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A Voter’s Guide For the D.C.

State School Board Race

The WAMU Voter Guide for each State Board of Education candidate in each ward that will
elect a school board representative on Nov. 6. It highlights the amounts raised by each
candidate and a summary of their responses to key issues. W ​ ard 1 Candidates
Candidate Callie Kozlak Jason Andrean Emily Gasoi

Amount Raised According $18,140.61 $65,349.66 $29,384.00

to Oct. finance reports.

Are you currently satisfied YES: ​More or less - YES: ​I support Mayoral NO:​ ​I’m concerned that
with the ​structure of
Mayoral control of schools? there is value and control, under which there is in general
efficiency in having a executive management of insufficient
centralized system the education system is accountability and
that can leverage assigned to the Mayor and oversight over the
dedicated resources oversight responsibility to actions of the State
for health, facilities, the DC Council. Superintendent and
transportation, parks over both the DCPS
& rec, public safety to Chancellor and the
holistically support our PCSB.

Are you currently satisfied NO:​ ​I would like to YES:​ ​Our priority must be NO:​ ​I'd like to see the
with the role of the State
Board of Education? see the Board have to keep politics out of state board have more
more regulatory education, to the greatest authority in promoting
power to shape policy degree possible. Simply independent research
like Boards in other giving SBOE more on what's working and
states. authority will only further what isn't.
politicize education


issues impacting students in
We have an incredibly The persistent I think stressors related
your area and how do you
plan to use the state board diverse Ward and an achievement gap between to poverty and other
seat to impact that. opportunity to children of color and white out-of-school factors
integrate our schools children continues to be that impact students’
so that kids are not an issue. I will use my ability to learn and
growing up racially
and culturally isolated. SBOE seat to advocate for thrive. I will continue to
I will use my seat on equitable funding in advocate for
the board to take a schools, additional out of strengthening and
hard look at equity school time funding, and expanding our
gaps... additional mental health community school
support in our schools and partnerships, which
communities. bring targeted wrap
around services and
enriched curriculum to
students, their families,
and the community.

board did not approve a new
RIGOR:​ An ideal RIGOR:​ ​Credit recovery RIGOR:​ ​OSSE’s credit
policy the state
superintendent wanted to policy should provide policies should outline recovery proposal did
implement regarding credit flexibility but ensure when a student is eligible not ensure that content
recovery. In your opinion, rigor of credit recovery to take the course, what in Credit Recovery
what should the ideal credit courses by having DC
recovery policy include? courses are considered to courses would be
teachers and trained offer similar levels of rigor comparable in quality
educators lead on when compared to the and rigor to regular
developing course underlying course, and course content. The
content and how credits in the credit ideal credit recovery
curriculums. recovery course are policy would specify the
earned. standards and require
an assessment that
determined students
growth after taking the
CR course.

Should schools have 5 YES:​ ​the rating YES:​ ​While the STAR NO:​ ​A rating system
system helps provide ratings system (or any may be good for rating
a baseline rating system for that the quality of a hotel, but
comparison for matter) is not perfect, we schools are complex
publicly differentiating should view it as a organizations based on
schools and seeing legitimate starting point in human relationships and
where there are equity the process toward diverse individual
gaps. ensuring uniformity and interests and needs.
greater transparency
across both traditional
and charter sectors.


commissioned research into
teacher turnover. What other policies and strategies The board should have a TESTS: ​criteria are
topics should the board look to integrate schools study conducted to make being used by states
into and why? across the district by recommendations on how and districts across the
race and class. we can more equitably country that have taken
fund our schools. advantage of ESSA to
roll back the weight of
test scores in their
accountability plans

need more oversight or
transparency? MORE: ​the District All schools need more ESP. CHARTERS:​ ​I
should be held oversight.​ ​I plan to work will advocate that
accountable to closely with DC Council, charters be subject to
provide timely data in which has oversight FOIA and other
forms that are function of the schools, to transparency
accessible and make sure thoughtful requirements
intuitive for the public. measures are in place that government entities are
increase transparency of subject to.
our schools.

How much testing is too I believe assessments While I believe some I advocate dialing back
much testing? How much
should be less degree of standardized the weight of test scores
accountability should rely on
test? high-stakes for testing should be retained on the school report
individual teachers as a tool and part of the card to 55% and making
and students, we measurement and up the difference with
should not abandon or evaluation process, it must criteria that actually
dilute a district-wide be viewed as a part of a encourage the kinds of
means for evaluating broader process. practices and cultural
the progress of norms we want to see in
students, our schools.

Fun Fact? ALWAYS RACING:​ I COOKING:​ I grew up ON THE RADIO:​ I wrote

have run 10 watching my mom and and recorded a story for
marathons, which grandmothers cook and WAMU about my
honestly has prepared host family dinners. To experience in Head
me for campaigning keep the tradition alive, I Start experience
have friends over every
weekend for dinner.

Ward 3 Candidates
Candidate Ruth Wattenberg Dora Currea

Amount Raised According $13,630.39 $12,663.00

to Oct. finance reports.

Are you currently satisfied NO:​ In order to YES:​ ​Mayor control

with the ​structure o
​ f
Mayoral control of schools? improve research, means that mayor is
data, and overall responsible for bringing to
policymaking (not the bear all departments and
day-to-day policy and funded entities to deliver a
administration of the quality education. Council
schools, which would and voters should hold
continue to be under mayor accountable.
the mayor), the state
superintendent of
education should be
independent of—not
appointed by and
answerable to-- the

Are you currently satisfied NO:​ ​Over time, it YES:​ ​SBOE's policy role
with the role of the State
Board of Education? makes sense to grow should be made explicit in
SBOE authority, as a a process whereby DME
way of introducing presents for guidance and
greater democratic perhaps authorization an
input and education plan with policy
responsiveness into goals and directives
education policy (including programmatic
making. priorities currently only
articulated by DCPS).

What is one of the biggest OVERCROWDING​: OVERCROWDING:

issues impacting students in
As the SBOE rep for Overcrowding is the issue
your area and how do you
plan to use the state board Ward 3, I have been for Ward 3, but it has to be
seat to impact that. deeply engaged in addressed in the context
working with our of improving quality and
school communities capacity utilization of
and DCPS to fully facilities districtwide.
understand the scope SBOE is the ideal venue
of the problem, map for vetting the policy,
out options, and program, and capital
advocate for investment options in
solutions. education.

Earlier this year the school QUALITY, BREADTH GET TO ROOT

board did not approve a new
AND RIGOR:​ An ideal CAUSES:​ ​The vetting
policy the state
superintendent wanted to policy should provide process with stakeholders
implement regarding credit flexibility but ensure should be thorough and
recovery. In your opinion, rigor of credit recovery we need to better
what should the ideal credit courses by having DC
recovery policy include? understand the causes of
teachers and trained why students require
educators lead on credit recovery in the first
developing course place.
content and

Should schools have 5 YES, but:​ ​ As it is, YES:​ whether stars or

the current 5-star letter grades, summative
rating ignores key measures are meant to
aspects of school simplify an evaluation of
quality and then complex undertakings.
mushes together
those it does consider
into a composite,
rating, which is hard to
interpret and not a
reasonable reflection
of school quality.

The School Board recently CURRICULUMS: SEVERAL TOPICS:

commissioned research into
teacher turnover. What other Other problems we Areas for further analysis
topics should the board look should study include: stemming from STAR
into and why? 1) Whether schools rating include: school
are providing students climate, high school
with a full, broad growth measures, review
curriculum in of PARCC, and review of
history/civics, science, weights (growth vs
and the arts (not achievement; at risk
narrowing it to mainly subgroup vs all students).
the tested subjects of
reading and math)
and 2) the use/misuse
of funds for educating
at-risk students.

Do charter schools or DCPS BOTH NEED BOTH NEED MORE:

need more oversight or
transparency? MORE:​ ​In both All LEAs need to be held
sectors, we lack accountable for delivering
needed, accurate, a quality education.
transparent data and
research on... The
need for accurate,
transparent data is
even greater in our
charter schools, which
are not even subject
to FOIA.

How much testing is too There should be a there has been an effort to
much testing? How much
high quality complement achievement
accountability should rely on
test? end-of-year test in metrics with growth to
multiple subjects. recognize improvement.
Beyond that, the large There are also other
number of practice measures that are not
tests, test prep, based on testing in an
interim tests, etc. are effort to capture the
clogging up the school different dimensions of a
schedule and taking quality education.
too much time from
instruction. School
accountability should
rely on test score
progress—how much
the students have


has 3 legs, which will be a dancer in my next
makes him a great life.
mascot for Ward 3!

Ward 5 Candidates
Candidate Zachary Parker Adrian Jordan William “Bill” Lewis


Amount Raised According $44,944.03 $18,548.00 $650.00

to Oct. finance reports.

Are you currently satisfied NO: ​I believe our NO: ​I​ am in support of NO:​ ​I believe that
with the ​structure of
system should have changes that would see politics does not belong
Mayoral control of schools?
checks and balances, the Office of the State in education. I favor an
which are not Superintendent of independent elected
currently reflected in Education converted to an school board that will
our current oversight independent agency. impartially appoint the
structures. Politics should not impact DCPS Chancellor and
education reporting and have oversight over all
decisions and making public schools.
OSSE independent
eliminates potential
political pressure.

Are you currently satisfied NO:​ ​As the only NO:​ ​The Board should be NO:​ ​I would like to see
with the role of the State
Board of Education? elected education expanded to allow the State Board of
body, the State Board members of the SBOE to Education be an elected
of Education should initiate policy versus board with ability to
have more influence simply vote on policy make decisions, control
and voting authority recommendations as its own budget and be
over education policy. presented by OSSE. directly accountable to
the city residents that
elect the board.

What is one of the biggest POST-SCHOOL FUNDING: ​The unlawful GRADUATION

issues impacting students in
PREPARATION​: use of at-risk funding, COMPETENCY: I​
your area and how do you
plan to use the state board While on the Board, I which was designed to would use my position
seat to impact that. will continue to hone promote equity in to advise and work
and advocate for resources, must be use as within the committee
graduation policies it is intended. The lack of structure to advocate for
that place a higher economic resources of a parent and student input
need on mastery of neighborhood should not early enough to make a
content and provides stand in the way of difference. effect
students the supports promoting quality
necessary to succeed education.
after high school.

Earlier this year the school FLEXIBILITY AND IN-SEAT PROGRAMS AND
board did not approve a new
policy the state
superintendent wanted to ideal credit recovery robust community credit recovery policy
implement regarding credit policy should include engagement should have should include the
recovery. In your opinion, flexibility for students been done to look at the opportunity for students
what should the ideal credit who have failed
recovery policy include? issue completely. I agree to have access to
courses to pursue that in seat attendance District approved
alternative routes to should be a requirement programs that enable
demonstrate mastery for any level of credit students to attend
of content, rather than recovery. evening and weekend
being forced to sit in a classes to learn subject
class he/she has matter and recover the
already failed all year. credits they need.

Should schools have 5 YES, but: ​Given the YES:​ ​Currently parents NO:​ ​5 star ratings
hyper-focus on use several metrics (test create an exclusionary
proficiency test scores scores, economic environment that
(and in high school, indicators, 3rd party potentially degrades a
the sole focus on websites) to rank and competing school that is
proficiency test choose schools. not 5 star rated but
scores), our school Implementing this metric meeting the social and
quality measure allows for an apples to economic needs of
conflates matters apples comparison of students.
outside of the control schools within tiers.
of the school with
student achievement.

The School Board recently AT-RISK CREATING A TASK PARENT

commissioned research into
teacher turnover. What other FUNDING: ​At-risk FORCE: ​The SBOE ENGAGEMENT:
topics should the board look funding and the use of should look into many of Parent participation or
into and why? at-risk funds by the recommendations of lack of parent
schools, explicit and the cross sector task force involvement and
implicit racial bias in such as at-risk preference classroom behaviors
our schools, factors points and proximity
surrounding school preferences.
attendance trends,
and principal/leader

need more oversight or
transparency? MORE:​ ​To Both sectors need more MORE:​ ​Public charter
accomplish this, I will oversight in use of schools need more
continue to advocate funding, use of at risk transparency because
for an independent funding, ensuring that all they are publically
research arm. I will schools follow FOIA and funded in the same
advocate for fairness open meeting laws, and manner as DC public
across systems and the creation of a unified schools.
continuously promote dashboard accessible to
ways to make our the public to promote
system more transparency.

How much testing is too We need to revisit our Testing is a metric that 20% accountability on
much testing? How much
assessment strategy can provide insight into standardized testing and
accountability should rely on
test? in the District. Tests college readiness. 80% accountability on
are valuable and However, the sole focus in classroom instruction
provide useful education should not be and projects seemingly
information to test preparedness. would be a fairer
schools, however, academic environment
many of our schools for students and
are overwhelmed with teachers.
testing because there
is not a coherent
assessment strategy
in place across the


​ umorous
still check in with one mentor and tutored in the
of my former students same program that helped
every month to honor me as a high school
a bet/challenge we student!
created when he was
in my class to keep
him motivated. Until
he graduates from
college (2 years from
now), I call every
month to tell him how
many days, hours,
minutes, and seconds
he's away from
graduating, as the first
college grad in his
family. We've
continued this
tradition since 2011.
Ward 6 Candidates
Candidate Jessica Sutter Joe Weedon

Amount Raised According $21,281.36 $15,447.13

to Oct. finance reports.

Are you currently satisfied YES:​ I think the NO:​ ​I believe in the need
with the ​structure o
​ f
Mayoral control of schools? education reforms of for greater independence
the past decade, for the Office of the State
including expanding Superintendent of
the supply of public Education (OSSE) and in
school options, are a the establishment of an
direct result of independent research
mayoral control and I collaborative to help build
think the current capacity to improve our
governance structure schools.
will enable future
reforms to increase
equity and
opportunities for all

Are you currently satisfied YES, but:​ ​The NO:​ ​The Board needs the
with the role of the State
Board of Education? SBOE must be more ability to compel state
proactive in agencies to respond to
advocating for requests for information
state-level policies and to initiate policy.
that lead to
educational equity for
all children in the

What is one of the biggest TIME AND MONEY ​: EQUITY:​ I have and will
issues impacting students in
As a member of the continue to utilize my
your area and how do you
plan to use the state board State Board of position on the State
seat to impact that. Education, I will work Board of Education to
to advocate for more advocate for all students
time to be spent on in our city and to increase
age-appropriate pressure on our school
instruction and system leaders to ensure
learning opportunities all students receive
and that more money equitable opportunities for
is spent at the school a great education.
level where it can best
impact students.

Earlier this year the school RIGOR AND GAINING MASTERY:

board did not approve a new
TRANSPARENCY: Whether students gain
policy the state
superintendent wanted to Credit recovery credit through a traditional
implement regarding credit programs should have experience,
recovery. In your opinion, competency-based
school-wide policies
what should the ideal credit learning, or credit
recovery policy include? that describe and
govern them, , recovery, we must ensure
including setting them that they master key
apart from concepts and that all
competency-based students are held to the
education programs,... same high standards.

Should schools have 5 YES:​ ​Since 2011, YES, but:​ T

​ he
only half the District’s accountability plan
schools have been adopted by our city has its
rated and ranked limitations. It will feature a
annually, allowing for one-through-five star
public examination of rating system for every
which charter schools school that is based
were meeting largely on test scores and
expectations for attendance
effectively serving measures...Ultimately, I
students, and which did not believe our city’s
were not. We need system moved far enough
that for all schools so away from test scores and
that: a) policy-makers attendance as the primary
and educators can indicators of school quality
see how schools are and I voted against the
doing and make city’s plan.
improvements; b)
parents and others
can compare all
schools, not just
charter schools; and
c) we can improve
report cards over time
and on the same
timeline with the same
data for DCPS and
public charter schools.

The School Board recently BEST ACHIEVEMENT

commissioned research into
teacher turnover. What other PRACTICES AND GAPS AND MORE:
topics should the board look
into and why? MORE:​ ...​policies While the establishment of
that can support an independent research
greater school collaborative will remove
integration and take some of the need for the
advantage of existing Board to commission
school choice research, we need to look
infrastructure and the further into topics around
growing diversity of achievement gaps, how to
DC’s population; and build diverse schools,
principal/school leader student mobility, chronic
tenure and the absenteeism, and other
practices/policy issues​.
conditions that help
create stable
environments for
school leaders to

Do charter schools or DCPS BOTH, BUT:​ ​We BOTH NEED MORE:​. I

need more oversight or
transparency? must ensure that support efforts to ensure
schools can balance OSSE, our state
the public interest in educational agency, is
access to data with independent and I will
their chief continue to work with the
responsibility for council to improve I
educating and caring oversight.
for students; policy
makers should
continue to find ways
to streamline data
collection and
reporting across
various District
agencies so school
staff can focus on
serving students.

How much testing is too As a former middle I support the common

much testing? How much
school teacher, I know core state standards and
accountability should rely on
test? that testing is believe that the PARCC is
essential to as valid a measure of
understanding what student achievement as
students know...there other standardized tests
are multiple ways to that are available for this
show that schools are purpose. However, I
serving their students believe that our city places
and I’d like to see DC too much weight on
continue to explore standardized testing as a
innovative ways to measure of school
assess accountability success and as a result
for student outcomes our schools spend too
that are equitable and much time on test
comparable across preparation.

Fun Fact? UNUSUAL BATTER UP:​ I'm a Capitol

EXPERIMENTS:​ I Hill Little League coach.
loved using projects to
get my students
excited about history.
Ask me about the time
I had 6th graders in
Los Angeles mummify
grocery store
chickens or 7th
graders in Chicago
paint Sistine Chapel
murals on the
underside of their
desks a la