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SBOE #DCGradReqs Task Force Takes Strategic Pause

Friday, December 22, 2017
Members Will Reconvene in February 2018

Washington, DC - The DC State Board of Education (SBOE) announces that its High School Graduation Requirements Task Force will be taking a strategic pause during the month of January 2018 to take advantage of upcoming information that will influence the task force’s work. Stepping back for a month will allow staff and task force members to reflect on constituent feedback received thus far, as well as consider information from the ongoing investigation of the implementation of high school graduation requirements at Ballou High School and other schools across the city. The results of the citywide investigation being led by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education are expected at the end of January. Members will reconvene in February to continue their work.

“Too often, policymakers race forward with changes without pausing to consider how changing contexts may influence the direction of their work. We are taking the month of January to reflect on the work done so far by the task force, the input we have received to-date and to ensure we consider the outcomes of the ongoing investigation before moving forward,” said Laura Wilson Phelan, Ward 1 representative and task force co-chair.

“Recent developments make the work and forthcoming recommendations of this task force even more critical for our students and families”, said Markus Batchelor, Ward 8 representative and task force co-chair. “The promise of our work together with the broad representation that exists from across the city will be essential in the creation of groundbreaking new opportunities for our students. We want to seize this moment by ensuring our work incorporates new information as it becomes available.”

This task force marks an historic citywide effort to review, analyze and, as necessary, make thoughtful, implementable recommendations to adjust DC’s high school graduation requirements for all DCPS and public charter school students. Under the leadership of Ward 1 representative Laura Wilson Phelan and Ward 8 representative Markus Batchelor, the 26 members of the task force mirror our school-aged population, with half of the task force members living or working East of the Anacostia River. After the pause, the task force will resume its regular meetings with the goal of presenting recommendations to the State Board in the spring.

All task force meetings are open to the public. However, individuals and representatives of organizations are not permitted to speak or participate during task force sessions. District residents may stay involved and provide input throughout this process in a variety of ways. Individuals and representatives of organizations may submit written testimony or information for consideration by the task force by emailing [email protected] or by filling out this online form. Members of the public can also request to join our discussion group here to share input regarding the work of the task force.

The DC State Board of Education is an independent agency within the executive branch of the Government of the District of Columbia which works to advise the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), which is the District’s state education agency. The Board is comprised of nine elected representatives, each representing their respective wards, with one member representing DC at large, in addition to two student representatives. While OSSE oversees education within the District and manages federal education funding, the Board approves education policies, sets academic standards, and determines teacher qualifications. 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.

For the latest updates on the work of the task force, please visit