Grosso Chairs D.C. Council Committee on Education
Washington, D.C. -- Today the Council of the District of Columbia held its organizational meeting and voted on the committee assignments for Council Period 21. Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) is pleased to announce that he will serve as the chair of the D.C. Council's Committee on Education.
For nearly two years on the Council, Grosso has made education reform his top priority as a member of the committee. The Attendance Accountability Amendment Act of 2013--the "Straight 'A' Act," the very first piece of legislation that the committee passed--included a provision introduced by Grosso that mandated the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to submit to the Council a report with recommendations to eliminate school expulsions and suspensions except for those students who posed an imminent threat. In June 2014, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education released the report "Reducing Out-of-School Suspensions and Expulsions in the District of Columbia Public and Public Charter Schools." In response, Grosso introduced the "Pre-K Student Discipline Amendment Act of 2014," legislation that prohibits the suspension or expulsion of a pre-kindergarten student from any publicly funded pre-kindergarten program operating in the District of Columbia. The bill also establishes annual reporting requirements for each local education agency on suspensions and expulsions data.
Grosso also supported the committee's efforts to:
- Fund nearly $80 million in the FY 2015 Budget Support Act for the District's at-risk students
- Fund $1 million for the continuation of the Community Schools grant program, which works to integrate academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement
- Include additional funding to expand the early childhood subsidy/voucher program;
- End mandatory social promotion in DCPS, and require early identification and intervention for students who may be at risk of retention
- Establish the Office of the Student Advocate to serve as a voice for students' interest and to promote successful educational outcomes for students with a focus on the role of the Ombudsman for Public Education
"I am ready to hit the ground running with our continued efforts to improve the quality of public education in the District. After two years on the Committee, I believe I have forged a deep understanding of the issues facing our education sector. I have been pleased with the progress that the Committee on Education has made to address some of the barriers in preventing our children from obtaining academic success, but there is still work to be done," said Grosso. "I look forward to working with Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Deputy Mayor of Education Jennifer Niles, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, the members of the State Board of Education, Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools Kaya Henderson, the Public Charter School Board, and teachers, parents, and advocates in the field to move the committee forward in a positive direction."
Grosso will comprehensively address his priorities as the new chair at the upcoming Committee on Education open house on January 14, 2015. Some of those priorities include: student discipline; mental and behavioral health supports for students; early childhood education; post-secondary and workforce readiness; and of course continuing the efforts on truancy and absenteeism.
Councilmember Grosso will have oversight of the following agencies as chair of the Committee on Education:
- Bullying Prevention Task Force
- Common Lottery Board
- Community Schools Advisory Committee
- District of Columbia Public Charter School Board
- District of Columbia Public Library system
- District of Columbia Public Schools
- Education Licensure Commission
- Healthy Youth and Schools Commission
- Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education
- Office of the State Superintendent of Education (including Advisory Panel on Special Education, Early Childhood Development Coordinating Council, Non-Public Tuition, Special Education Transportation)
- Public Charter School Credit Enhancement Fund Committee
- State Board of Education
Grosso will also continue to serve on the Committee on Finance and Revenue and the Committee on Health and Human Services.