Robert Henderson
Robert Henderson

Since clinching victory in the D.C. State Board of Education (SBOE) race, Eric Goulet has set his sights on addressing school overcrowding, per-pupil funding, and expanding pre-K3 and pre-K4 options in Ward 3.  

Goulet, a parent of two, criticized the lack of universal pre-K options west of Rock Creek Park. He said that Ward 3 parents have opted to secure private child care instead of making long commutes to early childhood education centers in other parts of the city. 

As it relates to school overcrowding, Goulet has spent the past couple of weeks creating an advisory committee to tackle what he described as the curse of having quality schools. He centered his goal on expanding building space in Ward 3 through the school-zone attendance study and the fiscal year 2024 budget process. 

Solutions on the table include opening new schools in Friendship Heights, and on the campus of the Whittle School in Van Ness and the former Georgetown Day School site on MacArthur Boulevard. To accomplish this goal, Goulet said he’ll work with the Ward 3 Education Network, as well as Ward 3 D.C. Council member-elect Matt Frumin (D). 

He mentioned employing a similar strategy to ensure that Hardy Middle School in Northwest gets proper per-pupil funding. 

“We have to build coalitions to accomplish these ideas,” Goulet said. 

”We have to get data and get people behind it to push for the right results,” he added. 

“That’s our challenge to make a persuasive case. My sole focus — and what I try to improve upon – is how everything we do improves the student experience.” 

On Nov. 8, Goulet secured 53.24% of the vote to defeat Michael Sriqui in the Ward 3 SBOE race. Goulet’s victory followed an unsuccessful campaign during the Ward 3 D.C. Council Democratic primary race earlier this year. 

Focus on Equity in Wards 1 and 5

Other victors in the SBOE race include Ben Williams in Ward 1 and Brandon Best in Ward 6, both of whom The Informer highlighted in a previous article. In Ward 5, Robert Henderson defeated Carisa Stanley Beatty and Nina O’Neill to win his SBOE seat.

Ben Williams
Ben Williams

Henderson, a parent and vice chair of the Ward 5 Education Equity Committee, centered his campaign on equity, improving data collection for District schools, safe passage, boosting literacy, safe passage and teacher retention. 

Since winning the SBOE race,  Henderson has also expressed a desire to support parents who are involved in school affairs. Henderson highlighted the need to improve the conditions at Ward 5 schools, a significant amount of which are public charter schools. 

As he works on strengthening the network of parents who will advocate for these issues, Henderson, in collaboration with Ward 5 D.C. Council member-elect Zachary Parker (D) and others, continues to support community members at Langley Elementary School and Langdon Education Campus. 

Parents at both schools said buildings have been without heat for several weeks. 

For Henderson, this situation highlighted the need for improvements in how the Department of General Services and D.C. Public Schools address requests for school building repairs. 

He said that the D.C. government must prioritize the needs of students, teachers and parents.

“We need to focus on making sure these schools are well-resourced with quality offerings,” Henderson said, as he also reflected on the accumulation of charter schools in Ward 5. 

“A lot of schools are struggling to keep teachers. I don’t see how adding more schools can help with that. It spreads our enrollment thinner. I would like to avoid any situation where schools are closing.”

Sam P.K. Collins has more than a decade of experience as a journalist, columnist and organizer. Sam, a millennial and former editor of WI Bridge, covers education, police brutality, politics, and other...

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