Status

Jablow testimony, DME Budget Hearing 4/13/16

I am Valerie Jablow, testifying about the ineffective public education stewardship of the DME’s office that I have experienced as a Ward 6 public school parent. This lack of effectiveness comes at the expense of by right schools and their students, who are the majority of children in DC.

 

Here are some examples:

 

Renovation of DCPS’s Eliot-Hine Middle School has been delayed again, despite mold, rodents, and persistent HVAC issues. Since Eliot was built 85 years ago, its upkeep and improvement have been minimal[1]—as has city investment in most other Ward 6, by right school facilities[2].

 

In the meantime, with charter middle schools starting in 5th grade and actively marketing themselves to Ward 6 by right elementaries,[3] Eliot-Hine’s feeder system has been decimated, and it has lost enrollment for years running.

 

The DME’s office has not addressed these crises.

 

In 2014, then-DME Abigail Smith offered a nearby closed school to charters, presenting data showing hundreds of empty seats at DCPS schools around and including Eliot-Hine.[4] When asked why create another public school in an area where her own data showed a glut of seats, the DME had no answer.

 

Then, during her performance oversight hearing last month, the current DME noted how the city created the misalignment of middle school grades between charters and DCPS[5]—leading to the depopulation of many DCPS elementary and middle schools. The DME testified that she has no idea how to solve this problem.

 

Another example:

 

In March, the DME rolled out data on programmatic capacities of public schools.[6] Charter schools estimated their own capacities, according to current and future uses, curricula, and staffing. Capacities of DCPS schools were estimated by DGS mainly according to square footage.

 

My daughter’s DCPS school, Watkins Elementary, as a result appears to be slightly underenrolled even though it has been fully enrolled—and not meeting ed specs–for decades.

 

And yet, on the basis of this data, the DME analyzed DCPS school utilizations and outlined plans for schools thusly considered underenrolled.[7]

 

But the DME did not outline charter school utilizations–not even for the 44 charters currently in former DCPS spaces.[8] Nor did the DME’s data account for the high closure rate of charter schools,[9] despite both pieces of information being vital to any comprehensive public education planning in DC.[10]

 

The mayor and her deputy supposedly oversee all public education in DC. The buck stops with them for misalignment of middle school grades; poor conditions at schools like Eliot-Hine; and underenrolled schools.

 

And the buck stops with them for equitable planning that would prevent these problems in the first place. Saying “I don’t know how”; pretending no one has oversight of charter schools or enrollment; or shifting the burden to a temporary, volunteer group (the cross sector task force) are excuses that hurt kids.

 

Here is how things could be better—tomorrow, if you and the mayor wanted:

 

–All charter and DCPS middle school grades aligned starting SY17.

–No school created or closed before the poor conditions at Eliot-Hine and other unrenovated schools are completely remedied.

–No school created until empty seats at existing schools are filled.

–School capacities and uses equitably analyzed across sectors—and, until they are, no school openings, closures, or new uses.

 

Our kids deserve education leaders who work for all DC public education students. Thank you.

—————-

Footnotes

[1] See http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/30291/eliot-hine-a-dc-middle-school-is-falling-apart/ and DGS data used to prioritize FY16 capital spending.

 

[2] In a March 2016 presentation, the 21st Century School Fund presented data on DCPS capital expenditures from 1998 through 2015 by ward. Expenditures for Ward 6 were the lowest in the city, both as measured in costs per square foot as well as per attending student:

 

Ward 1: $44,076/student; $169/sf

Ward 2: $48,038/student; $214/sf

Ward 3: $54,373/student; $323/sf

Ward 4: $36,078/student; $149/sf

Ward 5: $59,244/student; $254/sf

Ward 6: $29,426/student; $126/sf

Ward 7: $33,362/student; $165/sf

Ward 8: $44,541/student; $148/sf

[3] This is obvious to anyone who lives on Capitol Hill and has children in its public schools, but it was recently documented in a story on March 2, 2016 on WAMU (see http://wamu.org/news/16/03/02/5th_grade_dropoff) and also on the blog educationdc.net (https://educationdc.net/2015/09/08/where-have-all-the-4th-graders-gone/).

[4] This was the offer of the closed DCPS elementary Gibbs. Besides the glut of seats, the community around Gibbs objected to its reopening as a school and the process by which that was undertaken. See http://anc6a.org/wp-content/uploads/GibbsProcessConcernsDGS.pdf

 

[5] This was on March 2, 2016, at the performance oversight hearing before the council’s education committee. The exchange on the DME’s recognition of misalignment of middle school grades between charters and DCPS began at the 4:17 mark. At 4:21, Charles Allen asked, “Is this something on the table for the cross sector task force?” The DME responded that the task force would be “truly collaborative,” but warned that “decision rights” are not on the table and she would not enact a “fiat.” She then stated, “I don’t know how we are going to solve it.” The charter school board, she noted, would have to choose to have schools to start at certain grades—and then said that it is not in her power to make them do that. See here: https://educationdc.net/2016/03/24/performance-oversight-tidbits-deputy-mayor-for-education/

[6] Some of this data was used for facts sheets for the cross sector task force, but most appears to have been part of the master facilities plan supplement.

[7] See page 6ff of the MFP supplement, available here: http://dme.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dme/publication/attachments/SY15%20MFP%20Annual%20Supplement3%207%2016.pdf

[8] It is not clear if the city still has the public information about square footage and programmatic capacities for these buildings—but it should, given that many are still owned by the city and leased.

[9] Depending on how one calculates this, the charter closure rate goes from a low of 33% to a high of 40%. The NRC report on mayoral control of schools (http://sites.nationalacademies.org/cs/groups/dbassesite/documents/webpage/dbasse_165783.pdf) noted that 102 charters have been granted in DC since 1996, with 38 since closed and 8 never opened, making for a charter closure rate approaching 40%. A report from the Progressive Policy Institute (http://www.progressivepolicy.org/slider/tale-of-two-systems-education-reform-in-washington-d-c/) notes that a third of all charters have closed between 1998 and 2015, making a closure rate of 33%. See https://educationdc.net/2015/10/07/predicting-the-education-future-in-dc/

 

Adding in DCPS closures makes the school closure rates even more stark. Using 21st Century School Fund data, I counted all DCPS schools closed since 1996, when charters started here. I got 65 schools closed. If you add to this the NRC number of closed charter schools since 1996, you get a total of 103 public schools closed (65 + 38) since 1996, for a closure rate of 51 public schools per decade–or 5 entire public schools closed every year on average in the last 20 years.

 

That is a huge number to sustain for both communities and resources in our city. Add to that the fact that the head of MySchoolDC, the DC public school lottery, testified in March before the council that the most important factor for parents choosing schools is proximity to their home.

 

Our high rates of school closures simply prevent parents from enacting school choice, all the while decimating communities that depend on those schools.

 

[10] Let us not forget another piece vital to education planning: the growth of the student population and the growth of the number of schools. In DC, we do the latter far more than the former. In 1999-2000, DC had 185 public schools serving 74,800 students. In 2014-15, DC had 223 public schools serving 85,400 students (data from the 21st Century School Fund).

 

Thus, over a decade and a half, with a gain of 10,600 public school students (14% growth), we have 38 more public schools (20% growth). Each school created requires infrastructure and staffing, raising costs overall. The mismeasure between those numbers adds to those costs.

 

And adding to all those costs is the high rate of school closures, as detailed in footnote 9 above.

 

Simply put, if we want to plan well for our public school students and save money while doing so, we need to stop creating and closing so many schools.

 

I have found nothing among the materials the DME cites or creates that mentions this.

Status

CHPSPO Meeting Notes – March 15 2016

Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization
Capitol Hill Montessori @ Logan, 215 G St., NE

March 15, 2016 – 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

 1) Report out on meeting with DME, Marty Welles and Suzanne Wells

  • Issues raised:
    • Funding/support for Ward 6 middle school Eliot-Hine & Jefferson renovations
    • Task Force; grade misalignment
  • DME suggested issues raised should be heard by charter school leaders/board
  • DME will be responsible for drafting Mayor’s capital improvement plan
  • DCPS now in charge of renovations, but DGS in charge for implementation

2) Discussion of school security procedures, Caroline Kopek-Pezzarossi

  • Are schools locked all the time? Including drop off and pick up?
  • Reports from Miner, Maury, Van Ness, Amidon-Bowen, Tyler, CHM@L, SWS, Watkins, Stuart-Hobson, JO Wilson, Eliot-Hine
  • Variances on front doors being open all day vs locked all day vs locked between 9-3 and after 3:30,
  • DCPS Security Tips Hotline here: http://dcps.dc.gov/page/school-safe

3) Bike to School Day, Sandra Moscoso-Mills

  • Wednesday, May 4 @ Lincoln Park
  • Partnership with National Center for Safe Routes to School
  • Connect with DCPS Cornerstone
  • Reach out to DDOT
  • Follow up planning w/ George, Beth, Danica, Suzanne & Sandra

4) Budget Oversight Hearings – Who is testifying on what – Everyone

 

Next CHPSPO Meeting:  April 19, 2016

UPCOMING EVENTS

Cross Sector Collaboration Task Force

March 21, Education Counsel, 101 Constitution Ave. NW, Suite 900), 6 pm 

Council Performance Budget Oversight Hearings Register at http://bit.ly/EdOversight16

Tuesday, April 12:  PCSB and State Board of Education

Wednesday, April 13: DME

Thursday, April 14 (10 a.m. and 5 p.m.): DCPS (public witnesses)

Monday, April 18: OSSE

Ward 6 Budget Town Hall

April 21st, 6:30-8:30PM Ward 6 CM Allen to host budget town hall, DHS H St Service Center (645 H St. NE) http://www.charlesallenward6.com/fy17budget

Eliot-Hine Enrollment Nights

Tuesday, April 5th and Wed, April 13th (overlap with PTO mtng at 6pm), from 4:30pm – 6:30pm – 1830 Constitution Ave NE

School Auctions

March 19, Maury at the Market, Eastern Market North Hall

April 30, Brent’s Taste of the Hill, Capitol Skyline Hotel

Bike to School Day – May 4 at Lincoln Park. Save the date!

Lion King – May 20 – 21 at Stuart Hobson.  Save the date!

 

 

Status

CHPSPO Meeting Notes – September 15, 2015

Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization
Stuart Hobson Middle School

September 15, 2015

1) Discussion about CHPSPO’s nomination to the Cross-Sector Task Force

  • Issues we think are important for the Task Force to address
    • Planning: # of seats, site selection, curriculum
    • Grade alignment (consistency around at grades are included in middle school)
    • Financial transparency
    • Long-term à amend the existing laws
    • Ways to foster stability throughout the school system
    • Ways to foster collaboration not competition
  • Discussion with people interested in serving on Task Force
    • Caryn Ernst (Capitol Hill Cluster School parent and former PTA president) and Sandra Moscoso (Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan & former LSAT Chair/BASISDC parent)
  • Voting on CHPSPO’s nomination
    • Caryn Ernst was selected to receive the CHPSPO nomination.

2) Discussion about educationdc.net blog, Valerie Jablow; http://educationdc.net/

  • Follow the blog via email, disseminate it into your communities and reach out to Valerie to contribute posts

3) Upcoming DC Council Education Committee hearings and events. Laura Marks

  • Visit here for calendar of Education Committee hearing dates in September and October 2015 and instructions for submitting testimony
  • Public School Food and Nutrition Services Programs and School Food and Nutrition Services Contract Requirement Act of 2015 – public roundtable. Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 10:00 a.m., Hearing Room 412 http://bit.ly/1KrvZx0
  • Early Learning Quality Improvement Network Amendment Act of 2015 and Higher Education Licensure Commission Amendment Act of 2015. Thursday, October 1, 2015, 10:00 a.m., Hearing Room 412 http://bit.ly/1WyW0nw
  • Public Charter School Fiscal Transparency Amendment Act of 2015. Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 1:00 p.m., Hearing Room 120 http://bit.ly/1NATvuJ

4) CHPSPO visits to Wilson Building, Ivan Frishberg.

In process of scheduling group visits with councilmembers on education committee.

5) DCPS Library Resourcing. Peter MacPherson.

  • Proposal to advocate for adequately resourcing DCPS libraries (recommended is 20 volumes/student, which is not currently the case at many schools). Idea is to apply the $13.7 million settlement from Chartwells towards funding volumes in schools without adequate collections.
  • Surveys were distributed to CHPSPO librarians to collect information about individual school collections. Please return completed surveys to Suzanne Wells.

6) Walk-to-School Day Planning, George Blackmon

  • Wednesday, October 7, 7:30-8:30 AM @ Lincoln Park
  • Schools are encouraged to hold their own events, if the distance to/from Lincoln Park is inconvenient.
  • Speakers; draft agenda:
    • 7:30: Arrival/Snacks and American Parkour Academy demos
    • 7:45: Ward 6 CM Charles Allen welcomes everyone
      • NOTE: Charles give a shout out to Mark Toorock and Matt Caraballo from American Parkour Academy (they won’t speak, but will be leading demos on the park).
    • 7:48: Maury ES Cheerleaders perform
    • 7:53 Miriam Kenyon, director of health and physical education at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)
    • 7:56: Tommy Wells, Director of the District Department of the Environment
    • 7:59: JO Wilson ES Cheerleaders perform
    • 8:04: Fitness celebrity Gabriella Boston leads yoga stretch
    • 8:10: Charles Allen sends everyone off to school

7) American Parkour, Mark Toorock and Matt Caraballo info@americanparkour.com

Next CHPSPO Meeting:  October 20, 2015

Upcoming Events

September 30 Education Committee hearing on DCPS Food & Nutrition Services Program, 10AM

September 30  DCPS State of Schools with Chancellor Henderson, Dunbar HS, 7-9 PM

October 4        Brent Fall Festival

October 7        Walk-to-School Day (register your school at www.walkbiketoschool.org)

October 8        Jefferson Academy vs Stuart Hobson (6-8 PM @ Coolidge HS)

October 10      Capitol Hill Cluster School PTA Renovators Tour Fundraiser

October 17      Capitol Hill Community Foundation’s A Literary Feast (http://www.aliteraryfeast.org/)

October 21      Education Committee hearing on issues facing youth

October 24      Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan’s Haunted Harvest, 6-9PM

October 24      Maury Elementary’s Fall Festival

October 24      Tyler Elementary’s Harvest Festival, 11AM-3PM

November 8    JO Wilson’s Taste of H (http://www.tasteofh.org/)

Public Hearing with Mayor, DME, OSSE: FY 2016 Budget for Public Schools in the District of Columbia

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

Fiscal Year 2016 Budget for Public Schools in the District of Columbia

Monday March 16, 2016
6:00 pm – 7:30pm
Columbia Heights Education Campus
3101 16th St., NW

Washington, DC 20010

Mayor Muriel Bowser, Deputy Mayor for Education, Jennifer Nile, and Acting State Superintendent of Education, Amy Maisterra, will hold a public hearing on the Fiscal Year 2016 budget for public schools. The hearing will be held on Monday, March 16, 2015 from 6:00 pm to 7:30pm at Columbia Heights Education Campus, 3103 16th St., NW, Washington, DC 20010.

The purpose of the hearing is to solicit the views of the public on levels of public funding to be sought in the FY 2016 operating budget for public schools in the District of Columbia, pursuant to the District of Columbia Official Code § 38-917.

Members of the public are invited to testify. Testimony is limited to three minutes per witness and five minutes per organization or group. Those wishing to testify should contact Tara Lynch in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education via email at tara.lynch@dc.gov or by telephone at (202) 727-3636 by 4 pm on Thursday, March 12, 2015. Witnesses should bring three (3) copies of their written testimony to the hearing.

Members of the public may submit written testimony, which will be made part of the official record. Copies of written statements should be submitted to the contact listed above no later than 4 pm on Thursday, March 12, 2015.

If members of the public need interpretation services, please contact Mrs. Lynch to arrange services for the hearing.

————————————————————————————–

Status

CHPSPO Meeting Notes – April 23, 2014

Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization
Payne Elementary School, 1445 C St., SE
April 23, 2014 – 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

  1. Bike to School Day (Jennifer Heffernan, DDOT)

o   Register your school (even if you’re not making the Lincoln Park event): http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/user/login?destination=node/add/event (Create the account, then register for goodies from DDoT)

o   US Department of Transportation’s Acting Deputy Secretary of Transportation, Victor Mendez will participate

o   National Center for Safe Routes to School will join us

o   How to get more low income families to participate?

o   WABA Bicycle Ambassadors to direct bike trains?

o   Golden Bicycle Competition – school w/ greatest percentage of cycling (and skating, scooting, tricycling) population in DC wins!

  1. Discussion of Homeless Children Attending Capitol Hill Schools and What Our Community Can Do to Help (Lauren Conley,  Homeless Children’s Playtime Project )

o   Playtime Project philosophy: Play is a human right. Playtime Project delivers structured play (snacks, art, movement) at shelters

o   Every DC school (by law) has a homeless liaison. DCPS contact list: http://osse.dc.gov/publication/dcps-homeless-liaison-contact-list

o   Law requires funds for field trips, uniforms, transportation, etc: application of the law depends on the school’s ability: schools automatically enroll homeless children.

o   How we can help

      • Uniform drives
      • Halloween costume drive (by playtime)
      • Holiday gifts
      • Backpacks filled w/ school supplies
      • Socks, underwear
      • Gently used books, outside toys
      • Baby things
      • Talk to your kids about empathy, teasing, etc
      • Mentorship program? Girls Inc? Girls on the Run, Big Brothers:
      • Capitol Area food bank (lesson + bag of groceries)
      • Weekend food; Backpack w/ food for the weekend. http://feedingamerica.org/
      • Advocacy
      • Ways to support Relisha Rudd

o   Set aside PTA funds for a general fund in her name

o   Washer/Dryers and pantries at every school

o   Letter-writing campaign

o   November Homeless Awareness Month

o   Next Steps: Cornelia Sigworth to assemble homeless families sub-committee to pursue support activities.

 

  1. School Boundaries/Feeder Pattern Discussion (Denise Forte & Marty Welles)

o   Discussion:

o   Next Steps:

    • CHPSPO to look to Working Group Data (to be posted on DME site) at the school level and to http://ourdcschools.org results at Ward level to put together a position on boundary review

o   You can provide feedback on the proposals on http://ourdcschools.org/ (created by Code for DC) through mid-May. All feedback will be made open, while protecting privacy data.

  1. Public Charter School applications and public hearing (Suzanne Wells)

o   Suzanne Wells and Laura testified

o   Two new middle schools could be approved

o   Written testimony accepted until April 25

 Next CHPSPO Meeting:  May 20, 2014

 

Upcoming Events

April 22 – May 5              CHM@L online auction (www.biddingforgood.com/CHML)

April 26          Payne Spring Festival and Bazaar (9am-3pm @ Payne)

April 26          DCYOP @ Eliot-Hine. 12:30pm performance on the blacktop. Stay tuned for the Fall 2014 DCYOP Petting Zoo at Eliot-Hine!

April 26          Ludlow-Taylor Spring Jubilee (2pm-5pm @ Ludlow Taylor)

April 29          Eliot-Hine Career Fair – Register here to present 15 min snapshots

May 5              Eliot-Hine Open Houses – morning and evening

May 7              Bike to School Day (Lincoln Park) – Register your school and join the Fun!

May 10           Laps Around Lincoln (Tyler Fundraiser) 9-11 AM @ Lincoln Park

May 14           Eliot-Hine PTO meeting for incoming families. How to get involved w/ PTO before you enroll.

May 18           Capitol Hill Classic 10K/3K/Fun Run