Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What you aren't seeing in Board of Ed coverage

Massachusetts, we have a problem.
The Mass Board of Education meets once a month in Malden for a Monday night followed by a Tuesday morning. Under Mass General Law, they have broad statutory powers over K-12 education in the Commonwealth.
The Board met Monday night, and then yesterday for a six hour marathon meeting.
From that meeting, from what I can tell, we got two pieces of coverage:
  • MassLive, which has been closely following Holyoke, did a report on DESE's report on Holyoke, as well as a report on the Board meeting account of Holyoke and public testimony (including my own) at the meeting. Kudos to MassLive, by the way; they've been following the Holyoke situtation closely.

  • State House News (here reported out by the Brockton Enterprise) reported on the Commissioner taking everyone to task in their reactions to his not forwarding the Fitchburg and Brockton charter school applications for approval. This fits in nicely with the Boston-area narrative (which, from where I sit, appears to be largely Pioneer Insitute-driven) around people calling for his ouster. Also from where I sit? I don't see it happening.
Did I miss anything? Please, let me know if I did.

What didn't you read if all you saw was the above?
  • a lengthy conversation among Board members around vocational education regs--you know, vocational education? That's been such a popular political topic?--that pointed up the tension between regular school districts and vocational school districts on enrollment and funding. All those "well, why can't we just...?" suggestions boil down to regs like these. If we're going to talk about expanding vo-tech ed, PEOPLE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THESE THINGS.

  • an update on PARCC revealing the very pertinent pieces of information that the PARCC consortium, not the state of Massachusetts, will set the "college-ready" score on PARCC and parents will not have student PARCC test scores until after the Board votes to go with PARCC or not (because of timing with that cut score being set). Further, our MCAS contract is up for renewal this year, and the states--not PARCC--own the test development information, so Massachusetts could move on with PARCC-like testing even if the consortium falls apart.
And those are just off the top of my head.
Look, I get that the press is under unbelieveable pressure, and having someone sit in a really long meeting in Malden feels...long. I was there. I get it. But this is seriously important information for EVERYONE in Massachusetts to have, and for it to be missed by...everyone is a gaping vaccuum.

Let's please get better coverage on state education issues. Not this soap opera over who's in and who's out: the stuff that hits our kids in classrooms.

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