Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Posting from the Board of Ed today

You can find the agenda here.  I'll post as there is reason to, and also I'm livetweeting here.
And sure enough, the charter supporters are out in force. I've heard that it was announced last night that there will be a hearing--date and time TBA--on the Fitchburg and Brockton applications.

Opening comments:
Chair Margaret McKenna reports that they had a briefing last night on charter schools by DESE and by the charter school association (? really?). Also, last night's meeting focused on early literacy. Have to pay attention to it, good start, early intervention
went to Denver, meeting of state boards of ed association
"very different in different states...everyone is struggling with the same issues"
discussions around language and how you talk about schools that aren't doing so well
efforts to cooperate with districts and schools: approaches that we can have
"how do we find that balance between our responsibility and the sense of partnership with those providing the education"
we can always learn from others
"have been talking about education reform for about a hundred years"
"that every child receives a good education and that schools that run around stay turned around"
districts that have dramatically turned around and sustained it: "people had a hard time coming up with a district that has turned around and has sustained it"
Mary Ann Stewart (parent member) recently tourned New England Center for Children
observed restraint
impressed by attention of staff on focus and attention to learning
Also visited the Nashoba Learning Group
McKenna: proposed regulations on restraint
possible that they will work with early ed on hearing/meeting on restraint
"we know that there will be no action on charter schools today"
"will set up a time in the next several weeks for people to be heard"
"arrange for an open meeting, an open opportunity"
"I think that the Board only benefits from hearing from a variety of people"

Commissioner: fire overnight in Lawrence, we know of two children who died in that fire, one of which have confirmed is a student in the Lawrence Public Schools at the Wetherbee School, school is opening today
shared response from fed on NCLB waiver
"good news to receive this request for a single year...did not receive our request for a waiver for a single testwide assessment"
"required to submit a plan on which test will be our test by next year...single test by 15-16 school year"
"our judgment that this was the best course for Massachusetts...we are sticking with that process"
27 & 28 Curriculum & Instruction conference in Marlboro (one day conference repeated)
Still awaiting the state auditor's report on charter schools "any day"
he has been appointed to the NAEP board
was at a conference at the Federal Reserve on inequality and outcomes last Friday
memo on assessment and testing in schools (which I've picked up, but I haven't read it yet; quick read says they only asked superintendents)
"a fair amount of hyperbole in this space, so my intent is to ground this discussion"
regarding charter schools in Fitchburg and Brockton: not on agenda today, not asking state board to take any action
"very much an evolving situtation"
several pieces in play: "state board through a very deliberate process, and a very open process...you reached what I thought was a very appropriate conclusion"
both Brockton and Fitchburg application don't need a cap lift to open schools; plenty of room within the 9%
in at least Fitchburg, if applicant reconfigures districts, would it bring it into the 10%? possible
statute is at least two Commonwealth charters in any given year have to be in bottom 10%
these are only two Commonwealth charter applicants this year
"not clear to me that intent was" for there need to be two for process to go forward (I think that's what he said)
tried to provide increased opportunity for charter schools, while making sure that conditions and the requisites are in line
"We are looking at what our options are"
"Before we would entertain a waiver, we would hear from impacted districts, as well as applicants"
Query from Willyard: what will we do with high school graduation requirements through 2019? Right now that's the MCAS (his point is that this won't fit the waiver). Chester's reponse is essentially 'yeah, that's going to be an issue'
Governor Patrick doing a last education speech at Bunker Hill Community College on Thursday
McKenna; public education in this country was created to create educated and informed citizens

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