500 signatures reached
To: DC City Council, DC Public Charter School Board
"Charter schools should have the same transparency requirements as traditional public schools."
All public schools, including DCPS and DC Charter Schools, should be subject to the same transparency requirements. Without open board meetings, teachers in charter schools are often left out of conversations that directly affect their own livelihood- what salary scale will the board adopt, how will they staff for the coming school year, how can teachers give input on the curriculum, schedules, and policies they are the key implementers of? If all public schools were subject to both FOIA and the Open Meetings Act, teachers would have the information they need to take informed action to affect their own working conditions and lift their voices to better serve the students they love.
FOIA: Schools are subject to public information requests through the Freedom of Information Act.
Open Meetings: Board meetings are open to parents, staff, and the general public.
Why is this important?
Public schools should be public. Public and democratic institutions depend on the active engagement and oversight of informed participants.
Transparency builds trust.
Currently DC Public Charter Schools are exempt from the DC Open Meetings Act and from complying with FOIA requests. Given the large amount of public funds that the charter sector receives, it must be transparent to the public it serves. Without stakeholders such as teachers and parents being able to seek and receive information and attend board meetings, charter schools are free to keep unpopular and perhaps ill-informed decisions out of the public eye. Parents, teachers, and taxpayers are kept in the dark about important curricular, mission, or budgetary decisions made by the schools that ostensibly serve them. Boards become more secretive, insulated from negative feedback in response to their decisions, and less responsive to public concerns. Teacher voices are not heard.
All public schools are public institutions, and should be equally transparent and accountable.