Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Posting from the Senate gallery S2262

...where we're awaiting the Senators who are either in caucus or in the House for a Constitutional Convention discussion (I've heard both).
I'll say up front that the ins and outs of how the Senate operates is not something with which I am familiar. I'll post what I know as I know it, though!
more to come...posting as we go
Note that the session can be viewed here
So far, at the request of Senate Minority Leader Tarr, Senator Chang-Diaz, Senate chair of the Joint Committee, is reviewing the parameters of the bill. Tweets from me here.
Senator Pat Jehlen reviews spending amount on charters. Concern with committing funds three years old. Reviews skyrocketing funding on charter funding. Two things that have been proven to work: early childhood ed and lower class sizes in early grades. Note further that there is review from the state auditor of charters. Not the time.
Senator Barry Finegold conversation with Lawrence parents. "how good your school system is determines if you can keep people in your city or your town" Believes that we have taken steps in the right direction under Obama and Patrick. "after years of bringing money back to city schools, we said 'you know what? We have to go in a different direction.'" (no, Senator, you did not. The Commissioner did.) Test scores at UP Academy went up 56%. (don't have a chance to look at this now..anyone got the stats?)
Donnelly asks why 23%; can't we get information from 18%? Opposes cap lift
Senator Barrett from Milton arguing that sense he left the urban area, he should allow charter schools; "voted with his feet"

Petruccelli East Boston citing stats of East Boston charter schools

Donnelly "grave concerns" about cap lift, as "all charter schools are not created equal" Infusion of capital after 1993 ed reform act. 50% public/ 50% charter "completely unsustainable" Would like to have provisions of remainder of bill dealt with as a body. "why don't we fix what we have and then decide what we should do?"
Lewis "What is the end game?" One is two parallel school systems. Don't think anyone is looking for that. Provide for a place where we can try new things. "we've done that for twenty years now"  Cites Harlem Children's Zone and New Orleans (wait, what?) as successes for charter schools. runs through what works. "We should be taking those lessons, those strategies and applying them to every single public school"
Senator Pacheco. concerned about cap lift. Likes a number of provisions in the bill. Lists things that work in education. Concern back in 1993 that we'd created a dual track public school system; "that's essentially what we have created."Do we want investment to go just to charters, or to all students in the Commonwealth? Notes Legislative session nearly over, new governor comes in in January.
Keenan: "tale of two cities" in his district "question, the issue, what is the end game" Community gets torn up when there isn't an end game. "haven't seen any sense of where it all leads"
Donnelly stands to withdraw amendment 3 on requiring certification of charter school teachers. "ask to withdraw this amendment, because I think this bill is seriously flawed, and I hope it doesn't pass"
Jehlen: cites Duncan about certification of teachers
Tarr applauds colleagues on debate. Charters should be granted "with integrity" "should not act on increasing charters, until we respond to the issues presented here in the amendments" So, if you put money on Gloucester Charter Arts would come up today, here we go! Reading FOIA'd documents on the exchange over the Gloucester confirmation and rehearsing the story of the school's eventual failure.
Senator Chandler rises to speak of the "negative" experience of charters in Worcester, finds herself in opposition.
Back to Tarr...rolling through his amendments 4,5,6,7,8 have been adopted by acclaimation
Series of amendments voted down (some of which I missed) 19, 20
Petrucelli drawing a parallel between exam schools and charter schools, and exam schools are not held responsible for attrition rates
amendments up through 26 have been withdrawn
Tarr up on his PARCC amendment; voted down
More amendments withdrawn
Finegold up on his amendment to strike the link to state funding. "this will be a debate every year" Voted down
amendments 31 and 31 adopted
Finegold on opt out charter amendment (38): voted down
Note that the full list of what happened here so far on amendments.
BACK to amendments: Tarr amendment asking for a report on PARCC, (27), Jehlen notes that we don't know what decisions will be made by Commissioner on testing which has financial implications. Chang-Diaz expresses concern with report overburdening DESE; Tarr shocked by notion. Roll call. Amendment fails, though not on party lines.
RECESS TIL 4...or thereafter...
Jehlen "don't really want to have people who don't know our districts looking at our numbers and making decisions" for us
powers to Commissioner...does not have to consider impact of changes on rest of district
"haven't been willing or able to invest the money to allow all of our children to suceed...we should address that the first thing in the next session"
26 No's THE BILL FAILS No cap lift.
Second vote defeats the House version of the bill.
Note, by the way, that so far the roll call on the Senate version isn't posted. It's roll call 407. 406 is the PARCC study, 408 is the House version.

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