Mayor- Draft Constitution
The Mayor has convened a process to write a constitution that will go on the ballot in November for approval along with statehood by the voters. There are significant concerns with the proposed size of the legislature which remains at 13 and with the provisions for education. There are 4 submitted testimonies attached below from Cathy Reilly, Mary Levy, Sarah Livingston and SBOE member Ruth Wattenberg. This summary from Mary Filardo succinctly states the issue:
1) Residents of New Columbia need a right to a free and adequate public education—how is it that the drafting committee thought it appropriate to include the “right to bear arms” in our state constitution BUT no right to a “free and adequate public education” ? The right to bear arms is already in the U.S. Constitution (so unnecessary) the right to public education is ONLY found in state constitutions—ESSENTIAL.
2) Residents of New Columbia should have the same rights as residents of other states--to make education law through its legislature. It should not take a constitutional change to affect state education policy.
Deputy Mayor for Education
Cross Sector Task Force
View the latest meeting presentation dealing with mobility and possible policy responses here: http://dme.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dme/publication/attachments/Meeting%204%20Slide%20Deck.pdf
The DC Deputy Mayor for Education convened an Advisory Committee on this important subject - Please go to this web address to obtain all the meeting materials http://dme.dc.gov/book/student-assignment-and-school-boundaries-review-process/advisory-committee-meeting-materials. The Implementation Plan can be viewed at the DCPS website at http://dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/Parents+and+Community/Community+Initiatives/Boundaries+and+Feeders/Final+Implementation+Plan
They are also available on the DME website http://dc.gov/DC/DME/About+DME/News+Room/Deputy+Mayor+for+Education+Releases+Preliminary+Findings+and+Recommendations+of+the+DC+Education+Adequacy+Study
Attached below is an important letter signed by 60 community groups and individual citizens expressing concern about some of the recommendations in the study. It was mailed on February 21, 2014 to the Mayor and copied to the council.
Charter School Law Suit Amicus Brief -
I attended the hearing in Federal Court on the District's motion to dismiss the law suit by Washington Latin, Eagle Academy and the DC Association of Chartered Public Schools alleging that the District has not equally funded charter schools and DCPS as specified in the School Reform Act of 1995.
It was a two hour hearing with the lawyer representing the city, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Blecher, answering questions and stating the city's case that it was not the intent of Congress to supplant local policy discussion and decision in this quintessentially local issue of education. The amicus brief linked below says it well.
The lawyer for the charter schools from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLPand the Marcus Firm PLLC stated that the District is not sovereign. My understanding of what he stated is that because Congress has interceded, even though it has passed every budget since 1995, the District is in violation of Congressional law.
A transcript will be available. The judge asked both attorneys many questions, she was well prepared, tolerant and respectful to both arguments. As I know more I will share. She said at the end, there were few clear precedents. It is an important case with ramifications for our city's home rule and for the education sector. She will render her decision when she comes to it and then there will probably be appeals as I understand it. Cathy Reilly
Attached below is the Amicus Brief submitted by a number of organizations including SHAPPE. The main point of the brief is to state that the issue of how the District of Columbia funds its public schools is a local home rule issue. The charter schools will submit their answer to this brief on December 5th. All the materials pertaining to this law suit are available on the 21CSF website - http://www.21csf.org/csf-home/datashop.asp
Here is the current schedule on this case:
MINUTE ORDER: Granting 41 Consent Motion for Extension of Briefing Deadlines. Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment Due . Defendants' Combined Opposition and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment Due . Reply in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion and Opposition to Defendants' Cross-Motion Due . Defendants' Reply Due . Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan (DJS)