Councilmember Allen Statement Ahead of Today’s Education Committee Hearing on School Transparency

Today the DC Council’s Committee on Education is holding a public hearing on Councilmember Charles Allen’s Public School Transparency Amendment Act of 2019, which among other changes, proposes extending the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Open Meetings Act to all publicly-funded District charter schools.

Both laws, which are key tools providing transparency and accountability, already apply to traditional DC Public Schools. Ahead of the hearing, Councilmember Allen released the following statement:

“I proposed this bill because students, parents, and teachers should have the same tools and rights no matter what public school they choose. When choosing a school, families are looking for the best fit for their child. No one thinks they are signing away their rights depending on what kind of school they choose.

I believe as a matter of principle there should be tools of accountability whenever taxpayer dollars are involved. Transparency means better safety outcomes and better performance outcomes by ensuring decision-makers feel accountable to the students, parents, and teachers who depend on them to get it right. That doesn’t mean I haven’t heard the concerns of charter schools. Our charter schools educate nearly half of our students and many are doing wonderful work. I realize it isn’t apples-to-apples to compare a charter school to DCPS and today I will be listening carefully for changes to the proposed legislation that would work for charter schools while preserving the core tools of FOIA and Open Meetings.

I’m grateful to Education Committee Chair Councilmember David Grosso and Committee of the Whole Chairman Phil Mendelson for holding a public hearing. I’m looking forward to the discussion.”

The hearing will take place beginning at 10 am in Room 412 of the John A. Wilson Building.

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