Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Liveblogging: Foundation Budget Review Commission meeting

Posting from the Mass Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street. It looks as though the Commission is having a presentation from MassBudget today. Members of the Commission as originally constructed here; note that the Governor has turned over and that some send designees. 
Updating as we go.

Peisch: very very few rooms of this size at the State House (and all were booked)
reminder that meeting is being recorded
two presentations today on 'what works' when looking at effective and efficient policies
Rennie Center and MassBudget:
"a whirlwind tour of what works in education"
this is a surface level: "What we want to do is be useful to you all"
20th anniversary of Ed Reform on 1993
create a comprehensive vision of education: tried to say what does our entire educational system need
largely focused on schooling: K-12 education
"we now define education quite differently; we talk about what happens in school, but also what happens outside of school"
many of the reforms we're looking at take place outside the traditional school day
state expanding how it supports education: early education, innovation schools, educator evaluation
"state is grappling with an expanded definition of education"
early childhood education: large proportions of students not scoring proficient/advanced in third grade testing
serving less than 2/3rds of low income children who would benefit from high quality education
expanding access and improving quality
strong short and long term benefits: for kids, for parents, for economy (parents working, then kids going on to do better)
for all 3 and 4 year olds in MA under 200% of poverty:

I've got a photo of the chart to put in here:

other models: NJ has done a hybrid expansion of preschool (Abbott districts)
state fully funds full-day pre-kindergarden: funding goes to districts, which either does it or subcontracts it out
spend just under $13,000 a student
statewide average for K-12 in MA is $14,547
NIEER quality estimate for a full year, 9 hour day: $13,900
currently 1/2 day low income: $5,297 (base rate plus low income increment)
Q: implication that you need full day not half day? Any data that full day is neessary?
Schuster: providing information; helps family to have full day, not necessary role of school to provide that
Q: have we tracked comparable students as they go on?
response: childcare as well as education
we've now clarified the question!
yes, students who are in preschool (versus not) do benefit; there is data, 'though not the statewide evaulation of preschool (as there is no single statewide model of preschool)
Q: inputs here are clear; the outputs...do you see anything that involves reducation of cost for special education
A: getting early prevents misclassification and gets in correct program early on
Schuster: a lot of the dollars are already being spent on early education; they're just being spent by parents, not the public
Early childhood Sec'ty: just starting to get some data on children now: "just a very small slice" of children in programs, though
Condition of children in
12% of kids absent 10% of days enrolled or more
10% or kids 16-24 are not in school or employed
9% of students transfer in or out of school in a year
children are bringing a complex set of issues into school: homelessness, poverty, mental health issues, etc
wraparound services: in school or around school
  • health services clinics
  • mental health services, prevention, wellness
  • family resource centers (homelessness, parental unemployement, etc)
  • school and district level coordination needed
need someone whose sole job it is to coordinate these services
"not asking teachers to be social workers"
need to be aligned with a strong academic program: stabilize food, shelter, health, then frees up kids to learn
increasing recognition that this matters: Tulsa (TACSI)
can't prescribe what programs are; responds to what needs of community are
achievement closed or significantly narrowed in fifth grade test scores
incredulity (from commission member): "if you can wipe out the gap in one year, then why do you need preschool?"
'cause maybe something other than test scores matter?!?
took significant work to get there
Reville: is it simply enough to optimize instruction in the school or does mitigating other issues have an impact?"
(and they do)
Chang-Diaz: not necessarily moving one kid over a year: snapshot
also "we're always happy to follow up"
whole school intervention versus schools that did not: no math gap and 75% elimination of reading test gap
Madeloni: what constituted a strong academic program? Had afterschool, had Head Start, "can't say what all of the interventions were"
can follow up
CityConnects model in Boston and Springfield run out of Boston College
"were found to have an impact on high school completion and rention", following a middle school intervention
operate in elementary, middle, high school
cost: $1312/students: health clinics, mental health, wellness, prevention, family resource centers, district and school level admin
suggestion from Early Ed Sec'ty that intervention could be in early ed and multiply impact
comment: read by grade three: have not mentioned anything about after kindergarten; suggestions that there's all kinds of tradeoffs
"what does each one cost, which does each one contribute?"
A: what are the core resources of this work? "provide resources to provide non-academic resources"
Reville: a fallacy that any of these are an inoculation
support provided in a year but then withdrawn loses the effect
which ones have the longest lasting impact if we can't afford to do all
Chelesa super: have to be careful in looking for that magic bullet
"and it's at every age bracket that we need wraparound services"
Q: what does the $1312 include?
A: a mix and match of outcomes in the field (from Columbia Teachers' College in health clinics, KY family resources adjusted to MA dollars...)
but was not an effort to look at what dollars exist in the system and are currently being used in this way
Increased learning time: low income children not getting rich out of school learning that higher income peers are: $1450 to $9800 per family (comparing lowest 20% to highest 20% by family)
"need to do new things with that time...can't just do the same thing longer"
time is also for teachers to collaborate
improved academic engagement with enrichment
small group tutoring
also works well with wraparound services
Nearly all turnaround schools have done some sort of extended learning time, but it hasn't always worked the same
Orchard Garden: working with children with community partners, teachers twice amount of time to collaborate
supported MCAS score growth
"It shouldn't be thought of as three years and then it's done for life"
"the money is gone, but the kids are coming in with the same challenges"
Peisch asks if the drop off happened when fund went away
Reville: another case of providing services until improvement, then withdraw them 'and hope the growth continues'
for Orchard Gardens: $1651 (plus $1640 from Citizen Schools)
after school in LA $1747
summer learning $1440 for BELL summer program
High Schools:
multiple pathways to a diploma: flexible schedule, muliple ways to earn credit
more personalized learning, remediation, socio-emotional interventions, applied learning
increase completion rates
The Creamer center (hey, WPS!), Gateway to College at Massoit CC, Drury High Learning Lab, and I can't read the last one; inserting chart, which you probably won't be able to read, either. I'm going to see if I can dig it up:

per pupil costs estimates 2011-12 (not full costs)
"something that costs as high as what the Creamer costs to provide would not fit into the current per pupil expense model" I think I got that right
early college designs: early college credit in high school, but also early ID of academic needs and college counseling
looked at Amesbury High/Northern Essex CC; Winchendon High/Mt Wachusett CC; Marlboro High/mulitple partners
in some of these models, parents are funding; if not through grants, college, federal funding
creating flexibility to enable these strategies provides new opportunities
Q: raising age of requred attendance impact? No impact on graduation rate in states that have done it
athletics as an enrichment opporutnity


Presentation from the Revere Public Schools, Paul Dakin, Superintendent

80% poverty, when MCAS started was 7th from bottom, now all Level 1 and 2 schools
"part of the reason why are fiscal, but part is consistency with administration and consistency in policy with school committee"
have been superintendent for 14 years
"have embraced education reform"
"first from a foundational belief perspective"
philosophical: when we can agree to something, moral imperative goes on the table: "what is best for kids"
"has saved a lot of noise"
continuity and the successes we've had bring people back
"see in my head the vast degree of need...of children who are struck with poverty"
force of parents,
"some of prime elements of wraparound services are critical"
"with $7000 more, to people who believe that money doesn't matter, we could do it"
"part of this is economic"
look at income: "can work down costs and investigate the avenues you have"
not many ways to maximize income anymore
foundation budget, local contribution, not as many competitive grants as there used to be
work to pull kids back from private schools: "have enough choice in the district that you don't need to go elsewhere"
"it's a determined strategy and it's a real strategy"
parents won't think to send child without a rigorous system
philosophical belief that all kids can learn and work on that
how efficient we can be; most cost
agreement that if they took over transportation, they could keep any money that they saved
keep life skils students in district
adding programs for children with autism: "space is becoming an issue"
"can educate them in the community"
have children appreciate those academic and social differences
restructured administration: redesigned to put administrators working in curriculum working on the floor
adminstrators are "managing student life on the floor so order can prevail"
"guides in the school with teachers working with teachers so they have to collaborate"
"probably have five times the social workers that we had five years ago...that's not lower class size, but...kids can go to the classroom...and aren't wrestling with their own inabilities"
felt needed School Resource officers "students were running the asylum"
rubs off on the community in the sense that kids get a different sense of what an officer is like
building resiliancy; what baggage kids come in with
working to build not only in kids but also in teachers in dealing with it
cultural competency so as not to alienate parents and families
"bit the bullet in any sort of expansion we could" and put full day kindergarten in place
"there are penalties for success that we're experiencing"
becoming Level 1 and 2 takes DESC (?) money from us that allowed us to get there and now those moneies are taken away
expanded learning time in three schools
have an innovation school that tinkered with time a bit
...and each of them have worked.
struggle with TFA: teachers were great for the two years they had them, then they left; long term need for buy in with teachers who have the professional development
going to be crossing a path with income versus cost in ELT schools
teacher degrees go up; salaries go up; grant never goes up: has always told teachers never to count on ELT funding
getting to a point where the people who are already in the program can't provide the services
25% more time for 18% of the salaries for ELT; brought in Citizen Schools for expanded time so teachers could collaborate
"that's a predicament we're in and I think every ELT school is"
student-center learning environment with heavy doses of technology
"if we don't progress...we don't take that task in the next few years...I have students ready to have conversations on how to improve their work at the fifth grade"
Q: put your testimony in the lead with Worcester "there's some cause for optimism"
where are you with foundation? At (I checked; Revere is 7.6% over for FY15; they were last under in FY11)
with exemplary results as you have, and you spend at foundation, isn't that enough?
No, we're still missing children.
transient population is growing
immigrant population of older children who are nearly illiterate in their own language
"now have a line item in my budget for newcomers academy"
Q: you're still underspending foundation budget on instructional categories
money is going to health insurance instead
"That's one of the things I can't fix, though: YOU people can fix it!"
"That has to be in your recommendations not mine"
Super in Chelsea: "don't want commission to lose sight that Paul has been able to do that because of the ELT grant"
"what's the sustainable predicable funding streams for schools?"
Chang-Diaz: what are the numbers that you're hitting in Revere?
95% or so making it through MCAS on their first taking it in tenth grade; kids who don't make it first time in many cases were not in Revere through most of school
programs for kids who have the goal of getting them to where they need to be
Foundation Budget isn't moving fast enough to keep up with student population
Q: is Revere a minimum aid community? No (because it's a foundation aid community)
Q: what is the relationship with the city? A: School Committee has been very proactive, city is very much in the equation; does not have a great tax base
"there is more than an urban education dilemma; it's an education dilemma"
Title I grants; that's millions of dollars
competitive grants: "there aren't any out there"
Q: what's appropriate to go out in grants versus go out in foundation budget?
A: more philosophical: districts best running with teachers and administrators going together
MCAS is one of the reasons Revere improved itself
"but I don't like holding people accountable without giving them the decision making powers"
put money into places where teachers have some decision making over the program
Q: sense of scale for grants: less than 5% of budget
Q: building philosophical together: some people came slow to the four R's
still soe nay-sayers here and there
early on it was not easy; just have to stay persistent
"it's a lot of work to change a culture of learning"
Chang-Diaz: is there a way to operationalize that?
A: "school committee is an essential role..if they're not there, it's not going to happen"
"if there's no noise from a school committee--if there's no day-to-day noise--if they're in the boat and on the team"
way getting lost with the metaphors...
"begins with the superintendent who is working with the school committee"
Schuster: what's a core program and what's outside the foundation budget
recognition of the add ons
"is that expanded program allotment adequate? ...and is the model we have the right model?"
on the difficulty in finding superintendents "the best don't want the hassle of the job"
"they were saying 'I don't need the aggrevation'"
"they don't want to accept the hassle...and I say 'the hassle' and not 'the challenges'"
Chelsea super: the animosity of the media and the public on the profession

Peisch: process moving forward
looking for a 2/3rd vote on recommendations that will move forward
That recommendation passes

members have been asked to share recommendations to move forward
common denominator: interest to address benefits and special education
if there is interest, a draft recommendation for next meeting
asking for all further recommendations by Friday, so all recommendations may be put together and discussed at next meeting
"reasonable to take on in the time we have left"
concern from MASC president Patrick Francomano: "continually skirted around some of the other major issues"
concerned that those issues will not be dealt with
"to me that is not necessarily representative of what we're supposed to be about"
Peisch: "I'm fairly hopeful that we will not spend an awful lot of time discussing" sped and health care at the next meeting
interest in addressing low income in some way, interest in addressing how dollars are most effectively and efficiently spent
Q from Francomano: have we rejected the idea that every element of the formula should be recalculated?
Peisch: I don't know that we have explicitly rejected that
Chang-Diaz: recall hearing some dialogue at first meeting
Q: will go systematically through the categories?
Peisch: had anticipated
Chang-Diaz: "we'd like to hear from you guys! I imagine that some of you are going to have more crisp and articulated proposals"...and some will be questions
Q: what happened to consultant?
RFP put out; no responses, then freeze put on spending
Q: hoping that every school and district could be laid out under foundation budget: how many nurses, how many counselors
Peisch has been very responsive, looking at spending at every district is a lot
Q: not the spending: what if every district could have what the foundation budget called for
Q: do we need to be done by June?
Peisch: could probably squeeze in another meeting before then; why don't we see where we are at the next meeting
Jehlen: would like to see what is being suggested so far

NEXT MEETING: May 5, 10 am, at the State House (room TBA)

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