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District of Columbia School System Gives Parents New Forum to Air Concerns

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District of Columbia Public Schools selected 25 parents to form its new Parent Cabinet to advise and work with administrators on district policy and educational priorities.

Parent Cabinet members, who were selected from 200 applicants and represent all areas of the city and grade levels, will meet monthly with Kaya Henderson, the district's chancellor, according to a news release. Henderson said she hopes the meetings will "deepen" administrators understanding of parents' concerns and generate new ideas to bolster the district's current parent-engagement initiatives.

"I am looking forward to having a robust and regular exchange and partnership with this group of leaders," Henderson said in the release. Henderson also meets with teachers and principals in this cabinet format.

Each Parent Cabinet members is profiled on the district's website. Parent Aquila Watson identifies her "hot topic" as fairness. Watson said: "I'm trying to get what other students get in other wards [of the city] in regards to resources and funding."

Financial equity is a critical issue facing schools across the nation—especially how money parents raise for their schools can exacerbate those funding gaps. The D.C. Parent Council will be worth watching if these parents are allowed to tackle thorny, highly-political challenges.

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