Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Public comment at the Board of Ed

as per usual, I'll do my best on names or at least associations on speakers

early literacy
Strategies for Children: lead agency
high quality private and public preschool
leading to third grade reading proficiency
advocacy policy research agency: working with a number of Gateway Cities
introduce self, "at ready to whatever you need for us to do"
note: the Dearborn in Boston is being threatened with level 5 status
recently joined Dearborn stakeholder group
"believe in...public dialogue and consensus"
ask that you not impose unreasonable deadlines
open consideration of alternative stakeholder plans
Boston's recommendation on which receiver/ plan has to be in by the 31st
if not, school will remain in Level 4
"fundamentally constrains the work of the stakeholder group to 22 days"
deliberations due to start the 25, completed by the 30
"understand that time is of the essence"
pleads that future stakeholder groups be given enough time

2012 graduate of BPS representing (among others) Boston TRUTH--
"support preserving a quality community school" at the Dearborn
"keep the Dearborn grounded in its community"
lists those involved
"haven't yet heard why the Commissioner disagrees" with plan submitted (which stakeholders agreed on)
  • what does Commissioner think should be conditions?
  • what makes a proven provider?
  • what makes us think that any of these providers will do well with our students? (when elsewhere they have not done well)

"what needs to happen is for the community stakeholders to be listened to

then I spoke. Comments here

charters on probation
Boston Green Horace Mann charter
recommended for probation today
has taken swift action on reporting
have made personnel and policy changes
mistakes that happened before I was headmaster cannot and will not happen again
"no one is satisfied" with current scores
disagree with "not promising"
we are a turnaround school, though we aren't called that
have hit every subgroup target every year
(sounds like they might actually do everything they're supposed to do: Kudos!)
part of a district improvement strategy

Greenfield Virtual School
recommended for probation today
"very young school"
plan to address or plan to address each concern
"completely different school than the one the state visited in July"
special ed, Title I program, tutoring center, intervention coordinators, process for an ELL program
"bi-weekly data-driven instruction meetings"
56% of students are new
17% from homeschooling, 9% from charters

Barbara Madeloni MTA president
loss of rights at Level 4 and 5 schools
"many excellent teachers are driven from these schools"
Give resources and time they need to develop education
"have long been concerned that charter schools create a two-tiered system"
question of if Board should approve charters "the answer is a resounding a 'no'"
to approve would be a breech of trust

Brockton superintendent
"Brockton is not the right place for a charter schools"
"much needed revision, long sought by urban educators across this Commonwealth"
improvement "result of hard work"
"our track record proves it" that they are commited to every student
"the city of champions"
invites them to visit

Fitchburg superintendent who is here with Mayor Wong
exited bottom 10% of districts
running through scores raised, school results raised
"Fitchburg and Brockton have done exactly what was asked of them"
"the understanding that hard work pays off"
analogy of a teacher who asks students to perform particularly, then changes the terms
invites them to visit

charter advocates
Beth Anderson, vice chair of public charter schools association also started Phoenx charter school
asking them to "go through process"
her school (Phoenix) serves "a lot of students that are ELL, on IEPs"
"just because no one applied from New Bedford and Worcester" no reason why Fitchburg and Brockton can't go forward
(just going to point out here that Worcester applicants would have been disqualified, too)
references "spirit of law"
starting a school is backbreaking work
"should a district only have to show two years of growth" to exit
"the lowest 20%, the lowest 30%...why should charters be tied to this at all?"
does the growth represent every kid?
stunning coming from a group that acutally doesn't get kids through to graduation
"please clear the way"
Mike Anderson, advocating for Brockton charter
served on committee writing 1993 ed reform law
"strong supporter of (Brockton) superintendent"
school choice "particularly in the inner city"
"recognize the importance of looking at both growth and achievement"
never saw school choice as being a punishment for charter schools being implemented
Jennifer Jones, advocate for charter school in Fitchburg
Fitchburg and north central region
reading letter from a parent: longer school day, "seeks to nurture both mind and body"
parochial schools, school choice, others "don't have the luxury of these options"
calls growth "a bureaucratic technicality"
hope you will consider Brockton and Fitchburg
closing of public comment. Five minute recess

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