In 2019, the State Board worked to elevate community voices through advocacy, engagement, and partnership with District government agencies and nonprofit organizations. The State Board adopted the final report of its ESSA Task Force after two years of community engagement on the District’s implementation of the federal law, and it provided a platform to constituents and education experts on important issues from educator preparation to state accountability. Through independent research, the State Board shed light on the issue of teacher retention—then worked to engage District leaders to take action via D.C. Council testimony at oversight hearings and the introduction of new legislation for the first time in the agency’s history. In all of their work, State Board members used their platform to speak out on behalf of the issues that matter most to District students and their families and will continue to do so in the new year.
The State Board continued to expand its footprint in education policy development here in the District by building stronger partnerships with families and students, providing unvarnished and vital research on education issues, and by expanding the breadth and depth of community involvement in state-level education policy. In 2018, from improvements to high school graduation requirements to helping develop the first tool for direct school-to-school comparison across sectors, the State Board was there.
The first ten years of the DC State Board of Education (SBOE) have been marked by strong contributions to education in the District of Columbia. Created in the sweeping Public Education Reform Amendment Act of 2007 (PERAA), the SBOE plays a unique and autonomous role in the District of Columbia’s education landscape. The nine members of the State Board are the only independently elected officials who focus solely on education and they advocate for families’ needs to decision-makers at the top of the executive and legislative branches of government. In this report, the Board shares details about the policy challenges it has addressed over the last decade, the issue areas where the SBOE has focused much of its attention, and the regulations Board members approved. All of the agency’s actions have been guided by an unwavering focus on the best interests of students in the District.
2016 was truly a groundbreaking year for the District of Columbia State Board of Education. The SBOE helped to create a foundation here in the District for excellence and equity in education, continuing its impressive pace of work committed to ensuring that every student receives a top-quality education. This is accomplished by establishing the “architecture of excellence” – the academic standards and other policies that spur innovation, strengthen teaching, and enrich instruction for every child, in every subject, in every classroom across the city.
2015 marked the first year of the Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness (PARCC), the District’s Common Core-aligned annual assessments. The results of these rigorous new exams provided a sobering picture of how our students performed, including the alarming disparities in performance that persist among our students. The National Assessment for Educational Progress, also known as “the nation’s report card” confirmed these troubling trends. Closing this opportunity gap remained a top priority for the SBOE, which formed a committee that began working to find ways to combat this problem.
2013 was a milestone year in which a newly autonomous State Board strengthened its capacity to continue playing a critical role in the District of Columbia’s ongoing education reform efforts. Most notably, the State Board became independent from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) with passage of the “State Board of Education Personnel Amendment Authority Act of 2012.” Our statutory responsibilities remained the same as outlined in the “Public Education Reform Amendment Act of 2007,” including approving academic standards, high school graduation requirements, compulsory attendance rules, and the District’s school accountability plan. However, the State Board managed its own staff and budget.
2012 saw significant progress on several major fronts, as we took steps towards improving public engagement, promoting innovation, advancing accountability, and building a system that rewards competency not just “seat time.” Working with our partners, including District of Columbia Public Schools and public charter school leaders, the Deputy Mayor for Education, and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, the State Board looked forward to continuing the transformation of public education in the District of Columbia.
In 2011, The District of Columbia State Board of Education joined 44 other states in adopting new Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. These new learning frameworks, created by states for states will compel radical changes in instruction and invite teachers of history, science, art and other subjects back into the curriculum. Common Core Standards offered a new, uniformed approach to preparing students for college and the workforce upon earning a high school diploma. During school year 2010 - 2011, the District of Columbia began the first phase of implementing the standards in the public education system. The District of Columbia State Board of Education and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education trained elected and appointed officials, staff, educators and parents on proper implementation of the standards beginning in the Fall of 2011.