NewsfeedEDlection 2020  Education on the 2020 Ballot  

Four New Members to D.C. State Board of Education Appear Set; Will be Advisors on School Reopenings to Student Literacy as Pandemic Continues

By Taylor Swaak | November 6, 2020

D.C.'s new presumptive State Board of Education members: Charter school employee Jacque Patterson (top left), Ward 7 Education Council chair Eboni - Rose Thompson (top right), Education Department program specialist Carlene D. Reid (bottom left) and education advocate and nonprofit fellow Allister Chang (bottom right).

2020’s KEY EDUCATION VOTES: See our full coverage of the 46 races that could reshape America’s schools following Election Day — and get the latest updates on state policies and students’ challenges during the pandemic by signing up for The 74 Newsletter

As D.C. contends with how to safely reopen schools during the coronavirus pandemic, voters in the nation’s capital have added four new members to a board of key education advisors.

The nine-member D.C. State Board of Education, an independent agency that advises the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, had five open seats this election cycle. While the races haven’t been officially called, D.C. as of Friday had counted the bulk of its ballots, with NBC Washington reporting that, “In D.C., there aren’t enough mailed ballots left to affect any local races.”

The presumptive new board members, also cited by The Washington Post, are: Education advocate and nonprofit fellow Allister Chang (for Ward 2), Ward 7 Education Council chair Eboni – Rose Thompson (for Ward 7), Education Department program specialist Carlene D. Reid (for Ward 8) and charter school employee Jacque Patterson (at-large member).

Retired teacher and Ward 4 incumbent Frazier O’Leary ran unopposed.

The D.C. State Board of Education doesn’t wield much power over public schools since the city went under mayoral control in 2007 — though the board does set broad policies governing things like academic standards and graduation requirements. (One current State Board of Education member, for example, is heading a committee to review the city’s long-standing social studies standards).

Members, rather, serve as vocal education advocates, and will be weighing in as the city looks to begin safely reopening its schools. It’s an open question for now after D.C. Public Schools on Monday cancelled plans to partially re-open for up to 7,000 pre-K to fifth grade students on Nov. 9, due to pushback from the teachers’ union and an unsolidified staffing plan.

Related

D.C. Sees Warning Signs Teachers are Considering Leaving Jobs Amid Weeks of Uncertainty, Stress Over How District Will Open Schools

At least three of the four new board members, in interviews with The Washington Post, have expressed interest in revisiting mayoral control of schools, and making certain agencies — like the Office of the State Superintendent of Education — more independent from the mayor’s office. All four also weren’t wholly onboard with Mayor Muriel Bowser’s now-delayed school reopening plan, saying it felt rushed and was lacking necessary collaboration with teachers and the community.

They’ll also advocate their own priorities, from improving reading and digital literacy among students to updating the student funding formula to better serve at-risk students.

Thompson and Reid were endorsed by the Washington Teachers Union. Patterson and Chang were endorsed byThe Washington Post editorial board.

Some initial tweets from the presumptive winners below:

2020’s KEY EDUCATION VOTES: See our full coverage of the 46 races that could reshape America’s schools following Election Day — and get the latest updates on state policies and students’ challenges during the pandemic by signing up for The 74 Newsletter

Related

Sign up for The 74’s newsletter

Submit a Letter to the Editor