DFER DC Welcomes Cesar Toledo as Deputy Director

News & Press

DFER DC Welcomes Cesar Toledo as Deputy Director

WASHINGTON (April 5, 2023) — Democrats for Education Reform DC (DFER D.C.) announced today that Cesar Toledo will serve as the organization’s Deputy Director. Cesar will support DFER D.C., its partner Education Reform Now Advocacy (ERNA), and its affiliate Education Reform Now D.C. (ERN D.C).

Cesar is committed to ensuring that every student, particularly our most marginalized students, reach their full potential,” said Jessica Giles, Executive Director for DFER D.C. “He has a wealth of experience successfully executing issue-based campaigns and helping elect leaders who will make a transformational change for their communities.” 

Giles continued, “I am especially excited for his leadership during pandemic recovery because he will advance education reform in new and innovative ways to benefit all our students, families, and educators in the District.”

Cesar identifies as a queer Latino changemaker with a decade of experience centered on advancing equity and social justice. Cesar most recently served as the Political Director for the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, where he designed and spearheaded the organization’s most successful and historic electoral programs. He is recognized as a national LGBTQ+ advocate, having trained and helped elect hundreds of candidates up and down the ballot across the country. 

Before joining the movement for equality, Cesar executed multiple issue-based campaigns for various organizations focused on social impact, democracy, and immigration reform. Cesar began his career in education advocacy, serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer at a primary school in East Africa. He later got his start in politics canvassing for local candidates in California and interning for then-Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. He is a proud University of California, Riverside alum and a Ward 6 resident.

“Being raised by immigrant parents, I understand firsthand how crucial a high-quality public education is in breaking the cycle of poverty and enabling upward social mobility,” said Cesar Toledo, Deputy Director of DFER DC.

“After years of spearheading political and social impact campaigns, I’m excited to utilize those skills to build a pipeline of education champions in the District. I look forward to advancing an education reform agenda that justly and equitably serves all students, especially students of color,” said Toledo.  


About Democrats for Education Reform D.C. 

Democrats for Education Reform D.C. is dedicated to eliminating racial inequity and discrimination in D.C.’s public education system by supporting leaders who champion student-centered policies. More information can be found on our website at www.dferdc.org.

Support the Rights of All Students and Parents — Support H.Res. 219, Oppose H.R. 5


On March 23, 2023, Democrats for Education Reform DC joined more than 200 civil rights and education organizations urging Congress to REJECT book bans and bigotry and support inclusion and respect. We are united in support of H.Res. 219, the Bill of Rights for Students and Parents, and strongly oppose H.R. 5, the Parents Bill of Rights Act. Read the full letter here

DFER DC Statement on the Mayor’s Proposed FY2024 Budget

News & Press

WASHINGTON (March 23, 2023) — In response to Mayor Bowser’s proposed Fiscal year 2024 Budget, Jessica Giles, Executive Director of Democrats for Education Reform D.C. (DFER D.C.), released the following statement:

“We applaud Mayor Muriel Bowser for funding all of DFER D.C.’s FY 2024 budget priorities, including:

  • 5.05% increase to the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula foundation;
  • 3.1% increase to the public charter school facilities allotment;
  • Salary increases and retroactive payments for D.C. public charter school teachers; and
  • Investments in school-based behavioral health, Out of School Time, safe passage, restorative justice, and High-Impact Tutoring programming,” Giles stated.

Giles continued, “We are concerned, however, that the proposed budget does not include increased investments that will ensure all K-5th grade educators are trained in structured literacy, all high school students have access to dual enrollment opportunities who want them, and all public charter school educators receive salary increases and retroactive payments.”

“We need increased investments in these areas for several reasons. Only 26% of students performed at or above the NAEP Proficiency level in 2022, compared to 30% in 2019. Only 8 out of 100 9th-grade students will now complete postsecondary within six years of high school graduation compared to 14 pre-pandemic. And, as proposed, D.C. public charter schools do not receive equivalent funding to D.C. Public Schools to support their students and educators,” Giles said.

“In the coming weeks, we will continue to work with all our elected officials to ensure the FY 2024 budget is just and equitable,” Giles said.

Read our full priorities here. For questions, contact: dferdc@dfer.org.

About Democrats for Education Reform D.C.

DFER D.C. is dedicated to eliminating racial inequity and discrimination in the D.C. public education system by supporting leaders who champion student-centered policies. More information can be found on our website at www.dferdc.org.