Citizenship Requirements for DCPS Afterschool Programs Suspended by Kaya Henderson

Photo by PoPville flickr user rockcreek

From a press release:

The District of Columbia Public School System (DCPS) announced August 14, 2012 that parents that wish to enroll their children into afterschool programs must provide proof of citizenship for the 2012 academic school year. DCPS informed the public that the notice was initiated from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). The Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs (OLA) met with DCPS superintendent Hosanna Mahaley to discuss DCPS initiatives that must provide educational and after school programs to every child in the District.

“These requirements possess a president danger for public offices. It discriminates against children and families that are undocumented, destroying the trust between teachers, and families. It discourages participation of many programs and educational rights. It also creates a level of hesitance to obtain services from many other agencies that do not have the same requirement. Education is a human right that should be offered to everyone without reservation” Said Roxana Olivas director for the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs

“Effective immediately, I have told our folks (after school team and coordinators) to suspend/not enforce the citizenship requirement. If counsel concludes we need to, we can go back and communicate that” Said Kaya Henderson Chancellor for Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

On August 15, 2012 DCPS notified all afterschool coordinators informing them that they must suspend the order to request citizenship requirements for enrollment of children into afterschool programs. OLA will continue to work with DCPS and OSSE until an agreement is reached and ensure that students in the district receive education and afterschool programs.

29 Comment

  • If they live in DC and pay DC taxes. Fine. I’m frankly surprised that citizenship was a requirement for after-school when it’s not a requirement to attend public school.

    How about DCPS actually enforce the rest of the rules so MD/VA residents can’t illegally send their kids to DC schools and preschools now?

    • How bad is the MD/VA intrusion problem and in what districts is it present? Conventional wisdom is that there are only a handful of DC schools that are really good, and I don’t think any are on the border of PG county.

      • My understanding is that the problem is most prevalent in and around Capitol Hill. But, it happens everywhere in the city.

        It’s simple. DC offers free preschool services while MD and VA do not. So, people register for DC schools through a friend, their work address or PO Box to save a few bucks. DC doesn’t check on the validity of the address. Schools get funds based on the number of students. So, they have no incentive to report kids getting dropped off everyday in cars with MD or VA license plates.

        And . . . Voila! Our tax dollars are paying for the education of non-DC residents.

        • I’m pretty sure this was a manufactured crisis among nervous nancy yuppie moms on Capitol Hill that are scared to death of blacks from PG.

          Truth is, most PG schools are better than most DC schools.

          I think its about as likely to be true as Joe Arapios and Jan Brewers claims of the open drug warfare in border towns.

          • I wholeheartedly agree.

          • Its not about which Pre-k is better. Its about which one is free AND on the way to your downtown office location. this is actually a bigger problem than people realize. And some school in upper NW really have an issue. Elem schools along the wisc corridor are actually better than a lot of MoCo school and for parents who drive in everyday, why not just drop your kid off right at Janney if you can.

          • I disagree. I constantly see MD and VA cars dropping students at the Oyster schools and always wonder how this is allowed when District residents hope for those spots themselves.

          • Did you ever think that divorced parents, friends of parents, grandparents, nannies, housekeepers, other relatives, might be making up good chunk of that? No, you’re probably right, people from MD and VA are engaging in massive frauds to put their kids into sub-par schools.

            According to PoP commenters MD/VA should be paying a “commuter tax” (but it shouldnt be reciprocated to the DC residents working in surrounding jurisdictions, MD/VA drivers are responsible for the lions share of bad driving, AND to top it all off they’re also stealing our kids’ future.

            Everyone has their scapegoat, I guess.

        • It’s patently false that DCPS does not try to validate addresses of the students. It’s also patently false that they benefit from overcrowding of classrooms. School funding comes from projections based on previous year enrollment and current population in the District. So when schools are over-enrolled, it just means they have fewer resources per student. The best way you can help is to report possible violations so they can be investigated.

      • “According to a recent report from the office of the state superintendent of schools, last year there were 1,570 students whose residency could not be verified.” (of course I imagine most of them are actually DC residents, but that’s a large number!) “… this year that inspector has investigated 99 cases and 40 of those turned out to be non-residents and were forced to leave school or pay tuition.”–57268.html

    • So, as long as somebody is an illegal alien, and not a VA or MD resident, you don’t mind them putting their kids in a DC pre- or after-school program. Okay.

      So tell me, what do you do with the puzzling situation if an illegal immigrant from Maryland or Virginia is caught attending a D.C. school pre- or after-school program?

  • I am a permanent resident and pay load of taxes, do that mean my kid wont qualify? what a BS

  • What is a “president danger?”

    • I think they meant “precedent”. This is why Little Timmy can’t read, it’s because he’s being taught by people like this.

      • A “precedent danger” doesn’t make sense either. The entire statement is riddled with grammatical errors, which is just embarrassing given the topic (education). Not that I’m surprised.

      • I don’t think Roxana Olivas, Director for the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs, is a DCPS teacher. Hopefully Little Timmy reads more carefully than you.

    • No one knows. But with an opener like that coming from someone in the mayor’s office, it does make it hard to argue with the later point that “education is a human right that should be offered to everyone without reservation.”

    • I thought “president” must have been meant to mean “present,” like “clear and present danger.”

      There are other problems (surprise, surprise) with the wording. I think Ms. Olivas must have meant “poses,” not “possess,” and “requirement” (singular) rather than “requirements” (plural).

      And the second-to-last sentence in the press release (“On August 15, 2012 DCPS notified all afterschool coordinators informing them that they must suspend the order to request citizenship requirements for enrollment of children into afterschool programs.”) could have been condensed into something like: “On August 15, 2012, DCPS notified all afterschool coordinators that they should not request citizenship documents for children enrolling in afterschool programs.”

      • orderedchaos

        Clearly, education is a “human right” of which Ms. Olivas has not availed herself.

      • It’s possible she’s a non-native speaker of English… but whichever office issued this press release (OLA? DCPS?) should have ironed out the wording.

        It’s really hard to tell what’s going on here… does “DCPS informed the public that the notice was initiated from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE).” mean that DCPS was trying to distance itself from OSSE’s decision? Is DCPS part of OSSE??

        • DCPS is not part of OSSE. OSSE is the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. DC Public Schools works with OSSE but is a separate organization entirely. This reporting is terrible. Kaya Henderson, the Chancellor of DCPS, is not employed by OSSE.

    • ““These requirements possess a president danger for public offices. It discriminates…”

      – president danger?
      – for public offices?
      – these requirements… It…

      Face-palm. Now I’m more worried about my tax dollars supporting OLA employees than I am about them funding programs for non-citizen children.

    • “dangerous precedent” – the world would be a better place if I could just proofread… all of it…

  • It’s bad enough we have a lottery system (we shouldn’t be “gambling” with our kid’s education), but with all the kids from Maryland sneaking into DC schools for free pre-school, blocking legitimate kids out of their preferred schools, it’s just awful. I see way more MD license plates at my kid’s school that DC, and even caught one kid switching her story about where she really lives when her mom gave her the eye.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Update from OSSE:

    The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) today issued the following statement:

    “As State Education Agency for the District of Columbia, OSSE remains dedicated to providing service and support for District children of all ethnic backgrounds and nationalities.

    This morning, a press release entitled Citizenship Requirements for [District of Columbia Public Schools] DCPS Afterschool Programs was distributed that contained several statements that we must clarify.

    The aforementioned press release was in response to community concerns surrounding whether or not children would be required to provide citizenship or legal status documentation in order to enroll in DCPS afterschool programming.

    OSSE serves as fiduciary agent and administrator of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), providing $6.8M in HHS funds to DCPS for afterschool programming for the 2012-2013 school year.

    As a federally-subsidized program, OSSE is under HHS mandate that program eligibility criteria include official documentation indicating family income, citizenship or legal status of any child receiving afterschool services. Subsequently, it is important to note that over 99.9% of District children participating in afterschool programming remain eligible with no obstacles.

    However, a lack of supporting program eligibility documentation represents a serious violation of federal requirements and could lead to audits, fines, grant revocation and other sanctions. OSSE has invested considerable time in its effort to remove the District of Columbia from the ‘high risk’ status the agency inherited upon its inception, so it is critical – for the sake of all D.C. students – that OSSE adhere to all federal requirements.

    While DCPS does receive HHS funding, it uses other funds to ensure all children can participate in afterschool programming. DCPS has said that it has no intention of turning students or families away for afterschool programs or services. Parents who do not submit the citizenship documentation will still be permitted to enroll their children in afterschool.

    Ultimately, improving the access and quality of services for all District students is an area we are committed to addressing every single day. OSSE has been equally ardent in making the adjustments needed to manage federal funds for programming within and beyond the classroom, while ensuring no budget loss will come at the expense of providing top-notch education services to District children and families statewide.

    Nonetheless we are all invested in education and remain excited about the upcoming school year, so on behalf of OSSE, DCPS, the D.C. Office of Latino Affairs, Office of African Affairs, and Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, we understand our obligation as advocates and custodians over a system that will meet the collective needs of every single District child in our care.”

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