Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Board of Ed meets at nine: comments

The Board of Ed meets at nine; you can find the agenda here.
meeting today at Pioneer Charter of Science, as is the custom, the home school of the Board of Ed's student member

Commissioner: congratulations Margaret McKenna on her appointment as Suffolk University president
Teacher of the year appointment, very much believes in inclusion, keeps students in her classroom would not be there in other schools
in process of extending Lawrence turnaround plan for another three years
extending contract on receiver,  as well; he'll be here in June
Donahue report on Smith Vocational which I can't find online

Public comment:
autism endorsement regs: Mass Advocates for Children
commend dept for comprehensive regs
foster greater knowledge
assumes that candidates have general knowledge needed for endorsement
should have a fundamental course on special ed prior to entering endorsement
should be distinction between special ed teacher w/ endorsement & special ed teachers w/endorsement
oppose waiving field experience
"envision that the endorsed teacher would be a leader in their school"
represent a confusing situtation for schools and families (without better deliniation)
advances field of teacher knowledge to work in field

science regs: science for scientists
children have a different relationship to knowledge
"ability to use this knowledge to solve problems...critical thinking"
integrate content learning with critical thinking
run risk otherwise "children who are merely a poor imitation of Google search"
students lucky to get 40 minutes of science a WEEK
regular and consistent time slot every day
overall standards are coherent from grade to grade
challenge is that teachers will have to learn another way, also new assessments
"definite improvement that we'd like to urge you to support"
call for need of inquiry based science standards

parent from Melrose: advocate for meaningful education reform
two groups of students neglected
students able to achieve beyond average levels and those defined as gifted
"lack of meaningful response" from Board, despite engaging with them over years
"the nation as a whole knows more about gifted education that all of Massachusetts"
need someone staffed with gifted education
"we believe somehow offering AP classes in high school somehow erases years of neglect"
Mass Academy cited
"consider the gifted students of Holyoke or Lawrence, Fall River or Springfield"
what opportunities are offered to them?
"Little to nothing"
students who are gifted or are beyond grade level have nothing to look forward to
ready to engage

speaker on Net School Spending, Rich Cowan, from Dracut
districts that "couldn't even dream to begin to provide" what others do on spending
Dracut Fiscal Working group
application of Net School Spending has not been consistent
"not enough teeth in the oversight"
out of district ratio and insurance/retirement ratio
amount going to sped and to retiree health insurance
"have a dialogue of what the situation is in these lowest funded districts"
"what other teeth can there be...so a district doesn't fall into these unrecoverable situation"

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