The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME) has released the District’s first comprehensive education adequacy study, Cost of Student Achievement: Report of the DC Education Adequacy Study. The adequacy study resulted from the DC Public Education Finance Reform Commission’s recommendation that the Mayor secure an in depth study of the city’s Uniform Per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF), the city’s method for allocating local operating dollars to District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools.
The strength of our families and communities depends on a quality and equitable education for every child in the District of Columbia. Far too many young people are unable to realize their potential or fully contribute to their communities and the economy because they are not receiving the education they need and deserve.
DC Action is working to strengthen student outcomes, ensure a successful transition from school to career, while demanding equity, transparency and accountability from our Mayor and education leaders.
Where DC Stands
- More than 40,000 students in public schools are considered to be “at risk” of academic failure due to poverty. As a city that has always grappled with school inequities, we need solutions that don’t leave vulnerable students behind. Too many education outcomes are tied to race, ethnicity, ZIP code and family income — a legacy of our nation’s and our city’s history of racism, discrimination and segregation.
- According to the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, the District currently provides an additional $2,470 for each student who is “at risk” but this is 40 percent lower than the level recommended by school finance experts in the DC Education Adequacy Study.
- The District continues to surpass any state in its overall shortage of afterschool opportunities. The Afterschool Alliance estimates that more than 70% of students in grades K through 8 would participate in an afterschool program if one were available to them, and the same report suggests that 21% of kids in grades 6 through 8 in DC were regularly alone and unsupervised between 3 and 6pm during the school week.
Our Education Agenda
1. Fully fund school equity
DC Action joins partners such as the Children's Law Center, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Initiative, Parents Amplifying Voices in Education (PAVE), and the School Justice Project to double down on funding for schools in Black communities, lower-income communities, and for students who face other barriers to learning. We can build on the mayor’s recent modest investment to boost the per pupil formula by committing an additional $72 million to meet what the DC-commissioned adequacy study says is truly required to support our “at-risk” students, many of whom live east of the Anacostia River. This funding could provide at-risk students with additional resources outside of the school’s core staff such as reading specialists and counselors.
2. Increase investments in Expanded Learning Programs
Expanded Learning is a model of education that complements the traditional school day to provide kids of all ages with quality academic enrichment and development opportunities in the out-of-school time (OST) hours, mainly after school and during the summer.
Expanded learning uses partnerships with community-based organizations to go beyond “more of the same” classroom instruction and embrace kids’ natural inclinations for fun and time to play, often giving experiential learners spaces to thrive. Programs include personalized arts and cultural learning, health education and physical activity, life skills and social development, and “hands on” science and technology to build upon instruction taught during the school day.
We must invest $25,000,000 in high quality out of school time programming to meet the need.
3. DC Council must increase oversight of public schools' implementation of Distance Learning to ensure transparency and accountability to parents and students.
LEAs must leverage the resources and expertise of the expanded learning community, including OST providers. OST programs expand LEAs’ capacity to educate the whole child. Partners could be providing enrichment in person outside in small groups, in cooperation with individual schools, that could support and incentivize both enrollment and participation in the virtual school day.
OST organizations have been excluded from any discussions at the city level about how to support the whole child during distance learning. If the city wants OST programs to be sustained for students throughout the pandemic, programs need to be included in the conversation now.
DC Out-of-School Time Coalition
DC Action merged with DCAYA and has now established the DC Out-of School Time Coalition, made up of direct service programs, advocates and community members, to promote greater awareness of and advocate for the expansion of out-of-school time programs.
You can join the Out-of-School Time Coalition by contacting Mat Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What You Can Do
- Join us in building support for these critical investments.
- Urge your Councilmembers to support and fully fund these priorities.
"Creating change of this magnitude requires unwavering leadership. Together, and informed by the work we do with more than 70 organizations across numerous coalitions, we are calling on DC’s leaders to build a budget that puts children first — especially children who have too often been left behind in our city’s growth."
Office of the Deputy Mayor of Education REPORT
Expanded Learning Issue Brief, DC Alliance or Youth Advocates
Research has shown that an expanded learning approach results in greater student achievement, participation and health outcomes, especially for “at-risk” students (see next page, “Outcomes of Expanded Learning”). This issue brief outlines the role expanded learning plays in closing the opportunity and achievement gap, the outcomes of participation in expanded learning, and the areas of need in the District.