Oct 27, 2022 - News

Your guide to the State Board of Education elections

Illustration of a hand placing a ballot in a box.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

On Nov. 8, D.C. residents will not only be voting on mayor, attorney general, and D.C. Council seats, but also the state board of education.

Why it matters: The State Board of Education is not a school board — they do not have control over any given school nor take part in the day-to-day management of the public school system — but rather they approve city-wide regulations and advise D.C.’s state superintendent of education.

  • For example, the board approves District standards for high school equivalency credentials, teacher accreditations, and homeschooling requirements.

State of play: Top issues for the board include teacher retention, revising standards for social studies, pushing for early literacy, and monitoring student achievement. Recent state and national testing scores showed that D.C. students saw learning losses, particularly in math, due to the pandemic.

Who can vote: The seats up for election are for the wards 1, 3, 5, and 6 members — so only residents who live in these wards will be able to vote.

Who’s running: This year, there are no incumbents running, so all candidates would be coming in fresh.

Ward 1 is an uncontested race with just Ben Williams running after his opponent Alfonso Way Jr. withdrew.

  • Williams, a public school teacher, is prioritizing traffic safety near schools, mental health care for students, and teacher retention.

Ward 3's race is between Eric Goulet — who previously ran for the Ward 3 council seat — and Michael Sriqui.

  • Goulet, who previously worked for the D.C. Council, has put a big focus on school overcrowding, including wanting to expand Stoddert Elementary School and creating a coalition of parents to advocate for equitable funding to Ward 3 schools.
  • Sriqui, an ANC commissioner, wants to address school overcrowding and supports current SBOE efforts to update the Social Studies curriculum and expand early literacy.

Ward 5's race is among Robert Henderson, Nina O’Neill, and Carisa Stanley Beatty, filling the seat vacated by Zachary Parker, who will join the D.C. Council.

  • Henderson, a housing policy expert, wants to see more data on program outcomes at public schools and is also focusing on school equity.
  • O'Neill, an educator for visually impaired and blind students, lists on her campaign website parents as a child's first and most influential teachers.
  • Beatty also calls for amplifying parents' voices and wants to expand out-of-school enrichment programs.

Ward 6's race is between Brandon Best and Joshua Wiley.

  • Best, a teacher, is focusing on traffic safety near schools as well as updating and repairing school facilities.
  • Wiley, a public school assistant principal, is also focusing on school traffic safety and on teacher retention.
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