Steve Bumbaugh is a tireless advocate for DC children, and his candor about his term of service on the DC Public Charter School Board is an important call to action for school leaders, educators, and advocates.
As a former school leader who co-founded and led a school for students who are at-risk of dropping out of school because they are overage and undercredited, have attendance problems, or have emotional or behavioral challenges, I know firsthand that there is more work to be done to improve education and opportunity for DC’s Black and Latinx students.
Over 25 years, the public charter school sector in DC has made substantial strides to improve educational outcomes and catalyzed meaningful change for all public school students. And we know our work is far from over. Many charter leaders have actively advocated for policies and systems to focus on equity and ensure the needs of Black and Latinx students, especially those living with the daily impacts of poverty, are at the center of our work. This advocacy has resulted in significant shifts—a visionary new leader of the DC PCSB, a bold new strategic plan centered on equity, the adoption of an enrollment preference to increase access for students designated as “at-risk”, and plans for a new accountability system that will prioritize outcomes for students who are often underserved.
As our city, students, and school communities recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic, now more than ever it is important to focus our work on equity. We must think and act boldly toward serving the students who have been or are at risk of being left behind.
At the DC Charter School Alliance, that means we are advocating for policies that will help our students who need the most support and supporting schools so that they deliver the excellent education that our students deserve. The sector has accomplished a lot in 25 years, and we know there’s a lot more to do on behalf of all of DC’s public school students.
— Shannon T. Hodge