Testimony of Sara Moore Kerai
DC State Board of Education Hearing
March 15, 2017
Thank you for the opportunity to testify. My name is Sara Moore Kerai and I am a parent of a pre- K 3 child at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan.
I care deeply about the quality of my children’s education and the need to understand the quality of our schools based on more than just a test score. I was excited and hopeful at the opportunity to create a new accountability system that will value test scores alongside other important ways of demonstrating school quality & environment.
I read the draft plan and attended an OSSE outreach session hosted by the Capitol Hill Public School Parent Organization. I was pleased to hear the deep interest in a new accountability system that looked at the whole child shared by all of the parents who attended.
At the meeting, I was concerned by OSSE’s seeming lack of motivation to make significant changes, and to allow more time to think critically about these issues as a broad community.
Later, I was pleased when the State Board of Education released a list of well thought-out and meaningful recommendations for changes to the draft ESSA plan. The recommended changes are greatly supported by my community, including teachers and parents. The recommendations also demonstrated that members of the State Board actually listened to feedback from the community. My community has hoped that the State Board would not approve an OSSE plan that does not implement those changes in full.
However, only yesterday, OSSE released its response to public and State Board comments.
This left us once again with precious little time to review and understand the response and its impact before today’s hearing. As I understand it, the plan takes some meaningful steps in addressing the State Board’s comments, as well as parent and educator input, but it does not go nearly all the way. Is the State Board indicating that it generally supports the revised plan as is? It is disappointing to me and my school community that we are essentially backed into a corner with no additional room for revision or improvement.
While I appreciate OSSE’s efforts to respond to some of the community input, I still believe we can do better. I hope that you will not stop with the plan. I hope that OSSE will continue to work with the parent and educator community every step of the way through implementation. A plan is only as good as its implementation – and implementation will not be effective without parent and educator partnership.