Friday, January 28, 2011

The School Committee received this at 6 pm Friday evening

At 6 o'clock this evening, the Worcester School Committee received via email from the Superintendent:
This is not much more than what we already had, actually. It more or less sends back, with dates, titles, and locations, what the Commissioner told the Superintendent she had to do.
Still waiting for a district investigation...

Remember this name: UPDATED WITH FULL LIST

House Chair appointments have just come out, and Representative Alice Hanlon Peisch of Wellesely has been appointed House Chair of the Education committee.
Good news: she served on a School Committee!
(bonus news for those of us who care: though she's from Wellesley, she went to Smith!)
I've seen no word yet on Senate; it's a joint committee.

UPDATED at 3:20pm: Here's the full list
Chairpersons     Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D) Boston
                                Representative Alice Peisch (D) Wellesley

Time to start paying attention to value-added assessment

(if you weren't already)
One of the conditions to accepting money from the Race to the Top competition is a shift to evaluating teachers in some part on so-called "value-added assessment." This boils down to "how much did a kid's test scores go up while the student had that teacher?"
Sounds pretty straightforward, right?
It is until you actually see how it works out. The Gates Foundation last month released a study touting how results from two tests corralated with one another (suggesting they worked), but a review of that study argues that it's not nearly so neat as this might suggest. The Answer Sheet has a good summary of all of this, but it boils down to this:

“In other words...teacher evaluations based on observed state test outcomes are only slightly better than coin tosses at identifying teachers whose students perform unusually well or badly on assessments of conceptual understanding. This result, underplayed in the MET report, reinforces a number of serious concerns that have been raised about the use of VAMs for teacher evaluations.”


I'd like something a bit more effective than a coin toss deciding if my children's teachers are doing a good job.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ch. 70 aid numbers

The state has posted the Ch.70 aid numbers for FY12. Taking a quick look at Worcester:

The state is preliminarily putting Worcester's aid at $201,135,279 for FY12.

(That's with this year's 1.78% inflation factor, plus Worcester's increased enrollment. If you're interested, it's the complete formula worksheet that has all the numbers. Worcester is district 348.)

Last year, Worcester received $187,838,166 in Ch. 70. However, the state also used $3.7 million in federal funds to keep Worcester at foundation. That brings the number up to $191 million, plus the state also is tacking education jobs funds on top of that, bringing it up to $193.4 million (remember that there's a bit less than a million dollars Worcester still has in education jobs funds for use in FY12).
The state is thus calculating Worcester's aid at $7.7 million more than last year. I suspect our budget (once we get there with real numbers) will spell this out a bit differently, as our finance office breaks it down more.

Duncan and the grants, with a note for Worcester

If you're interested in where ed policy is headed nationally in the US, you may wish to give a quick read to the transcript of this conference call that Secretary Duncan had with what the USED refers to as "education funders" (call me a traditionalist; I think of those as "taxpayers"), by which they mean major grant funders.
For example, Duncan has this to say about the Denver conference:
So what we’re actually going to do is do a case study and all of these they’ll be presenting throughout the weekend those that we think have done a great job. And all of this stuff we’re going to be absolutely open and transparent, will be on our Web site.
We’re going to do a case study on each of these districts and not just on the existing contract but on the journey to get to that point.

And--heads up, Worcester! This means you!--this:
And we are also going to track progress of all of the attending districts
aka: the federal government is going to be WATCHING how your union and administration do at "progressing" (by their lights) on your negotiations.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Governor's proposed FY12: this isn't the money you're looking for

Governor Patrick announced his FY12 budget proposal today, including that increase for education he's spoken of earlier.
Don't get too excited, though, as the money is less than the districts had avaliable last year. As spelled out by the always-excellent Mass Budget and Policy Center:
•House 1 proposes to fund Chapter 70 education aid to local and regional school districts at $3.99 billion, a decrease of $81.8 million from current FY 2011 funding levels (which include $221 million in federal recovery money that was available to districts in FY 2011). Not counting this federal money, state funding for Chapter 70 was $3.85 billion in FY 2011. Therefore, while the House 1 proposal is $81 million below the total amount available in FY 2011, it is $140 million above the state’s FY 2011 appropriation, narrowly defined, which is how the House 1 budget describes this proposal.

How to play with numbers, folks!
There's some comparable news on the circuit breaker:
•House 1 proposes to fund the Special Education Circuit Breaker program at $213 million, an $80 million increase from the current FY 2011 budget. This proposal essentially restores the circuit breaker program to the FY 2009 funding level of $215.5 million. While the circuit breaker was reduced during FY 2010 and FY 2011, a comparable amount of additional one-time federal recovery money was available during these years through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which also funds special education services
There are some increases proposed (important to keep that word in mind at this time of year!) for the school breakfast program, for MCAS student support, and for underperforming schools.


And it's definitely lousy news on local aid.

Denver: Worcester's on the list

And per my post on the Labor-Management Jamboree in Denver, Worcester is on the list.
Heading there from Massachusetts February 15-16 are:
  • MA Barnstable Public Schools
  • MA Boston Public Schools
  • MA Dennis-Yarmouth Reg. School District
  • MA Fall River Public Schools
  • MA Quaboag Regional School District
  • MA Springfield Public Schools
  • MA Swampscott
  • MA Wakefield Public Schools
  • MA West Springfield
  • MA Worcester Public Schools

On Belmont and MCAS

No, the Worcester School Committee was not informed of the investigation at Belmont Community School around last spring's MCAS.
There'll be an item asking for a full accounting of this on next week's agenda.

Deceived or better informed?

You may have seen today's Boston Globe article reporting:
Nearly half of voters in 11 Massachusetts cities give their public schools a grade of A or B and just 12 percent rate their schools D or F, according to poll results released yesterday.

Mass Inc, which did the survey of 400 voters in "Gateway Cities" across the state, immediately pivots to MCAS scores and claims that locals don't know what they're talking about:


“The concern coming from these poll numbers is that many residents in Gateway Cities may be uninformed — or in denial — about the significant hurdles facing these schools and students with closing the achievement gap,’’ John Schneider, executive vice president of MassINC, said in a statement.

Or perhaps, Mr. Schneider, they're better informed than you are, as they judge by more than MCAS scores.

Local showings of "Race to Nowhere"

If, like me, you weren't able to make it to Medford yesterday, the film "Race to Nowhere" will be showing around Massachusetts in the upcoming weeks:
Source and full national list at http://www.racetonowhere.com/screenings


Amherst Amherst Regional High School Auditorium
Feb 2, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State of the Union education BINGO

The newswires are a-buzz with the possibility of major mentions of education in President Obama's education speech tonight. For those of you following along at home, Who-cester is pleased to offer our very own version of State of the Union education BINGO.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Calling for an internal investigation at Goddard

Dianna Biancheria, Brian O'Connell, and I issued this press release this morning.
I think that tossing the grades of every single MCAS at Goddard means we've accepted that every teacher didn't follow the rules. I don't.

Contrary to looking for "heads to roll," I'm hoping that we stop tarring an entire school based on the actions of some, and then fix the problem at its source.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Two hour delay Monday

Yes, you heard that right: two hour delay for Monday, January 24, due to the frigid weather.
(Remember: some kids walk up to a mile to school, and some walk 1/2 mile to the bus. And yes, I know that when you were young, you walked to school.....)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Education funding increase?

The headline is that Governor Patrick is proposing an FY12 budget that will cut local aid by 7%, along with proposing legislation that would push communities towards the GIC program for insurance (by cutting out negotiations). Garnering less attention is the proposed increase to education funding, which WBUR puts at an increase of $140 million. or 3.5%.

No word yet on if that will be across the board or otherwise allocated.
And do keep in mind that we are in the very, very early stages of the budget.

Disintegration

And if you didn't already see Stephen Colbert on the Wake County vote around "disintegration," you should:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Disintegration
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>Video Archive

Snow day count

For those wondering, today's day off brings the last day of school to June 20th.
A Monday.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

For those wondering

...why it is that the School Committee doesn't deal with what's "top of the news" (for example, Goddard, tonight): the School Committee rules (different, by the way, than the City Council rules) allow for items under suspension only if they're an "emergency" (and the chair is pretty strict in his definition of "emergency").
We do vote our own rules, by the way.

Budget reduction

O'Connell rises to oppose
doesn't object to the administration's recommendation, but "a reduction of our budget by vote of the City Council"
(this is only sort of true)

Bathroom access

We've got a memo here that's 11 years old...Monfredo taking it up about keeping bathrooms open
Mullaney doesn't want it going to TLSS..operational issue. Also takes issue with micromanaging
The mayor agrees that it makes sense to have it one committee...have a policy conversation in F&O
..do share some of those concerns with Mrs. Mullaney
Foley offers to hold the meeting at a time Monfredo can come
to F&O

O'Connell on buses

O'Connell comments that almost all of our kids are buses voluntarily (we don't have to bus them; we do so for safety or other reasons)
"the exception has swallowed the rule"
"because of the city in which we live"

This is being referred to Finance and Operations

Mullaney on buses

says that there's state law involved
I should also point out that we have both Jeff Mulqueen and Brian Allen at the table now; you know you've got a doozy of an item if you get multiple administrators on it!
Allen says we're required to provide K-6; we provide K-12.
Mullaney also objects to adding buses, because we can't afford it.

Transportation

I think that this is asking how many kids get a ride that we legally don't have to transport..maybe?
"It appears that the two mile definition has been in place for at least twenty years..and perhaps it needs to be revisited"
nope, sorry...she's looking to add buses!"what are the levels of safety that are considered...?"
The mayor suggests that, if the intent is to revisit that policy, that at the standing committee level, bringing in the transportation director for questions
Biancheria comments that she'll have questions ready
"exceptions...truly open up a can of worms"
The mayor says that we generally try to leave the day-to-day operation part to administrators involved..."I would be concerned and opposing a referral...if you're looking to review exceptions to the two mile rule."
Biancheria wants to discuss the policy: what is considered for an exception? What are the safety levels?
"...trying to get a clearer grasp on what the policy is"

security cameras at South

apparently South would like them...
O'Connell: plan in place for some time...asking for a status report

Listening and Learning report

Biancheria asks why we would hold on this information?
"baffles me completely as to why administration would hold on this information without forwarding it to School Committee"
(Mulqueen comes to the table)
"engage all stakeholders with more information"
"well, I hope the poor secretary wasn't working on this for the last six months"
"it would have hit home a lot harder" earlier
"we're ten, eleven months into this, and nothing was given back to the School Committee"

Boone says this information was not withheld from the public (!)
"clearly heard" that parents did not want schools reconfigured away from a K-6 setting

Biancheria: we have people that never attended another meeting
"administration..."may have used this
tell people they're going to get feedback in a reasonable amount of time
"the schools, the parents, perhaps put on the website"
have missed opportunities to put items on the agenda
"express my disappointment that administration did not get this information out to public"

Travel report

...more coming in February which will be planned travel as well

Monfredo

Thanks for the update
"let's be honest...let's look at the data...graduation rates are down*...where are we going as a nation?"


*they dropped when we implented testing

Biancheria

appreciates the college and career readiness
asks for data from grade 3 to grade 6 from past years
asks that we get the materials before the hearings on innovation schools

asks if United Way is the lead? Yes. WPS is a partner, of which there are about eight, and then subcommittees
Can we bring in another partner? Suggests Holy Cross
Clark is not the only college, they'll check on Holy Cross...does have a geographic focus limited by school area
asks for more background information; here's the website that was cited

Mullaney

"hears the frustration of an elementary school parent"
not in a gifted program, but could identify the Eiffel Tower
cites the article that said Chinese parents wanted kids who had the American model, because they don't learn how to think
"I think that Mrs. Novick is acting--and I say this as a compliment--as a Cassandra...people have to speak out at this level"
"you're both right...we just have to speak out against this silly process that's going on"

O'Connell

referring the report to Accountability
and wants to take it up on Monday

Novick

Yeah, sorry...you're just going to have to look that one up.

Mullaney on Race to the Top

doesn't remember a vote when we definitely decided to apply

Report of the Superintendent: District Initiatives

Boone: halfway through year, update on work
  • Worcester Improvement Strategy
  • Level 4 schools
  • Race to the Top
  • Innovation Schools
  • Promise Neighborhood Planning Grant

School Committee for Jan. 20: EAW president addresses the committee

Len Zaluskas (as is becoming a tradition) addressing the committee on PCBs:
"we need support from the members of this committee...to clean up dangerous levels of PCBs" at four schools...
The PCBs are in cauking at Doherty, Mill Swan, North, and Burncoat Middle...
"told that there is no proof that PCBs cause cancer in humans"
"especially concerned about the preschool students at Mill Swan"
"recently filed an unfair labor practice" with the state...union has the right to test a workplace for hazards
contaminated dust...ventilation
asking for testing, asking for results of testing...in accordance with EPA
asking that Mill Swan and Burncoat Middle get new windows
cleaning ventilation system..twice..plan on taking care of issues


Boone responds that the district has created and is implementing the environmental plan for the district (and that includes PCBs, among much else)
also the five year plan (with increased capital funds voted by the committee and by Council) for rehab allows for much to be done on aging buildings

O'Brien mentions that there is a grievance pending and thus comment must be limited and circumspect.
O'Connell makes a motion for an update on the environmental plan...also mentions the consideration of specific buildings
Monfredo asks if we can have the ventilation of those four schools cleaned out...O'Brien points out that we have a grievance pending and this deals with that issue

Goddard MCAS scores declared invalid by the state

I believe you'll be hearing more about this today at School Committee...thus limited comment from me here...
You may have seen on Worcester Magazine or at the Telegram that the 2009 MCAS results from Goddard are being declared invalid by the state. Here's the Commissioner's press release and his letter to the superintendent.

Having proctored the MCAS, I can say that it comes with a test giver's manual that's really clear on what you can and cannot do. Some of the rules are silly (so long as the scrap paper gets turned in, who cares?), but plenty are straightforward. You really can't go around and check what kids are doing and tell them to go back to questions, for example.
This gets squirrelly once you're talking about kids on IEP's. Things kids usually can have on IEP's don't necessarily carry for the MCAS. In some cases (getting more time, having things read to them), they do. At the end of the day, the line is "was this the kid's work?"
If the answer is no, then there's a problem.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

An invitation not to get

So here's an invitation that I didn't get: it seems that MassInc is hosting "The Gateway Cities Education Summit" here in Worcester on February 4 at the Beechwood Hotel. The description says that it:
will bring together policymakers, practitioners and elected officials towards the shared goal of improving education in the state's Gateway Cities
Well, that would certainly seem to include the elected school committtee for the City of Worcester. And yet, somehow, I certainly haven't been invited!
I suspect somehow it isn't that my invitation has been lost in the mail. A quick read of some of the organizations involved:
  • MassInc
  • Mass Business Alliance for Education
  • Stand for Children
...makes me think that "invitation only" is quite intentional.
Just remember that when you read the write-ups on February 5, eh?

Updates on everything

The agenda for this Thursday's meeting of the Worcester School Committee is up. It appears that the Superintendent's report is an update on all of the various initiatives--Level 4 schools, Promise Neighborhood grant, Focus on Results, innovation schools, the Gates grant--that are currently going on in Worcester. If you're interested in any of the above, coming down to City Hall or tuning in around 7 on Thursday would be well worth your while.
We're also getting back the travel report (which appears to have quite a number of abbreviations and no explanations for those or for the travel...I'm told more on travel will be coming), and a report on the Listening and Learning sessions last spring.
Also, we are being asked to pass the FY11 budget at $362,251 less than we did in June, as the charter assessment rates have come in. It's being recommended that it come out of instructional materials (but, honestly, for FY12, as we'd planned on carrying just over $700,000 forward for next year. We're that much more in the hole for FY12, then.).

Note that the Worcester School Committee is having a legislative breakfast on Friday at 7:30 am at the Tech school.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No School Thursday

Worcester Public Schools are CLOSED Thursday, January 13, 2011.
And my sympathies in advance to teachers who are going to have kids on Friday after two days at home before a three day weekend.

Amend, but

amend carefully.
In documents sent to governors and other state officials late last week, U.S. Department of Education officials explained that amendments to plans must be “consistent with the underlying principles,” of the high-profile competition, in which 11 states and the District of Columbia won grants of up to $700 million.
Those core principles include sticking to academic targets and maintaining a level of support from teachers’ unions and state boards of education sufficient to ensure that their plans can be carried out.

New LA School Chief

...coming to you straight from the Gates Foundation.

You know not what you say

...in which Matt Yglesias suggests that 62 in a high school class would be okay, actually...and then gets told off in the comments.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Worcester Public Schools CANCELED

I just got an email from Superintendent Boone: Worcester Public Schools are CANCELED for tomorrow.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ed Reform in a Can

I was going to do a post on the un-helpful FY12 budget suggestions from the Fordham Institute, but as usual, Bruce Baker got there first.

Go, Chicago!

Parental, teacher, and other advocates trying to take back their school system:
In a letter addressed to "citizens of Chicago," the coalition members say that parents have been shut out of decision-making by Daley, who has controlled the city schools since 1995. He selects both the chief executive officer for the school system, and the seven-member school board. Arne Duncan, the current secretary of education, was appointed as Chicago Schools CEO in 2001 and served until his appointment to federal office in 2009.
They're looking for a 13 member board, half of whom are PARENTS!
UPDATE: and at least one mayoral candidate supports the idea (if not this plan).

Jamboree in Denver: UPDATED

...heard a rumor that Worcester's been invited.
Saturday morning UPDATE: Upon my asking, Superintendent Boone told me that Worcester has been invited, and, upon sign-off of both the Mayor and the EAW president, has RSVPed 'yes.' Not all who say they can come will be accepted, however.
Travel is funded by the Ford Foundation.

Math Wars

Am I alone in always picturing that in the "Star Wars" font?
If you're looking for the math wars online, and have an opinion about Everyday Math, here you go.
h/t Teaching Now

Premiere of "Words Can Work"

Words Can Work 
Bullying: True Stories
and
Educational Forum on Bullying

Massachusetts State House, Great Hall
Thursday, January 27, 2011
9:30AM - 12 noon 
Audience discussion with clinical and policy experts moderated by
Words Can Work creator Jeanne Blake
Eugene Beresin, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital
John Bynoe, Associate Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 
Robin D'Antona, EdD, Certified National Olweus Bullying Prevention Trainer
Barbara Leadholm, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
Bryan Pridgen, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, McLean Hospital
Lauren Smith, MD, Medical Director, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Gabrielle Viator, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division

Continental Breakfast will be served from 9:30 to 10:00. Program begins promptly at 10:00. Space is limited. RSVP for this free event with your name and organization to  info@wordscanwork.com. Registered representatives of schools/organizations will receive a Bullying: True Stories DVD and companion Words Can Work booklet to use as educational tools in their communities and schools.


Newspeak redux

The Center for Education Reform (quotes around that omitted, but warranted) are now going to rate education news for accuracy:
It’s not clear how the center’s advocacy positions and those of the funders of the project — several powerful foundations — will affect the ratings.The center declined to provide any details on the venture until closer to its release.
The project drew concern from Linda Perlstein, the public editor of the Education Writers Association. “Will ‘the correct light’ wind up meaning less about accuracy than about viewpoint?” she asked.
According to the preview, the venture is being funded by the Walton Family Foundation, the Gleason Family Foundation, the Bradley Foundation and a $275,000 grant from the Gates Foundation.
(more on the funding at Schools Matter)
One wonders if news that doesn't make the cut will be put down the memory hole?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Level 4 plan

Request the administration provide for a vote of the School Committee the revised Level 4 school plan prior to submission to the Commissioner
(this per the Commissioner's proposed revision to the Level 4 plan)

Listening and Learning sessions report

note that the previous item and this item are both on the supplemental agenda
Boone reviews the backup provided
we've got a chart of what the answers were that people gave to the multiple choice questions in various sessions

Travel

motion from Biancheria and O'Connell asking for a report on all travel, basically, for this year
also, we appear to have a police officer here tonight
Boone wants to walk through the back-up of this item
"provide some information that was provided to the T&G"
Boone points out that all out-of-state travel has been expended only from external sources
backup is not what Biancheria asked for: wants a full report
"we discuss the budget every single time we have a meeting"

State of Emergency

closing DAB during a state of emergency
the mayor asks that DAB be closed during a state of emergency....with all due deferral to administration on running day-to-day operation
"when the governor says 'don't come to work' and closes state buildings, we take it seriously"

NEAS&C priorities

putting priorities of the New England Association of Schools and College into the long-term capital or operating budget
concern from the mayor at how this dovetails with the five year

Teacher handbook

motion from Monfredo that we have one handbook for teachers for the beginning of the year having all information of things that are sent in
Mullaney asks how things are sent in for teacher absences, in terms of lesson plans.
Boone says we're working towards a single policy manual that has all policies, as discussed at the retreat lead by MASC.
note that Mr. O'Connell has taken the chair as vice chair.
Luster reviews how the teachers call in sick, that they need lesson plans on file with principals, how subs are found, and so forth
Mullaney calls attention to the word "ideally"...asks if it varies with the "forcefulness of the principal" or why there is variety in how this is implemented
asks for more teeth in how all of that is implemented
Luster points out that teachers may well not be as well trained in subject areas as the teachers they're replacing
Boone points out that having good attendance makes all the difference

Summer bookmobile

a suggestion from the mayor that the bookmobile visit youth programs and parks this summer. Forwarded to administration for discussion with the library.
Monfredo stands to talk about having tried to do this in past years.
Boone comments that she's been speaking with the librarian regarding this.
Biancheria asks how kids can get books off the bookmobile: do they need a library card?
The mayor says we aren't there yet, but both the librarian for WPL and the City Manager are working on it.
Boone points out that every WPS student has a library card by the end of third grade.

Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010

Foley sends it to F&O. He recommends that people look at School Nutrition for more information.

Election of the Vice Chair

Biancheria nominates Brian O'Connell for the year of 2011.
She thanks Mr. Foley for his service.
Motion carries.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New York RTTT?

I'm just getting this off the GothamSchools Twitter feed (anyone got anything else?): New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing a New York state Race to the Top style competition as he delivers his State of the State address:
Cuomo wants two races to the top: one for academic performance and one for "administrative efficiency." $250M each, he proposes.
 New York state is currently facing a $10 billion (yes, with a 'b') budget gap for FY12.
UPDATE: more at GothamSchools.

School Committee meets tomorrow

The first 2011 meeting of the Worcester School Committee is tomorrow night. Early on the agenda is the election of the vice-chair (reminder: the School Committee elects the vice chair to a one year term. Jack Foley was voted in just prior to our inauguration last year.). There's also some end of/beginning of the year business around appointments.
There's also some business around budgetary/monetary/legislative actions, donations to accept (way to go, Lakeview PTO!), and the business of the snow day.
I've also heard word of a supplemental agenda coming.

North High grad

And Jim pointed this out to me: it seems we've got another distinguished alum to add to the WPS rolls.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wear Red for Public Ed

Did anyone else "Wear Red for Public Ed" today?

New Jersey Christmas purge

Governor Christie no sooner got back from his Christmas at Disney World than he fired seven county superintendents whose contracts were up:

On Thursday, they received a six-sentence email from Gregg Edwards, the commissioner’s acting chief of staff, that they were out of their $120,000 jobs, effective immediately.
On Monday, a few of the former superintendents were talking publicly, complaining they were never warned of their imminent demise, and, in some cases, indicating they saw themselves as loyal soldiers for the controversial governor.
“Being somewhat na├»ve, we thought we’d back to work on January 3,” said Trudy Doyle, who served as the Somerset County executive superintendent. "Needless to say, it comes as quite a shock."
The governor’s office said it was the executive branch’s prerogative as to who serves in the three-year posts These have become especially critical positions with Christie planning a full-scale push on his education agenda and a new state commissioner coming on board this month in Chris Cerf.
Christie is pushing the state board of ed to change the requirements for superintendency:
Under the plan, a person seeking the superintendent position in certain districts would need a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college and a review by the state education commissioner who would determine whether the candidate has sufficient work experience to lead a district. Three school districts under state control that would be affected by the proposed hiring standards are Newark, Paterson and Jersey City.
 This should sound familiar; after all, if New York City doesn't need a certified superintendent, why should anyone?

On the Council agenda

Expect some mentions of the school department at tonight's Council meeting; several agenda items specifically reference the school department:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Connecticut funding overhaul

Looks like there's some question of Connecticut tackling their state education funding formula, now that their new governor is a former plaintiff in the 2005 lawsuit that called for an overhaul.
As mayor of Stamford, Malloy was among the original plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which calls for major changes in the ECS formula.
"It's time now for people of good will to sit down and resolve this issue. We can't lose another generation of young people to an unequal and, in some cases, an inadequate education system," said state Rep. Christopher Caruso, D-Bridgeport.
The ECS formula has been tweaked regularly since it went into effect in 1988, a hybrid of two earlier plans intended to ensure more funding equity between wealthy and poor communities. It uses a complicated equation that considers the number of students, a town's wealth or poverty and other factors.
Its intention is to split school costs 50-50 between the state and municipalities, a goal that's never been reached. The closest the state got was 45 percent in 1989, and it's around 42 percent now.
Malloy says his first concern is avoiding ed cuts for this year.