Charter Schools and Tax Conformity Clarification Amendment Act of 1998;
  • Approve state rules for enforcing school attendance requirements; and
  • Approve state standards for home schooling.

Read the full statute here