The Committee and The C4DC Advocate with DC Councilmembers for More Equity in DC Public Schools

In light of several challenges that face the DC public school system, on Friday, March 9, Kent Withycombe and several other representatives of the Coalition for DC Public Schools and Communities (C4DC) held four meetings with DC Councilmembers and their chief legislative staff to advocate for more equity, parent and school community input, transparency and accountability. They plan another round of meetings with councilmembers soon. For a summary of the C4DC talking points, see below. For more on the C4DC, which includes parents, teachers, all Ward Education Council representatives, the Committee, 21st Century Schools Fund, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, the Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals and Educators (SHAPPE), and Teaching for Change, among others, see

Coalition for DC Public Schools and Communities (C4DC)
Discussions on Public Education with DC Councilmembers
March 9, 2018

C4DC is committed to excellent public education opportunities for all children in our city. Our members are a diverse group of activists – Ward-level education councils, school organizations and other groups – who share a common goal that children in all corners of our great city deserve to have great public schools in their neighborhoods – from Pre-K through high school – that fully meet the needs of our students and our communities.

Recent events (graduation audit, enrollment fraud, resignation of both the DME and Chancellor, release of the Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force recommendations) create an opportunity for DC to examine its public education path going forward.  Today we are engaging in a discussion with our councilmembers about:

  • Building coherence into school opening, closing and siting decisions
    • Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force recommendations fall short of change needed to ensure coordinated planning between DCPS and the PCSB on the opening and siting of new schools
    • Excess capacity of 21,000 seats across the DCPS and charter schools results in inefficient management of our city’s education dollars
    • Master Facilities Plan is past due, yet new schools continue to open each year
    • Suggest consideration of 5-year moratorium on closing any DCPS schools
  • Strengthening the by-right neighborhood schools
    • High-performing school systems do not rely on lottery systems for families to get their children into high-performing schools.  City must double down on strengthening the by-right neighborhood schools DCPS maintains
    • Proximity is driver of school choice for many DC families who cannot manage commutes across town or who choose to support their neighborhood school
  • Ensuring racial and economic equity in all our public schools
    • Acknowledge and address the impacts of segregation, gentrification and the displacement of African American, Latino and low-income students and families on school demographics and performances
    • Promote an equitable distribution of resources based on holistic school need
    • Support the creation of district-wide race and equity policies, practices and trainings for staff, students and families
  • Need for objective, independent review of educational outcomes and governance structure
    • DC should fund and support institutional arrangements for independent and ongoing evaluation of its educational system like suggested in the 2015 PERAA report, including evaluation of mayoral control and the independent PCSB
    • Enrollment fraud, graduation audit, and lottery review should be done across sectors

C4DC’s Six Principles:

  1. Ensure all families have access to high-quality DCPS schools in their neighborhoods – a predictable, matter-of-right path from preschool through high school.
  2. Focus resources on students and communities with the greatest need.
  3. Require coordinated planning between the District of Columbia Public SchoolsPublic Charter School Board
  4. Responsibly manage our financial resources.
  5. Broaden assessment measures to focus on student growth and use multiple measures to assess a quality education.
  6. Ensure families and community members have reliable ways to exercise the right to participate in public education decision making.

Related Content