Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gates Foundation Timeline

KEI has a Microsoft/Gates Foundation timeline posted. Everyone will, I'm sure, find their own points of interest. What leapt out at me is how far we are from the Bill Gates who wrote (in 1998):

I am in agreement with my friend, Warren Buffett, when he says that people who are successful in one field should be careful about suggesting they know all the answers in other areas.

"you only get so much time to do something positive with your life."

If you're a regular reader, you know I'm not a huge fan of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. I wanted, though, to share this profile of his mother, Sue Duncan, and the work she's done with children in Chicago for decades.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Godfather of Worcester's blogsphere, RIP

Jeff Barnard, of Wormtown Taxi, without which Worcester would have no blogsphere to speak of, has died.
Rest in peace, Jeff. We wouldn't be here without you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas shopping?

If you have an alumna/us of the Worcester Public Schools on your shopping list, you might consider this:


From the Vintage Worcester Tee Shirt Company 
(with whom, no, I have no connection)

Blue Mass on education

Two good posts over on Blue Mass Group on education right now:
  • the first responds to Thomas Friedman's New York Times column from earlier this week.
  • the second gives an exhaustive list of people who have recently left the Patrick administration to go work for the Gates foundation...and do read the comments

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Federal grant review

and what are you doing over the holidays?
The Department of Education will reportedly be reviewing its federal granting process over the next few months:
One of the main goals is to see what lessons other competitive grant programs overseen by the department—agency officials say they manage dozens of competitions each year—could learn from the Race to the Top process and i3.
This could affect everything from School Improvement Grants to the Teacher Incentive Fund ('though I notice there's no mention in either report of Title I; there have been some hints that the DoE was considering tying that to particular kinds of school improvement as well).
One assumes this will be taken care of just in time for the FY12 budget.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Statistics

If you read Thomas Friedman over the weekend, you'll want to read Paul Thomas, who checks Friedman's numbers.

Ravitch at Clark December 1!

Yes, I know I already posted about this, but this is BIG NEWS!
Diane Ravitch, of Bridging Differences, of The Death and Life of the Great American School System, of the Department of Education under the first Bush administration, is COMING TO CLARK on December 1. She's speaking at 4 pm in Tilton Hall on “How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education.”
If you have the slightest interest in the latest in so-called "ed reform," in what standardized testing does to education, on how charter schools actually work out--and from someone who's thoughtfully been on both sides--you need to come hear Ravitch speak!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Here comes FY12!

As part of Tuesday night's City Council agenda, City Manager O'Brien is presenting an FY12 budget forecast.

Of note:
  • The city is projecting a deficit of $13.7 million dollars heading in. This assumes a 5% local aid cut. Note that there are forecasts that this could be a 10% local aid cut.
  • This further assumes new growth of $2.2 million and $5.6 million under Proposition 2 1/2.
  • City contribution to WPS under these projections increases $1.76 million, bringing the city contribution to $265.8 million of required minimum contribution under the foundation funding formula.
This chart gives the overview (click to make it bigger):

When does doing more with less becoming doing less with less?*

*I can't take credit for the above title. That's former Superintendent Jim Caradonio. But it fits.
I had really hoped that the federal Education department was at least saving us all the cost of a speechwriter for Arne Duncan, since he and Bill Gates seem to be reading the same lines lately, but Rick Hess says that this isn't the case. Duncan's address to the American Enterprise Institute and Gates' address to (gobsmackingly) the state superintendents of education read from essentially the same script: to quote Duncan, districts should:
leverage transformational change in the educational system to improve outcomes for children. To do so, requires a fundamental rethinking of the structure and delivery of education in the United States.
(sic on that comma, and trying to ignore the violence being done to the English language in that whole first line)

Education Movie Lines

Just for Friday
Currently on Twitter, the meme "education movie lines"

@: You want the afternoon recess duty? You can't HANDLE the afternoon recess duty
@: I coulda been a test vendor
@ "Bloomberg....Bloomberg?

Back to Hogwarts

And Valerie Strauss takes issue with Hogwarts not giving a good education.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jeff Mulqueen's contract

On the consideration of the contract of Jeff Mulqueen, Chief Academic Officer, whose contract expires in July, to extend the contract from then to June of 2014, under the same terms of his current contract (no raise, pension, or transportation allowance), the vote is 5-2, Biancheria and Novick against.

Field trips

Currently field trip policy says students cannot travel outside the state, says the Mayor. Students do travel out of the state on field trips...revisiting the policy.
Mullaney reminds us that we've had discussions within the recent past, and that legal counsel has recommended that we not allow foreign field trips.
Mullaney asserts that it has nothing to do with September 2001.
Monfredo and O'Connell rise to defend the notion of foreign travel for students, as surrounding districts do.
(note that the policy is not in the handbook; you can get a copy through the Quadrant Managers' office, apparently)
Biancheria gets up to question that we have teachers taking kids on trips outside of school coverage.
Luster speaks of teachers asking that the policy be reconsidered.
It's being sent to TLSS for consideration.

Gaming in high school

Item from Miss Biancheria requesting that the administration consider offering computer gaming at the high school level, and figuring out what our students need to be taking to be ready to major in gaming in high school.

Mercury

The procedural part is, motion from Biancheria, to hold.
Challenged by Mullaney
Held.

Class size report

Okay, this time I've got it:
Elementary class sizes

Secondary school population overview

Nelson Place

Nelson Place was looked at in August 2010. It needed masonry work (mortar joint repair). It will be fixed during this month.
Nelson Place continues to be the ONLY building that Worcester has in the Massachusetts School Building Authority for replacement (though we have a pretty clear feeling that they aren't going to jump to do that until we get North done).

Tech grants

We've got two applications into the state for technology for FY11: a Tech Enhancement Grant, and an ARRA Title IID PD grant.
We're getting a Friday letter on what the Administration plans on spending the funds on, should we get them.
The mayor asks further if we can get an idea of what the plan is, moving forward, on tech spending, particularly in light of our not being able use some of the capital funds from the city on that (as it doesn't have a good finance option).

Discussions with the city

In speaking to the F&O report, O'Connell makes a motion that Medicaid and the grant share (that the city takes out of school grants) be raised in conversation with the City Manager.
Mayor O'Brien suggests a joint meeting with the City Council for late January, early February.

Outside security tech audit

Motion for estimates for a security audit of our technological systems. We'll be considering it as part of our FY12 budget.
And if you are a tech geek, you should go look at that report. It really is impressive. Go to the previous F&O agenda, and click on the backup pages for the technology item. I'll link later.

Vocational school exchange?

It came out in the TLSS discussion  that kids from outside the city can go to the Tech school, and, moreover, that city kids are not given any advantage in admission, due to state law.
Mrs. Mullaney is rising to ask how many kids this is, do our kids go elsewhere, do we provide transportation...Dr. Mulqueen will come back with a report. She says she's "astounded" that our kids could be displaced by kids from out-of-town. She asks for a legal opinion, and if this requires legislative action, let us do so.
Mr. O'Connell points out that the Tech school has a waiting list of several hundred students each year.

Sharfman's Jewellers: this year's ornament

This year's ornament (the 25th year of Sharfman's ornaments) is the John E. Durkin Administration Building (the former, as John Durkin points out, Classical High School).
It's pointed out that you can buy them at Sharfman's.

Center for Non-violent Solutions

..being recognized for their work on peacemaking and teaching non-violent solutions in the schools.

Worcester School Committee meeting tonight!

The Worcester School Committee meets tonight at 7 pm in City Hall. You'll find the agenda here.
Among the items of interest:
  • both the Teaching, Learning, and Student Support subcommittee and the Finance and Operations subcommitees are back with reports. TLSS has the innovation school model coming forward; F&O has the latest quarterly report.
  • there's communication back on several grants
  • just what is going  on with Nelson Place and replacement?
  • we're receiving some donations (!)
  • mercury reappears on the agenda (it was held last time)
  • a rundown, school by school, grade by grade, class by class, of how many kids are in each class. Give it a look. Fascinating stuff there. (Try the link again; fixed, I think, though the whole list isn't there. I'll work on it.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Worcester East Middle theater

I was over at Worcester East Middle (the former Grafton Street Junior High) for a meeting today, and I asked permission to get into the theater, which my photos do not do justice and which I think one of the unknown gems in the Worcester Public Schools.
 These are the lights around the outside of the downstairs walls. The bulbs are obviously not original (any guesses on what they were like? Maybe candle flames?)
 A bit blurry photo of the amazing chandeliers in the ceiling. I'll try to get back there with a real camera, as these have really elaborate detailing that this photo doesn't catch at all.
 An even blurrier photo (sorry!) of the center ceiling medallion. All of the detail work is in the plaster.
 Upper right corner
View from the stage:




Among the many, many things I hope is that we can get some money (probably from outside the district budget) to put into this. It's a lovely room.

Social Studies MCAS

Just caught up with yesterday's Board of Education meeting. 
The Social Studies MCAS was reinstated on a highly unusual 5-4 split vote of the Board of Education. (Among those in opposition: Worcester's own James McDermott)
The decision to move forward with the test now rests with Secretary Paul Reville and Governor Deval Patrick. If they do decided to move forward, it then is up to the Legislature to fund the test.
You might remember that the test has been on hold for several years due to lack of funding. Reinstating it in this of all years shows a remarkable tone-deafness, merits of the test or no aside.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quarterly report

Unemployment over at this point, transferring in from teachers salaries. We have a number of teachers still collecting unemployment, more than we'd expect at this point based on past experience (aka: people aren't finding work).
Massachusetts replaced federal stimulus funds with education jobs money, so we're shifting money from special ed tuition (where the federal stimulus money could be spent) to special ed IA salaries (where edu-jobs can be spent).
Added special ed buses bumping up transportation, as is after-school programming transportation for Level 4 schools (for Monday, as the other days they'll run on a parallel schedule).
It was hotter than we expected this summer, so electricity is up.
Clean-up for Grafton Street: mercury.
Workers Comp is up.
The boilers need to be inspected and insured each year.
Foley: doing two year budgeting, projecting for FY12.
Required environmental abatement services: did we expect these? Can we plan for them?
Allen: plan to move them into the capital expenses (building rehab)

Technology security

Firewalls, proxies, data filtering, access attempts...good stuff.
Surprising? Kids denied service mostly are looking at videos, trying to play online games, or get on Facebook.

Finance and Operations: after-school program payments

We're taking out-of-order the item on payment for teachers working in after-school programs. We've got a schedule of payments.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Finance and Operations meets Monday

'Though for some reason it isn't appearing on the WPS calendar, the Standing Committee on Finance and Operations meets on Monday at 5 pm at the Durkin Administration Buidling, room 410. The agenda is here (the first page tells you what will actually be discussed at this meeting; the links to backup pages are found where those items are highlighted in the pages that follow). On this one, in addition to the usually quarterly account tranfers (including mercury cleanup), you'll find progress report and report card mailings, tech security, the education jobs money, and paying teachers from grants.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

As goes Chicago

And how's that mayoral control going in Chicago?

Tell me about your qualifications for this job...

Joel Klein, current chancellor of the New York City public school system, is resigning. He's being replaced by Cathleen Black from Hearst Publications.
Something they have in common?
Black will need a waiver to do the job, just as Klein has, because she is not qualified under New York state law. (Klein's previous experience was as a lawyer in, among other places, the U.S. Department of Justice.) Mayor Bloomberg (to whom the state legislature persists in handling control of the schools back) sees no need for education experience of any sort in running one of the largest school districts in the country.
Klein's going to work for Rupert Murdock's News Corp.

UPDATE (11/16): Turns out she does have a bit of school experience: when she was at Coke, she led the fight to keep soda in schools:
The company unleashed a flurry of lobbyists, donations and advertising to fight the efforts, prompting local officials to describe it as “bullying” and “unconscionable.” Even as other large food manufacturers embraced the public-health measures, Coca-Cola dug in its heels, rewarding schools that kept selling its products and threatening those that would not, officials said.
Well worth reading the whole article.

Does Hogwarts need ed reform?

Samuel Arbesman asks just what sort of quality education those wizards and witches are getting, after all?
As near as I can tell, if you grow up in the magical world (as opposed to be Muggle-born, for example), you do not go to school at all until the age of eleven. In fact, it’s entirely unclear to me how the children of the wizarding world learn to read and write. There is a reason Hermione seems much more intelligent than Ron Weasley. It’s because Ron is very likely completely uneducated.
And even at Hogwarts, while they learn about spells and potions, they completely neglect the fundamentals. They are made to write essays on the history of magic, but are never taught to write. They take Arithmancy, but never learn mathematics.
h/t Kottke
There's some dispute in the comments over the education Ron received prior to Hogwarts, and whether wizards are in need of further education.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How does Tech admit students?

Scholastic achievement, for a maximum of 40 points (every A is 5, B is 4, C is 3, D is 2, F is 0) IS NOT WEIGHED BY LEVEL
Attendance, for a maximum of 20 points (10 or fewer unexcused absences, 20 points; 20 or less, 15; 30 or less, 10; 40 or less, 5)
School discipline  for a maximum of 20 points
Counselor recommendation for a maximum of 20 points

This is a STATE system
A list of all students applying from 100 points down is created; the kids are admitted by score.
Thus the school aims to, but does not, reflect the demographics of the district, as we cannot admit with that in mind.

Monfredo asks if we've looked at getting kids hooked up with information in seventh grade.
can the state allow flexibility in using this admissions process? Not so far, but we'll check
There is no weight made for Worcester/non-Worcester student: can we include a preference?
What if a child opts in through school choice and then wants to go to one of our voke programs?
O'Connell asks that these be looked at closely.

North: more voc-tech programs for the new North

A great deal of conversation from the members here around expanding and improving the vo-tech programs at North, as the new building opens, particularly from Biancheria. Possibly getting chosen as one of the RTTT schools for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Mulqueen speaks of "being practical"
"just opening it may not be enough to get us to where" we want to be
principal is very excited about the early college aspect
early college "it could be that when you graduate, you could graduate with an associate's degree"
Biancheria "for all students"
question around the representation of minority students at Tech
what about computer gaming? Finding out from the state whether that's a vo-tech program

TLSS subcommittee: Horticulture

There's a report back in Teaching, Learning, and Student Support on the cost of recreating the horticulture program at Tech. This quickly turns into a discussion of the other horticulture/agriculture/growing things going on in the city right now, and how this ties into that. Farming is growing, we've got food coming IN from farms to our schools on a daily basis, we've got YouthGROW, the REC, community gardens...shouldn't we have a program for kids who want to do that for a living?
Most of these questions go back to administration for more information.

4 1/2 floors up at 20 Irving Street

It's dark at 4:30 now, so I didn't take any photos of the high ceilinged, built-to-withstand an earthquake, raftered attic; I'll be back in daylight. But here's the window looking out over Irving Street from atop Crown Hill:

 And here's the view out over the city. There's the steeple of St. Paul's Cathedral to the right, and if you look very, very closely, you can see the (unlit) tower of City Hall in the center against the building behind it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Meanwhile back in Congress

Congress comes back for a lame duck session next week, and they still have yet to appropriate funds for (among other things) the Department of Education (for FY11, by the way. That's the current fiscal year). There's a number of questions raised by this:

The administration asked for $1.35 billion to continue the program for an additional year, and Congress is poised to provide some of that (there's $800 million in the House version of the bill, and $675 million in the Senate). Money is tight, but a lot of folks argue that money is likely to stay in the bills if they are presidential priorities.
Still, I can see why the administration wanted Congress to put money into a recent stop-gap measure to fund Race to the Top and i3.
And of course, advocates for school districts and teachers note that there's another huge problem with just extending funding for another year: There won't be any additional money for Title I grants to districts to help educate disadvantaged kids, or for special education.
This doesn't even get into what happens when the new Congress comes in, because yes, they can (in essence) reconsider the appropriation.

Where goes national ed policy?

If you're wondering where national ed policy might be headed after Tuesday's election, you might read Representative John Kline (Republican of Minnesota) on his priorities. As the senior Republican on the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee, you can expect that he'll be taking the chair come the January changeover. To wit:

pursuing education reform that restores local control, empowers parents, lets teachers teach, and protects taxpayers.
In terms of fiscal policy, keep an eye on the bottom line:
...the same reform-minded legislators planning to tighten Congress’ fiscal britches have also stated plainly that spending in the areas of defense, veterans’ affairs, and seniors will be off-limits. In other words, only the spending that doesn’t encompass the departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs, not to mention mandatory Medicare and Social Security spending, is ripe for spending reductions. (This chart helps illustrate how few programs would be left to “reduce” once defense and mandatory programs are removed from the equation.)
So, what does that mean? In short, education funding and other nondefense-related discretionary spending is where Congress will look first to find spending cuts in 2011 and beyond.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

School Councils

Massachusetts Association of School Committees presentation on school councils
Ed Reformers:
  • don't believe what they say about parent empowerment
  • huge measures of condescension
  • at some levels, condescension rises to abject contempt
  • that contempt is extended to local government
"how often have you been told by Doctor somebody who never took anyone's appendix out that this is what's right for your child"

Parent Involvement workshop (national PTA and MassPIRC)

Moving from parent involvement to family and community engagement
"need everybody"
  • From random acts to systemic movement: families across the board are involved, not just the ones that show up
  • events-driven to outcome oriented: doing it all the time, focused on improvement
  • add-ons to integrated: it needs to be part of everything. In RTTT, "where is the family engagement? Don't assume it's a given. Make sure it's in there."
  • compliance to innovative: Title I schools have to do particular things ("we're not so good to make sure they're doing it"), but need to move beyond that. "Social media is mushrooming...we need to be doing that."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Questions on budget monitoring

Open to questions:
projected surplus budget column? yes

what are assumptions? we don't encumber our gas and electricity, but project it (in Reading), for example

one question we should be asking, as a School Committee member? (oooh, good question!)
(there are fors and againsts who does the presentations on numbers--does the superintendent or the finance person answer the questions?)
  • -Are we still okay?
  • -Where do you think we're most vunerable? ("allow your school business manager to confess...where do they have the least amount of certainity about the budget")

Monitoring your budget

The presentation--and remember, these are the finance people--started with this video:


Mass School Building Authority presentation

really glad not to have to come up with what happens if Q.3 passed (1 cent of 6.25 sales tax dedicated to MSBA)


$2 billion backlog in funding when they took over
waitlist of 44 buildings when MSBA took over; last 2 are currently building
auditing has made this a much better, more honest process

1776 schools been reviewed
progress payment system: check is in the mail 15 days after district bill is reviewed ("pay as you build")
last year of $2.5 billion of the first five years of the capital pipeline
$500 million to spend a year

roles of Superintendent and School Committees

What is the role of the Superintendent? from Christine McGrath, Director of Operations for the state association of superintendents (and former superintendent):

Superintendents have a high turnover rate: "have to take good care of your superintendent"
"Superintendents don't lose their jobs because they failed to align the social studies curriculum; superintendents lose their job because people feel they are out of the loop and there isn't sufficient communication with the School Committee"
(emphasis, incidentally, not added)
  • what one SC members, all know
  • faculty and staff need to know
  • parents: "happy people do not dial the phone" of the School Committee or Superintendent

Questions on fiscal crisis

"there's also a terrible problem...steps and levels..those numbers are unsustainable"
8% growth in salary with no raises
"we have got to collective get our heads together and get sustainable public sector salaries"
Widmer: "it's clear to me that from what I've laid out a lot of the assumptions need to really be looked at..all basic assumptions need to be examined"

another member points out that the huge bump in pay goes to younger teachers

state aid and what is the potential percentage in reduction for FY12?
10% says Widmer
he pulls this back to 5%, upon consideration, IF revenues continue to rise

I asked him afterward if he thought the state would hold Ch.70 harmless, or risk a lawsuit by cutting it. He said that he thought that the state would cut Ch.70 only as an absolute last resort FOR THIS YEAR, but that he thought there was a good chance that they'd have to do it--and subsequently get sued--in coming years.

Fiscal Crisis update

Fiscal Crisis update with Michael Widmer (MA Taxpayers Foundation) JD Chesloff (MA Business Roundtable),and Luc Schuster (MA Budget and Policy Center)
I'll be posting as I go, so hit 'refresh' if you're reading this at 9 am on Friday.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Use of food in schools as rewards

..because, suffice to say, it's inconsistent for the Healthiest School District in Massachusetts to hand out lollipops to kids who do well on their multiplication tests.

Missed notes

apologies: Blogger is acting squirrelly


looking at online payment of school lunch fees

inquiry from Biancheria regarding payment of teachers working in after school programs funded by grants

working towards an electronic system for payroll (I think)

question that a report be prepared on the number high school transfers indicating where they went and why: for the first week of December?
 

Governance and Employee Issues subcommittee report

mesh backpacks allowed in high schools for 2011-12 school year (if approved tonight)
sponsorship and advertisement arrangement for athletic programs:
  • making money from renting out Foley Stadium
  • sponsorship through naming rights in gyms
  • colleges passing on or donating equipment for sports teams
  • asking for an update in Feb 2011
Senate Bill 245, which would raise the dropout rate from 16 to 18 (there were other bills that were to be considered, but only this one is still pending; the items were initially filed in November 2009)
encouraging National Board certification for principals and teachers
legislative priorities for next meeting with them (on November 19)
"how best to continue to make the Worcester Public Schools the school of choice"
  • a student exit survey for those who have left the system
  • welcoming of visitors, cleanliness and safety in schools, communicating to parents (webpage, Connect-Ed, etc)
  • using Channel 3
  • consider having a WPI IQP on WPS (!)
  • timing of open houses for students in grade 5 (not 6)
  • a public relations plan
letter of thanks to retirees and bringing them into a meeting for congratulations

O'Connell asks that we draw the line at naming things after people..."people who have earned that by what they have done...what they did for the schools"

November 4 School Committee meeting: JROTC

The superintendent's report tonight is on JROTC, in response (in part) to a motion by Miss Biancheria.
We have with us the service members who are teachers for the programs at the various schools.
"to develop citizens of character to serve their nation and community"
"to instill values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility, and sense of accomplishment"
(and by the way, there's a little waving flag in the upper left hand corner of each slide)

accessing internet from school computers

I'm in a school law 201 workshop

School Committee meets tonight!

I should (belatedly) point out that the Worcester School Committee does meet this evening. You'll find the agenda for tonight here.
(There's also a one-item supplemental from Mr. Monfredo, congratulating all those involved with last week's excellent Stepping out for the Arts show at the Hanover.)
There is an executive session beforehand, and I do plan to liveblog (once I get back to Worcester County...I'll be heading north and west shortly!)

Jim Braude on the election results

quotes Alice Roosevelt: "If you don't have anything good to say about anybody, come sit by me"
but thrilled to be here with people who serve kids
satisfy his quota of talking to Republicans by talking to MASC exec director
"I was an elected official, and it was the most tortured..two years of my life..the only thing worse than angry, small-minded, uninformed constituents is angry, small-minded, uninformed colleagues"

National School Boards Association President Earl Rickman

presents a devastating critique of "Waiting for Superman"

Social Media: Rights and Risks

I'm in a packed social media workshop down at the MASC/MASS conference (where, ironically, I have the only netbook or laptop...). I should note that the attorney immediately confessed that he does not himself social media
What are districts and employees using now?
  •  blogs
  • personal Facebook, Twitter, MySpace accounts
  • using online for background checks

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New test?

Asked this evening in a Q&A by school committee and superintendents about the new (coming) state test (that will be jointly done with other states), Commissioner Chester gave, as a proposed example, kids reading a variety of articles on a topic and then having to write an editorial letter on the subject. He called it more of an activity, less of a test.
It was just an example, but possibly one of the more hopeful things I've heard around state testing since...oh, about 1998.

I'm off!

I'll be at the Mass Association of School Committees annual conference for the rest of the week. I'll certainly be taking plenty of notes, and if I hear things of general interest, I'll post them. The normal flow of traffic here will be a bit slower until Saturday, however.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Why your vote matters for education

I've just been reading this essay by Jane Addams (she of the settlement houses movement) from 1915 on why women should vote (five years before they got the right to vote). It has everything to do with why EVERYONE who cares about education should vote tomorrow:
Chicago one spring had a spreading contagion of scarlet fever just at the time that the school nurses had been discontinued because business men had pronounced them too expensive. If the women who sent their children to the schools had been sufficiently public-spirited and had been provided with an implement through which to express that public spirit they would have insisted that the schools be supplied with nurses in order that their own children might be protected from contagion. In other words, if women would effectively continue their old avocations they must take part in the slow upbuilding of that code of legislation which is alone sufficient to protect the home from the dangers incident to modern life.
Two-thirds of the Worcester Public Schools budget comes from the state.
The state and federal government have EVERYTHING to do with what kids are taught, how much of it they're taught, how they're tested on it, and yes, how we pay for it.
Both levels of government also have to do with how those kids get back and forth to school, how their teachers are certified, how safe the buildings they learn in are (and how often they're repaired and replaced), what kind of food they're served at lunch, and what's in the textbooks they learn from.
If you care about education, you can't sit this one out.

Coats for Kids

The Worcester Educational Development Foundation, Worcester Public Schools Volunteer Office, and the Junior League of Worcester are collecting for the Coats for Kids program this year. As the temperatures fall, it becomes clear to lots of Worcester's teachers that some of our kids don't have winter coats. Making sure that our kids are coming to school (and going out to recess) warm is important, and building principals pass along information to the Volunteer Office of kids that are in need. If you'd like to send in a check, you can mail it to:
Worcester Educational Development Foundation
20 Irving Street
Worcester, MA 01609


If you'd like to have the fun of shopping for a child yourself, you can call the volunteer office at 508-799-3030 and ask for a name and size. Buy a coat (or they'll take gently worn ones), a hat, and mittens, and drop them off at the Volunteer Office (they'll tell you how to do that when you call).