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Testimony: State Board of Education Omnibus Amendment Act of 2016

Senior Policy Attorney Damon King testified before the DC Council’s Committee on Education regarding the “State Board of Education Omnibus Amendment Act of 2016.” The proposed bill would update the authority and responsibilities of the Office of the Public Education Ombudsman and the Office of the Student Advocate and make changes to the “Public Education Reform Amendment Act of 2007” to bring the law into conformity with federal requirements.

Damon focused his testimony on the bill’s language regarding the Ombudsman for Public Education and emphasized the importance of the Ombudsman as a vital resource for families with children attending schools across the District’s public education system. Damon stated:

Through our medical-legal partnership and our on-going advocacy on behalf of children in District foster care, we know first-hand the challenges that parents and caregivers face in their efforts to obtain an adequate education for their children and resolve disagreements and communication issues with their children’s schools. From overcoming barriers to school enrollment and attendance, to securing appropriate special education services and other supports for children with special needs, to addressing inappropriate disciplinary decisions, to preventing other types of disruptions of children’s education, parents and caregivers often face significant difficulties ensuring that our schools meet the needs of students. Our sprawling and fragmented education system is not the most straightforward one for parents to navigate, particularly when their children are facing a challenge.

Click below to read his full testimony.