In 2007, PERAA (the “Public Education Reform Amendment Act of 2007”) initiated landmark education reform in the District of Columbia.The Office of Ombudsman for Public Education was established as a central venue for parents to register concerns and resolve disputes. The office was also intended to provide transparency and accountability as the new educational system for DC evolved.
The PERAA law laid out responsibilities for the Office of the Ombudsman, which included
- reaching out to parents and residents; serving as a vehicle for communication;
- receiving complaints and concerns, determining their validity, developing a response to complaints;
- identifying systemic problems; making recommendations based on observed patterns; and
- issuing annual reports.
Despite its essential role, the office was defunded for several years. In 2012, the Council of the District of Columbia recognized the continuing great need and strong community desire for such an entity, and re-established the Ombudsman’s office within the State Board of Education through the “State Board of Education Personnel Authority Amendment Act of 2012.”
Accordingly, the office was re-established and with the appointment of an Ombudsman for Public Education, the office formally re-opened its doors to District of Columbia families on February 26, 2014.
In 2016, the organizing statute authorizing the existence of the office was updated. This "State Board of Education Omnibus Amendment Act of 2016" to strengthen the office's ability to address concerns impartially and independently by formalizing the budget and personnel authority of the Ombudsman.