Monday, May 20, 2019

Worcester's Standing Committee on Finance and Operations meets Wednesday noon?!?

The agenda is here.
First, note that the recommendation to raise substitute daily rates by $5/day next year in the FY20 budget is proposed as the first year of a three year phase in to get the rate to $85/day.

Next, the auditors are in! This is three things: the schools' portion of the City of Worcester audit (it looks as though most of the findings have been corrected); the test of the agreed-upon procedures for the student activity accounts (some documentation and reconciliation findings); and the overall review of agreed-upon procedures for the district (which looks...entirely fine).

Finally, the third quarter report is up for review; the account by account report is here, and the report is here. There's a projected balance of over $500K, and there is a corresponding recommendation for the purchase of textbooks and classroom materials, and classroom technology.

The Board of Ed meets tomorrow

The Board of Ed meets at the Malden Public Library (?) tomorrow at 10:30 (different time and location).
After the usual array of comments by the Chair, Secretary, Commissioner, and the public, the agenda includes an update on the teacher diversification project (one of the Commissioner's goals for this year); a report on what the Department has been doing on the updated standards for history, social studies, and civics; an update on the state budget (as Senate Ways and Means has released their budget); and proposed dates for next year's meetings.

It looks to me like a shorter agenda, but I am planning on liveblogging.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Two Worcester updates

  • Don't miss today's letter from Worcester's Society of Friends
  • If you didn't catch Clive McFarland's columns earlier this week (here and here in the second half), I want to note that this sort of data analysis is supposed to be a basic function of the adminstration. It is what the School Committee should be hearing reports on, and it's part what the Superintendent should be held accountable on. We shouldn't have to leave it to columnists to do the basic analysis. 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Two upcoming events of interest (both online and one in Worcester)

Two things that MASC is involved in this week that are open to the public that might well be of interest:

On Tuesday at 4 at Worcester State, the Multistate Assocation of Bilingual Education has a panel discussion on implementing dual language education; I've seen the agenda, and they're really covering the bases in terms of who will be there. 
You can register here; if you're interested but can't make it to Worcester, you can participate online here

Marianna Islam of the Schott Foundation on Wednesday at 4 is moderating a webinar by Colin Jones of MassBudget and me (with my MASC finance hat on) called "School Funding: What Every Parent Needs to Know." The Twitter hashtag for this is #GrassrootsEd.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019



Just in time for the rally at the State House tomorrow, we've now reached the "SQUIRREL" part of the foundation budget bill discussion, where everything gets thrown against the wall.

In the past week, I've seen arguments invoking the regional salary percentages and their comparisons to the municipal wealth formula; I've seen arguments that we somehow must preserve circuit breaker funding as is (ignoring why we have it); I've seen arguments that we must have "more accountability" ignoring that we have enormous amounts of accountability under a system that the state has never fully funded.

And now we have the "but Boston" invocation.

If you really think that those arguing that Boston shouldn't get more money care a whit about equity, please go ask them what they think about the 17.5% of the foundation budget that districts significantly more wealthy than Boston, serving significantly less diverse and more wealthy students than Boston get.
And unless and until they're arguing that the 17.5% aid going to those communities should also be taken away, and unless and until those same people are arguing for a low income implementation that fully meets the Foundation Budget Review Committee's recommendation, spare me your sudden concern for what you're depriving we Gateways of.

Worcester School Committee meets Thursday

Sorry for being late posting this; if there is one thing to pay attention to, it is the job description of the Chief Diversity Officer being on the agenda for approval, which I already wrote something about.

The agenda is here.
The report of the Superintendent is on the South High student design club, as covered in the T&G earlier this week.
There are resignations, recognitions, and such.
Of passing interest is a prior year payment of over $18,000 to Leicester for what looks like a division of services to a student on an IEP. Is someone at some point going to ask why we have so many prior year payments now? This didn't used to be nearly as much of a thing.
There is motion to send a letter opposing the change in charter reimbursement proposed by the Governor and passed by the House that would only reimburse charter tuition increases that are due to enrollment being high that any of the prior five years.
As covered by the T&G, there is a proposed change in due process for students.
There is a request for approval for a donation of $685.00 to the Worcester Public Schools’ Transition Program.
There are requests from Miss Biancheria for reports on summer facilities work, on the BRACE program, and this--
Request that the Administration provide a summary of the funding proposed in the City’s Budget for the Worcester Public Schools and indicate the way in which this funding, if approved, can enhance programs in the Worcester Public Schools.
--which...isn't that the budget?

There is a plan to recognize students who will graduate with the Seal of Biliteracy.
And there is an item to set the budget hearings.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Students learn what they live about civics

...and that means that how schools operate and how schools treat them as the next generation of leaders matters:
In the midst of debates over what students should learn in civics and how to deliver those lessons, civics education advocates risk missing the larger context: Compulsory K-12 schooling itself makes up the most intensive interaction the average American will have with a civic institution—far outpacing the time spent filling in a ballot, sitting in a jury box, or waiting in line at the DMV...
All but absent from the growing civics education conversation is the recognition that everyday interactions in schools also inform students' civic development, and that often those interactions tell a totally different story about individuals' rights from the government textbooks used in class.

Excellent piece--and crucial point!--in EdWeek.

And Worcester, please note the extensive section on the Boston Student Advisory Council.