Sunday, February 1, 2015


Worcester Public Schools closed Monday, February 2.
DAB is closed.

New last day? June 22

Mary Matalin and James Carville!

James Carville and Mary Matalin
Yes, I am a political geek.
"proof that opposite attract...she speaks English; he does not"
proof "can in the spirit of bipartisan cooperation produce two lovely daughters"
What do you think will happen tonight in the Super Bowl?
Carville's got Seattle
Matalin: "We never did listen to each other, and now we can't hear each other"
"total boy humor for about three weeks"
"all I know is he cries for weeks whenever LSU--where he went for eleven years--loses"
Carville: "Best four years of my life as a sophomore"
Matalin: very polical event (Super Bowl)
she cites New Orleans "silver lining of Katerina" education reform
Carville: presidental cycle has started
"got to assume...if there's a can and a road, somebody's going to kick the can down the road"
"everything's sort of lined up for 2016"
"the idea that something fundamental is going to change between now and 2016 is not very likely"
"if there's a can and there's a road, you can find a foot"
Matalin: "I'm in vigorous agreement"
"succession of out unsatisfactory policy makers"
breaks in both the Dem and Rep parties: not just left/right, but generational, regional
"A numer of things should be kicked down the road"
she stops, thinking he's made a face
Carville: "you think I could get away with it?"
Matalin: quoting him"Sugar, if I did something that stupid with a girl that young, I'd lie about it, too"
Dang, Carville's on the TFA board?
"we should have a big debate and bring all the ideas to the table...recognize that some things work some places, some things work others, but we need a single standard of excellence"
Question about flexiblity?
Carville: "most of you are just like're in your communities and you gotta get votes. You just walk them through extactly what you're facing"
"you're not going to get anywhere, screaming at them or anything like that"
"talk about the parents are involved, how the community's involved in what you're doing"
"theyre going to pay attention to what's happened right there in that community"
"I would bring some students and teachers with you"
Carville relates teaching an eighth-grader to speak: "put a face on it"
Bring a teacher: "now who's not nice to their third grade teacher?"
"a school system is first and forremost about students"
Matalin: need to be approached at every level: if they're not with you on policy, get into the economic consequences
"I believe...that this is a political era of...reality"
caught on Common Core: execution
"number one issue is skilled workforce"
"if they're not education people, give them the whole spectrum" of reasons to care
Carville: 90% of this debate of this that 5% of the teachers are bad, 10% of the teacher are really great
"Why don't we just make the 85% of the teachers who are good even better?"
"most of the people are just like most of us: they're consciencious, they work do we make them even better?"
Matalin: "teaching, we treat as an industry...but it's a calling"
speaks of expanding the teacher pool
"there's so much to be hopeful about in education"
"this is tiddlywinks, compared to some of the campaigns" early in the republic
'Zenmaster soundbites because he has the attention span of a gnat" (of Carville)
"we've been through worse and it's better the rest of the world"
Carville: "it's almost impossible for the Democrats to win the House...very hard for Republicans to win the presidency"
`"it leads to a common result...the Pennsylvania problem in the country...the margins that the Democrats roll up in a presidential year..."
Matalin: "his analysis is not wrong, but it's predicated on" nothing changes
"no one is better at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory than Republicans"
"if we do this and we do it successfully, we will win"
(to Carville) "I told you! I told you (Mitt) wasn't going to run"
of Hillary Clinton "the longer she's out there, ...she's like soggy french fries...she puts a target on her back"
Carville "under any normal set of circumstances, we're going to nominate (Clinton)"
"just the evolution of politics"
Matalin: "I know that there are a lot of Elizabeth Warren people [some applause]" Carville jumps in "there's two"
Matalin "I want you guys to have a good fight, a healthy fight"
Carville "but we're not going to have one"
"Mike Tyson said...'everybody's got a plan to hit me in the mouth'...there's no getting around that"
"I never hear a Democart come up and say 'you know, we really gotta get somebody else other than Hillary'...and that's saying something, because we argue about everything"
Matalin "he recrafts what I say to have me say something I didn't say"
"every kid learns differently"
"you can't just teach to the median"
"it's not just what we spend, it's what we spend it on...if we spend thought and energy on where the kids are"
Carville "Most of the teachers I know are just hardworking, good people who do their job well"
"it's not like there's this massive amount of flexible money sitting out there" (of fixed costs in schools)
"the per hour wage of being on a school board is way below the minimum wage"
"it's not like anybody ever got rich being on a school board"
Q:"I'm from Seattle, and I'm only talking so I won't get fined..."
asks about Duncan: "what do you do if you're Sect'y of education?"
Matalin: Duncan spoke in New Orleans "he's going to keep doing his job"
"I like him, we like him...he's very focused on what is working locally"
Carville: "I'm not an expert...guess who gets" the consequences of anything "The public schools"
"is there a way that you try in certain jurisdictions you try different stuff"
"most children in this country are educated in public schools and they're educated pretty well"
"Show what it is that you're doing...because people just give speeches and they've got talking points..."
"show them how it's working"
"you're getting in a 40,000 feet debate, and you're just going to be treading water on that"
"in my opinion you're going to lose that"
Q: from Lousiana: "we'd respectly disagree with some of the opinions shared today with regards to the state of education in New Orleans and the state of Lousiana. We'd be happy to share some real data."
Matalin: "that's what respectful dialogue looks like...appreciate the respectfully on things that need elbow grease"
Q: who might be the Republican nominee?
Matalin: support a candidate who has education as a centerpiece of their policy
"I like a lot of these guys..." Mentions Jeb Bush, Jindal, Walker
Carville: recommends reviewing Hillary Clinton's record
"it should be subject to a big debate; you should relish it, you should want it"
"people should be out there...the debate is going to continue"
Matalin goes back to charters
parents "do not want to keep their kids in failing schools...we know how to fix it and we should"
that's it.

National School Boards Association Advocacy Institute Opening Session

So this very quickly became a giant waste of time that I stopped blogging. We spent two hours, and by the end, we'd met several people, and then listened to four lobbyists congratulate each other on how clever their reorganization was. Wow. Awful.

NSBA President Anne Byrne:
"Of course, we can't do this alone; we do it all together"
introduces NSBA Board of Directors, staff
commitment and service of school board members "makes such a difference...for all of American's schoolchildren"
all of us together advocating for public schools and public schoolchildren
"up to us to make sure that we are the best, most effective advocates we can be"
"how public education is making a difference in the livers of our children"
  • Public advocacy
  • Legal advocacy
  • Legislative advocacy
We are also elected "some of us by more people than elect them"
"to do what is right for the future of America which is in our classrooms right now"
continuing to advocate in the court for federal policy that may increase federal reach in the classroom
Justice Kenney cites NSBA in his legal briefs

"365 day challenge...we are not here for only one day"
"a lot of talk about reauthorization of ESEA...about time, I say"
"we all must lead children to excellence"

Executive Director Thomas Gentzel: "Why are you here?'
"we need to stand and speak together to do what's right for the kids in this country"
"not a special interest group"; elected officials lobbying for public schools
"comprehensive advocacy program"
"this is our mission; we're your Washington office"
"what difference will that make? What will we do about it?"
"our work leaving here is make sure that that advocacy happens throughout the year"

John Tuttle, president-elect
"always great to come, advocate for our children, our schools"

introduces Alex Nock (works for Penn Hill Group, a lobbying firm)
Lisa Bushey, Associate Executive Director, Public Advocacy, NSBA (she came up with "Stand Up for Public Schools")
Francisco Negron, General Counsel and Associate Executive Director, Legal Advocacy, NSBA
Michael Zolo, Associate Executive Director, Federal Advocacy, NSBA

how NSBA goes about public/legal/legislative advocacy
Zolo: NSBA has to be visible, such that people not only take it seriously, so that people ask us to help them do their jobs
"an incredibly valuable resource"
Bushey: "show you how to get involved, how to be the best" you can as being an advocacy
Gentzel's HuffPo article on school choice
opponents of public education are using trained "agency counsel"
"share some of the science with you about effective communication"
Negron: "file very frequently employment cases...we, collectively, are the biggest employer in the country"
"we're going to be there to talk about the impact on public schools"
"work with our state associations" on legal advocacy
Bushey just did a whole thing on "optimizing" and "leveraging" and "operationalize"
Zolo: "what do we want to communicate, what words do we want to use"
There's really not much here to take notes on: this is NSBA congratulating itself on its reorganization and four lobbyists talking to each other. 

Good morning from D.C.!

I'm posting this morning from Washington, D.C. where I am part of the Massachusetts group here for the National School Boards Advocacy Institute. We have two days of session, and then spend Tuesday visiting our Congressional delegation. 
Things are just getting rolling here; more posts coming this afternoon! 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Monday education panel at Holy Cross

I'll be out of town, but of interest!

Holy Cross will hold a panel discussion titled “Urban Education in the Era of Accountability." Panelists include Melinda Boone, superintendent of Worcester Public Schools; David Roach, vice chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and a member of the faculty at Holy Cross; and Ericka Fisher, associate professor of education at Holy Cross and author of “Educating the Urban Race: The Evolution of an American High School” (Lexington Books, Dec. 2014). The panel, which is free and open to the public, will be moderated by Jack Schneider, assistant professor of education at Holy Cross. Fisher’s book will be for sale at the event.

Sparked by the release of Fisher’s new academic book, the panel discussion will center around the state of urban education in the era of accountability and focus on student-teacher relationships, shifting demographics, including diversity and mobility, and the consequence of testing.

“Educating the Urban Race” is based on 10 years of research at urban schools. The book utilizes historical and quantitative data, interviews and observations, to provide a comprehensive view of the many factors at play that merge to create an urban high school. While the central case study focuses on Burncoat Senior High School in Worcester, Mass., the book takes a serious look at policy issues and urban education at a national level, and includes a broad survey of American public education dating back to the 17th century.

The panel is sponsored by the Worcester Education Collaborative, the education department at Holy Cross and College Marketing and Communications at Holy Cross.   

Monday, February 02

6 pm
Rehm Library, Holy Cross, Worcester 

And a friendly reminder from the Commissioner

Just in case we were wondering:

Snow Days and School Year Requirements:

This week saw many districts close for two days or more because of the blizzard. All days lost to health, weather, or safety emergencies between the first day of the school year and March 31 must be made up by rescheduling full school days to ensure a 180-day school year. More information is available online.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


The Worcester Public Schools will open on a TWO HOUR DELAY on Friday. 
Please get your sidewalks cleared!