COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE & COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
Return to In-person Instruction in DC Public Schools
Testimony of Elizabeth A. Davis, President
Washington Teachers’ Union
AFT Local 6
Good afternoon. I am Elizabeth Davis, President of the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU). The WTU represents 5,000 active and retired teachers. We are dedicated to social and educational justice for the students of the District of Columbia and to improving the quality of support, resources, compensation and working conditions for the public servants and proud teachers who educate our students.
As I begin this afternoon, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to mention the opportunity gaps that continue to plague our schools. Many students in our city don’t have access to a librarian. Many students don’t have access to Algebra or Geometry. Many do not receive the same education in social studies or the Arts as their peers in other parts of the city. While the health pandemic has brought renewed attention to the Digital Divide, it has long been a daily obstacle for many of our students. Closing the opportunity gaps that plague our school systems and the resulting achievement gaps (see Appendix 1) must be our daily focus.
I am a teacher. I believe our students are only limited by the opportunities that we provide them. The past year has been difficult for us all. I am immensely proud of our teachers who have opened their homes to students and who have spent countless hours learning new technology and preparing to make their distance classes engaging for their students. Yet, we know that many teachers have struggled to adapt to distance learning. Many students have also struggled. We all yearn for a return to the classroom.