Policy director Sharra Greer testified before the DC Council's Committee on Education at an oversight hearing for educational agencies, including the Office of the State Superintendent on Education (OSSE). Read a summary below or review the full testimony as submitted to the committee.
Since OSSE was created in 2007, the office and Superintendent Mahaley Jones have succeeded in developing much of the infrastructure necessary to support a well-functioning education system. However, there is much more work to be done, especially regarding special education students in the District. OSSE can play an important leadership role in prioritizing strategic planning and investment in special education so that more local schools have robust special education programs that can serve students close to home.
OSSE is uniquely positioned to globally assess the unmet needs of DC students and provide local schools with the resources and technical assistance they need. To this end, OSSE has proposed expanding the eligibility criteria for DC's Early Intervention Program, which would mean more young children could be served earlier, thus mitigating the need for more costly special education services in later years.
Greer's testimony also outlines how OSSE has made progress or is making plans to improve in several other areas: special education transportation, school discipline, oversight of non-public schools, data collection and sharing, and graduation requirements. Children's Law Center encourages more focus in these areas to lead to even more improvement.