ERN DC Testimony on ESSA State Accountability Plan Amendment

Blogs, Letters & Testimonials

July 20, 2022

State Board Of Education

July Monthly Meeting

Joshua Hodge

Policy and Communications Manager 

Education Reform Now DC

July 20, 2022

Thank you and good evening President Sutter, Vice President Thompson, and Representatives of the D.C. State Board of Education. 

My name is Joshua Hodge, and I am a Ward 6 resident and public education advocate. I am testifying on behalf of Education Reform Now D.C. (ERN D.C.) on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Accountability Plan Amendment. For those who may be unfamiliar with our work, ERN D.C. is a non-profit organization fighting for a just and equitable public education system in Washington, D.C. 

While there are many positive changes to the State Accountability plan that we support, we believe the plan can be strengthened. On July 7, we submitted a public comment to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) urging the adoption of eight recommendations to ensure the plan is equitable, accessible, and transparent so that all students receive the high-quality education they deserve. The eight recommendations are the following:

  1. Increase the weight of the “students with disabilities” student group
  2. Increase the weight of students of color within the race/ethnicity student group, while holding them to high standards 
  3. Remove median growth percentile
  4. Ensure D.C. has an effective statewide annual assessment
  5. Incentivize the expansion of dual enrollment and dual credit as a school quality & student success indicator
  6. Include structured literacy training for all educators in elementary schools
  7. Provide clear information on school quality 
  8. Harness the accountability system to support schools

The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard on us all, but especially on our students and schools. The last two years have changed the way our students have learned and the way classes are taught. Because of this, we think it is best to modernize our D.C. school accountability system to better reflect this change and include additional equity measures so that all students, especially those furthest away from opportunity, receive a just, equitable, and high-quality education. Thank you for allowing me to testify.