DFER District of Columbia

We are Democrats leading a political reform organization that cultivates and supports leaders in our party who champion America’s public schoolchildren.

Stay up to date on the latest news from DFER District of Columbia here on the blog.

Contact Catharine Bellinger, DFER District of Columbia Director:

Catharine Bellinger - DFER DC DirectorCatharine Bellinger
District of Columbia Director
(202) 361-9172




Statement of Beliefs – Democrats For Education Reform DC

In 2015, a group of community leaders, parents, and educators with a deep love for our children and city came together to advise the new DC branch of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), with the goal of expanding equity and excellence in public education. Today, our advisory board and DFER DC are thrilled to share our statement of beliefs about public education in the District.

Where Are We?

Over the past decade, the District has been working toward a policy environment that allows great schools to thrive, empowers leaders and teachers, and helps struggling schools improve. We are proud to be one of the fastest improving urban school districts in the country. However, despite our progress, our public school system as a whole is not yet able to meet the needs of every child. Over 50 years after desegregation, our communities and schools are too often separate and unequal, divided not only by geography, but by opportunity, access, and resources.


DFER DC launched in 2015 to support policies that move us closer to a great public school in every neighborhood, regardless of the side of the park or the river. We work toward an education system that places our children at the center, that connects to the fabric of our communities, past and present, and that reflects the values we want to see in our city.

What Do We Believe?

As DFERs, we believe in the following:

1) Serving All Kids. All of our children have the right to attend a school that meets their individual needs, promotes their talents, and provides them opportunity to succeed in school and in life. All of our children deserve safe and nurturing learning environments free of any bias or violence.

2) Empowering Families. All families deserve full access to meaningful information to choose a great public school and to forge a clear path for their children from pre-k through high school.

3) Supporting Schools and Educators. All schools and educators deserve the resources to offer excellent academics, relevant and enriching extracurricular activities, and robust student support services. Appropriate resources in the form of time, talent, finances, and facilities allow schools to create and sustain school cultures that foster a joy of learning, rigorous and effective teaching, unconditional love for kids, and care for our communities.

How Do We Make Change?

DFER DC aims to create a political environment in DC that prioritizes our children, families, and schools.

  • We will support the City Council, Mayor’s office, DC Public Schools, Public Charter School Board, and State Board of Education to advance policies and practices that open the doors to equity and break down any barriers to a great public school in every neighborhood.
  • We will support elected officials and candidates who share our vision to prioritize educational equity and excellence above all other considerations in the District of Columbia.
  • We will build a network of civic leaders who share our ambition for who we know our children are and can be, what we know our children can learn and contribute, and where we know our children can go.