Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Town Hall Meetings

To Inform and Mobilize....

Some headlines you may have missed...
"Education Secretary Leads Chorus Calling for Big City-Hall Role"
-Secretary of Education Arne Duncan believes that more mayors need to put their reputations on the line for education. Education Week

"Anger Over Layoffs Vented in 18-Hour Hearing"-The public hearing over teacher layoffs began on Friday at 10:00am and went until 4:00am the next day. Washington Post
Public hearing, Committee of the Whole on October 16, 2009 that showcased testimony from hundreds of teachers and community members regarding the teacher layoffsD.C. City Council Website
For links to these stories and to view the full video of the public hearing, please see below.

Reforming the Reform?
D.C. education continues to receive only a fraction of the focus, participation, and public voice necessary at the Council level to ensure student development and success. So, as asked by Council Member Michael Brown during the October 16th Council Hearing on DCPS, is it time to "Reform the reform"?

In 2007 the D.C. Council gave full oversight of DCPS issues to the Mayor and the mayoral appointed Chancellor. An education committee was eliminated and the Committee of the Whole took charge of D.C.'s most pressing issue, public education.
The intentions are understood, but the actual benefits are debatable. While the previous committee consisted of five Council Members, the Committee of the Whole is chaired by the Council Chairperson and consists of all 13 Council Members. The urgency and interest from the full Council appeared to be the first step toward a 13 person commitment for reform, but as seen during the recent Council Hearing on October 16th, only a handful of Council Members are really involved. A mere 5 Council Members were present any significant portion of time during the 18 hour hearing.

District of Columbia Councilmember Muriel Bowser and Roosevelt Parent Teacher Association to Lead Ward 4 List of Hosts in Releasing Ready Schools Project Research Results Ward 4 Council on Education and Ward 4 State Board of Education Member Sekou Biddle also to Lead Host

Committee as part of Ward by Ward Town Hall Schedule
Washington, DC- Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser joins the town hall series as a co-host. DC VOICE is proud to announce that the first Ready Schools Project 2010 Town Hall meeting in the November Series will take place in Ward 4 at Roosevelt Senior High School. This Ward 4 town hall has a diverse list of co-hosts that have proclaimed their support for community involvement in education reform. One such co-host is Councilmember Muriel Bowser, who joins DC VOICE in the release of the school data collected at over 100 schools. "We can only achieve educational reform by working together. It is my hope that by attending this town hall, more community members will become inspired to advocate for the betterment of our schools" said Councilmember Bowser about DC VOICE's upcoming town hall series.

The Ward 4 Ready Schools Project 2010 Town Hall meeting will take place on Monday, November 9th at 6:30pm at Roosevelt Senior High School, 4301 13th St NW, 20011.

Results of the Ready Schools Project 2010 will be released across the city as part of DC VOICE's November town hall series.

If your organization would like information on hosting a table at a town hall meeting, please send an email to skashim@dcvoice.org.

Demand Reform Demand Equity Campaign Update
This Friday, DC VOICE and the Coalition for Community Schools will accompany a small group of parents, students, and advocates to Carlin Springs Elementary School, a local community school. This learning trip will allow community members to see firsthand how a community school operates. The group will meet with the school principal and the community school coordinator. Testimonials from this community school learning trip will be featured at the Ready Schools Project Town Hall series.

Some other community events...
The DC State Board of Education (DCSBOE) will hold its regularly scheduled public meeting during which the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will present on two issues. OSSE's Health and Wellness team will present an overview of a grant proposal through the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). The Board will also receive an overview of OSSE's progress on implementation of the Pre-K Enhancement and Expansion Act.
Where: 441 4th Street, NW, in the District of Columbia State Board of Education Chambers, located on the lobby level of the building
When: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 5:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact
Beverley Wheeler at (202)741-0884 or by e-mail at Beverley.Wheeler@dc.gov.

Also, please join the D.C. Open Government Coalition for a discussion about getting access to government information in the District of Columbia. Join moderator Colbert I. King of the Washington Post, former D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson, Lucy Dalglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, journalists Bill Myers from the Examiner and Mark Segraves from WTOP Radio, and others as we discuss how D.C. compares with other cities and states, the success stories, the roadblocks and the next steps for improving public access to government information in D.C. A public discussion will follow the panel.

When: Wednesday, October 21st, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.Where: Charles Sumner School at 17th and M Streets NWWho: The event is FREE and open to the public For more information, please contact Melissa Davenport at mdavenport@dcogc.org, or (202)489-8576. WWW.DCOGC.ORG

Don't forget to read the DC VOICE Ostrich's new blog!

Jeff Smith
Executive DirectorDC VOICE
For further information on DC VOICE, please visit our website at www.dcvoice.org or call our office at 202-986-8535.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


At the last Youth2Youth session, we unveiled our new Youth2Youth logo and slogan. We also began voting on a location for our group trip. We had a wonderful speaker present about what health insurance is, how it works, and where to get it. It was a great session!!

This time, we will be talking about some important new proposed legislation on high school transition and preparing our comments to share with the DC City Council! We will also discuss employment and the upcoming Disability Mentoring Days.

Don’t forget that Parent2Parent will be held at the same time, so bring your parents J

Feel free to call if you have any questions, and we will see you there!!

Sylvia Gravitt
Project Director
Advocates for Justice and Education
Tel: 202.678-8060
Fax: 202.678.8062
Parents Only: 888.327.8060

Hello All,
The second and last round of OSSE’s public hearing on Secondary Transition; Comprehensive Child Find System; Early Childhood Transition Policy; State Complaint Policy & Procedures and Early Intervention Services was concluded yesterday. There were only few CBOs which attended the hearing. Among those, Seeds for Tomorrow, Catholic Univ. America, Children’s Law Center, School Talk, Family Choice of DC and one parent (Freddy Martinez) were the only ones who testified. I would like to share with you the following three points that are raised in the hearings:

1. Some participants were concerned about the huge number of regulations/policies that are being adopted by OSSE. They said that they did not have sufficient time to discuss with their clients on the regulations since they are many and adopted at the same time. OSSE admitted that a number of regulations are being issued very quickly but they promised to issue regulations within a reasonable period of time. They said the reason they are adopting many regulations at the same time is because the District is being sued before courts for its failure on SPED and the supervision from DOE is getting very strict.

2. OSSE was also asked if there will be more regulations coming up soon. We were informed that there will be regulations on Procedural Safeguards and they want to review DCMR on IDEA soon. And

3. Lastly, participants were concerned on the low number of attendance in the hearing. OSSE promised that they would do their best to attract more people through outreach. And they mentioned that they need AJE’s and other CBO’s help to get more people in hearings.


Bereket Banbore