Tuesday, October 13, 2015

LIVEBLOG; Joint Committee on education part II

part I is here
Marty Walz (who totally has sold out and is working for DFER now!)
Celebrating success of 2010 act
require changes in the schools
Lawrence schools "performing beautifully"
same thing happening in Holyoke
has allowed school districts to create more than 50 innovation schools
concedes that there is dispute around number of wait list but "thousands" on them
have a chance to make a change
have a choice to either have the cap lift through ballot or through Legislature
(and we wouldn't want that now would we?)
Mass High Tech Council and there's our first citation of the Great Schools lobby
most highly educated state
need more well educated people for high tech jobs (I think?)
global competition
"far too many of our children remained trapped in under performing schools"
"show us a sixth grader in a failing school today"
then fast forward to a child with a tech degree...and something about boundless opportunity
and I don't know who this guy is
wants us to keep turnaround plans beyond three years
"so they can continue to do what's working"
extend Level 4 status plans to Level 3 schools
also supports cap lift
issues raised here are real but not insurmountable

Superintendent of Fall River: charters should offer an educational option that is not available in the public schools
"dialogue should be about how best" to educate all of our young citizens
comparison from Pioneer Institute did not compare like to like
if that were done, Fall River "outperforms charter school"
return of students after  October 1
10% of one charter school returned to Fall River Public Schools after Oct 1 and most were sped
should be about how a community creates a portfolio of options for our parents and students
Fall River teachers' union
parents want their children "away" from particular children
never said that it offered a more creative and innovative option for their children
"when did it become acceptable from one children to benefit another?"
"the greater the need in the community, the greater the need of the schools"
"makes no sense to think that we can run multiple schools for the cost of one"
"it might be a great business strategy, but it isn't a move towards equity"
President of the Taunton teachers' union speaking with her school committee and superintendent
"are district schools failing our children?"
"the answer to that question is a resounding no"
citation of MCAS scores
recognized the greatest closing of the dropout rate in the Commonwealth
recognized as having an exemplary breakfast in the classroom program
"while there's always more work to be done, great things are happening in the Taunton public schools"
Carol Doherty, Taunton SC: "to provide for the few at the expense of the many" is the question before us again today
"we struggle financially"
"we take advantage of every dollar"
some of the lowest administration spending in Massachusetts
"every year we fight the cash-strapped city of Taunton for 95%, not 100%, of the minimum funding"
"the time and energy and resources spent on this fight would go to that end" if leaders were really interested in improving public education
"just imagine how they could flourish with adequate funding"
Taunton superintendent: change in way calculation of lowest 10%
districts went up or down without using indexing and this drastically skewed the results
"you don't have the information you need to adequately make the decision you need to"

Steven Tolman, president AFL-CIO: idea of charter schools was to broaden public education
that isn't happening
we know the commitment of public school educators
losing the common goal of public education
impact on funding of traditional public schools
creation of a two-tiered education system that no longer serves every child equitably
rigorous applications: parents do not have the time or resources to apply
public schools having greater concentration of high need students
S326 will suspend issuance of new charters until 2018
teachers needing licensure, ongoing training, even masters degrees: charter school teachers exempt
charter schools compete with the very same schools they were designed to experiment on behalf of
"and all I heard was longer school days come out of this experimentation"
and I don't know who is speaking now...oh! Someone from Boston Justice Alliance
applied to Roxbury Prep for her daughter
subjected my "high testing" daughter to the worst charter school in discipline
speak for thousands of parents who have been forced to question their children's intelligence
some parents who are so traumatized by their children's charter experience that they just don't want to talk about it
standing in solidarity to ask you to refrain from lifting the charter cap
"serve all students"
"do not raise the cap until every child receives equal resources"
"just because your child is making it doesn't mean that every child is making it"
and then she called out the testimony being stacked for early pro-charter testimony. Peisch wasn't a fan.

Barbara Madeloni, MTA president with whom I can never type fast enough: full remarks here
"I became an educator because I saw a need for us to deepen
"public education funded by the Commonwealth"
charged constitutionally with creating a "well-educated citizenry"
"grounded in a duty to serve the common good"
charters accept a slice of students
recommendation that Lawrence be all charter is destablizing
most charter schools lose a significant number of students betweent their first and last years
high teacher turnover
we need more democracy and a stronger commitment to the public good
"fully fund all of our public schools, so all of our young people will have the public schools they deserve"
Tom Gosnell, AFT citing loss of resources and the different students served
attrition rate can be very high, as high as 50%
outsource of managment

Jehlen Q: had to write an essay to apply: what if you didn't write an essay?
I assume that she wouldn't get in
Jehlen: also heard this weekend that they require a technology fee
wasn't true when she was there...when she began to speak out, I began to get barraged with phone calls
"as a result she kinda shut down"

New England conference of NAACP: speaks for all branches in its jurisdiction
one branch after another is at fault for this failure
"a separate and unequal school system"
we must commit ourselves to finding solutions to the overarching issues with education
reject charters as the vanguard approach to public school students
if we don't do that "we could expand the school-to-prison pipeline"
Tucker: could unions work with charters?
Madeloni: this is a distraction. We made a commitment a long time ago for public education for all children: "where are the solutions in our public schools? where is the funding for that?"
"that's a profound commitment, and we need to live up to it"
Gosnell: foundation budget adopted two decades ago, no longer in effect
"our public school kids are being cheated, particularly our poor kids!"
"know what the maximum class size is at Phillips Exeter? Twelve! Can you imagine if we could do that for our boys and girls?"

asst superintendent of Everett Public Schools with president of teachers union
47% of parents don't speak English as first language; 87% free and reduced lunch
transporting students who are homeless "reimbursement went back to the general fund, not to the schools"
Everett has always been an immigrant community
20 translators just to translate for parents
many family and social issues: 10 additional social workers
charter schools take only the best of the best
Gregoire: is charter school still in operation (that had questionable billing)

Looks like a BTU panel?
Stutman: president of BTU
his daughter went to some Level 3 schools, and some of her best experiences were in Level 3 schools
128 welcoming, diverse thriving educational institutions
ask you to pop in and visit
graduation rate that is increasing, achievement gap that is shrinking
"we've done it all through collective bargaining"
"we educate all students who show up"
don't have a steady income stream: "find a new formula works better for our urban areas"
school psychologist: we've heard a lot about the demographic divide between who they serve
outcomes are difficult given our data sources:
studies that show charter schools outperforming have been repeatedly challenged given sources
public oversight lacking in charter schools
charter schools can and do turn families away
"have seen first hand the ugly side of charter schools"
"have heard students try to make meaning of their departure from charter schools...as an adult, I know that it is the system that has failed" but students internalize that
political director BTU: reading testimony from a special ed teacher in BPS
worked in a charter school: people I worked with in both are wonderful
"they were trying their best to support Massachusetts students"
when I was in the charter school, counseled parent to send kid to a BPS school for behavior
others might not be counseled out, they might not be allowed in
students couldn't pass entrance exam, which was said to be a placement exam
charter schools cultivating their student bodies
systematically sending students back to public schools
Jessica Tang, organizing director BTU
"not anti-charter; I'm pro-equity"
"who is being left behind? who is being served? who has historically been underserved? why? how do we fix that?"
"if we really do want all studetns to succeed, we need your support"
noticed something that bothered me: received students partway through the year from local charter schools
class sizes very different; supplies different
"I'm not mad at the charters....I'm happy that those conditions are available for some students...I'm mad that my students did not"
fighting over too small a pie
not giving all students the resources they need without proper resources or lack of resources
Many many more than 30,000 students have chosen their local public schools
we cannot in good conscience create a system of haves and have nots
invest in all students

Sandra Mackintosh: parent of BPS, member of BEJA
I have a problem with this movement that's trying to pit me against my neighbors
"these are my black and brown people"
"you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's a still a pig"
charters are not public schools
adding further to the already two tiered system we have in Boston
the charter school movement should spend their time and their talents trying to fund their schools
"if you want them, fund them!"
"not take money from my child to give to your child"
Yvonne...missed it...
the diversion of funds has disadvantaged high need communities in the Commonwealth
payments have risen dramatically
has risen from 54 to 70: average of 3 per year
hundreds of millions of dollars in public school dollars and facilties funds
she's citing the millions diverted
no new charter schools until you fix the reimbursement
Mary Jo Heztel: have been a critic of public urban education and have sought to transform it for the better
question is if a rapid expansion of charter schools is the answer
depends on our vision of public education:
are they equitable? No
are they democratic and locally accountable? No
do charter schools help bring us together or increase the struggle for private gain? the latter
Donna Givens (?) Boston Busing and Desegregation Project
challenges to learn about the history of busing and the current struggles around community education
"have led me to believe me that more charter schools are not the answer for black children and other children of color"
questions that were asked around desegregation
until we address patterns of systemic racism, we'll come up with new schemes that fail to address
Lisa Guisbond, Citizens for Public Schools
in McDuffy enforce upon the Commonwealth the duty to educate ALL children
the record shows that this isn't what charter schools are doing
don't blame parents looking for the best for their children or young idealistic teachers
hold elected leaders accountable for setting policy that equitably serves all children
Ruth Rodriguez: member of the Governor's Readiness Task
"I wonder if you think about this...it's all about the test!'
intent was to continue desegregation; our schools are more segregated than before busing
business has choices, instead of putting the money into those schools
"isn't there a problem when legislators are asking, 'Don't you want to go to a good school?'"
"The choice should be between a great school and another great school."
particularly appeal to my people, Latinos, ELL's not being in charter schools
being returned in large numbers to public schools in large numbers before MCAS

Parent of a son in Roxbury public school:
we wanted to give our son the best chance at an A+ education
"we moved here and we love it, best decision ever"
we researched all the option when it was time to sign up son
"best school for the budding genius that we have"
applied to quite a few schools in the area
"we were offered a feast and we were given crumbs"
"it's a fantastic school but it doesn't have what my son needs"
if all the schools were up to par, we wouldn't be having this fight
another parent: closure of part of her son's school
father "always believed high quality education was a right, not a privilege"
parent asking why some children are being bused two hours via METCO to get a better education
cites Dover's per pupil funding vs Boston's
and this is why it's deceptive to do that...Boston's needs are higher than Dover. I would sure HOPE that Boston's per pupil is higher than Dover's!

Peisch just called to limit testimony to two minutes to major protest from the crowd

Black Educators' Alliance for Massachusetts
speaking in opposition to raising cap on charter schools
"has stood steadfast in its advocacy for equity"
Prince Hall petitioned Legislature for access to public schools and was denied (in 1700s)
today we appeal to seriously consider if this state is educationally sound
both schools are not positioned to reach all students and get them to their full potential
charter schools exacerbate this inequity
"charter schools have to do work on attrition and retention" but get a pass
here to dispel the perception among some legislators that all communities of color support the expansion of charter schools
cannot have choice on back of public schools that serve all children
charters have admitted they aren't equipted to serve all children
publicly we hear about the need for more seats in charters, but hear very little about all the empty seats in charters
"where is the fairness in all of this?"
citing Bump that the waiting list is undependable
"no mention is made that Boston Public Schools and other schools also have waiting lists"
support S 326 for moratorium
"if our mayor was here calling for the lift of the cap, shame on him! ...What he should be doing is being up here calling for support for Boston Public School students"

Brendan Walsh, Salem School Committee
experienced educator (35 years? I think?)
"let me speak to you as an old social studies teacher here...occasionally when you're campaigning for your seats, you speak of needing to have your communities' needs represented"
Governor is more distant from your constituents than you are
there is no check on the power of the unelected Board of Education to create charter schools at their whim
peculiar to Massachusetts and only a few other states
note that S485 does not limit the number of charter schools
should be judged on its own merits; "not on this cap, no cap stuff"
perhaps charter advocates could win approval by town meeting or the city council...or by ballot...
"Perhaps the Commissioner believes he knows better than the local communities" about what is right on education
"those who vote for H485 will be doing just what you told us you were going to do when you ran for your seats: represent those of us who put us there"

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights: look at discipline records
when kids are kicked out, pushed out, shamed out of schools
disparities in school discipline in Boston: BPS: 6.6% Charter schools: 17.3%
most were out of school, not in school
"strong and robust public system that can serve all of children"
support a cap that provides essential funds that allow our districts to succeed particularly for the children who have not been able to do succeed in our charter schools
represent parents of ELL students across the Commonwealth
2010 law was very clear that charters were supposed to represent their communities
talking about a range of kids (in ELL and sped)
most not taking their ELL kids overall, taking virtually NO kids who need the most help and cost the most money
Brooke Charter had 2% year before last year; 0% last year
Mystic Valley claims to have none: got a call from a parent whose child is at that school; can't even get them tested
Mystic Valley considering that they don't want ELL classes; if they do "those people in Everett might hear about it"
parent told that they can quietly withdraw their child from a charter without a record...or they'd kick her out with a record

occupational...I think
Healthy Schools inititave
air quality and teaching and learning conditions in schools
"we still face an uphill climb to properly maintain and rebuild our schools"
slashing budget with not enough resources
charters "only worsen the problems for maintenance" and resources
"safe and healthy for all"

former Mystic Valley Charter teacher (?) : school has an inherit conflict of interest
students held back, parents get frustrated and pull their kids out
teachers dedicated but without training
many students spent every year with a new teacher, most of which had never taught before
"I've become increasingly frustrated with an educational system" that makes it more disparate
certainly don't need more, and those we have need a close examination
"unleash the power of our public schools"
parent of a Boston charter school senior and former charter school teacher herself here to implore cap to get cap
until there is more accountability...elimination of the school to prison pipeline
"expanding the experimental charter school model is not the panacea"
"many parents can't afford to lose a day's pay" to come testify
cites private funding of those here today to lobby for cap lift
many charter school teachers are young white teachers
remembering her own time as a teacher in a charter leads to feelings of nausea
need to focus on educational equity nationally
"we don't get a do-over with our children"
"black children matter; black parents matter; black teachers matter"
Chang-Diaz: wouldn't support a cap lift until changes?
would you rather that we craft a bill that lifts the cap addresses the funding formula OR we do nothing?
response: so many issues need for accountability and transparency
when you have a set of schools that can push out students, that's the system
retention rates are low, but your graduation rates and test rates are higher
think that charter chools have critically failed black and brown teachers
"can't voice their opinion and there's no one protecting them"
kids who were threatening suicide, they were so broken down by the way they were treated
"you don't know until you get there, and then one you're there you feel like you have no other option"

Pioneer Valley charter: supporting innovation in charter schools
was intent in orginal law
speaking Mandarin

Springfield and Worcester teachers' union president
Len Zalauskas: has a son in Worcester Public Schools
"I think Governor Baker doesn't know that much about education"
"if you go into a charter school and you leave, you go into another charter school, you don't go back to the public schools"
Washington case that charters were found unconstitutional
"we have to do something about it"
several technical deficiencies in how we work charter schools
one is foundation budget
Tim Collins: very concerned about us going to a two tiered school district
a district that doesn't deal with the needs of all the children and one that doesn't have the resources that are needed to deal with their students
hat off to parents of charter schools who were here today: "there isn't a single public schools that has every single parent as involved as that"
"shame on charter schools for counseling their kids out"
if a child is in public schools and develops a problem, it's up to us to deal with it
pushing kids out because they may jeopardize your graduation rate or your test rates "is unconscionable"
"usually I hear it's the civil rights issue of our time...but how could they say that when they don't want to deal with every child?"
kids facing these challenges "are resiliant"
"give us the resources and we can lift these kids up"
"that foundation budget you all are looking at is the key"
"these are OUR children; they're ALL our children"
"we're number one...and we're the highest density of unionized educators in the nation"
"we haven't kept up the safety net"
"we have to pony up the money that THEY need to survive and thrive"

parent: support for S326, moratorium
have had children in about every option out there
third and fourth generation to live in Roxbury
generational poverty and parent involvement
leave of required parental involvement in charters was enormous
pressure on parents to host monthly teacher appreciation brunches
hard sell to lobby for charter schools
"I'd really like to know how much they spend on lobbying"
moratorium to "really see what's going on"
warning from Louisiana: we've had charter advocates get everything they wanted and needed
mother of two public school graduates, one before the conversion, one after
charter schools were supposed to help the demographic that my son falls in
"the focus here may be on expanding charter schools rather than monitoring and oversight"
"we have had children pushed out"
"have had a federal complaint and a federal lawsuit" around children with high needs
"have displaced over 5000 children in New Orleans"
"the Commonwealth is a high performing state as it is; you DON'T need to follow anything of what's going on in Louisiana"
state has lowered the cut rate on test score passage
crime rate has gone up

Karen Kast-McBride and Tabi Kast-McBride
Tabi: current student at Tech Boston Academy: impact of charter schools on my education as a student with a disability or a mental illness
public schools offer testing, diagonosis, programs
"currently I go to a school that offers a program for students who are emotionally fragile"
"We're not dumb either...
charter school students say don't have programs for students like me
ignore issues or punish them for their disability
"will not make it better or go away"
Eventually, they tell them they can't go there anymore
"and no one punishes these schools for that they do to students, and that's really wrong"
"I was really upset to hear that the Governor wants to have more charter schools"
asking you to keep the cap on charter schools
"charter should have to follow the same laws and get the same amount of money"
Karen: true choice...is it really choice if it's only for those who do well on tests or don't have special needs?
"This isn't a choice; it's segregation"
"our public schools are bleeding"
would be happy to explain how charter schools are getting 3 to 4 times the amount of funding per pupil than regular BPS
"I was told to not put in an application for my daughter when I told them she might have a disability"
selective enrollment, pushout, before we even think of lifting the cap
"asking that we address issues before we even think of this"
"last year, your colleagues promised to address all of these issues before even thinking of lifting the cap; I'm asking you to keep this promise."
need to go further than just an active education model

BPS parents! Mary Pierce, BPS parent, talking about charter school wait list
years and years, I was on a charter school list and no one asked if I wanted to stay on it
"Applying to a school is not a political act"
charter sector is constantly pushing for a greater and greater market share
attrition as resources are lost
"I don't know if you know what it's like to be in a district that's in a constant state of destruction"
parent of BPS for 25 years"sick and tired"
opposed to lift in cap on charter schools
BPS budget is similar to all our own budgets: "rob Peter to pay Paul, someone loses"
"I am my child's primary teacher. One thing I know has to stop is segregation."
"the children that they can't service are then sent back to public schools"
this process has caused citywide IEPs
students in daughter's class were being disruptive; students brought back from charter schools
domino effect: "Boston has always held to this standard of teaching all children"
"my main concern is for their (her children's) future"
money leaving public schools
"everybody should be concerned...those children are going to take care of all of us in nursing homes"
Beth Nolan: BPS graduate, son in BPS
awaken our advocacy "now we are called the opposition, and they monopolize the money"
"our own Governor, a graduate of public schools, could not articulate what practices were happening" that were innovative
I served on a site council and were held as a high standard of transparency
have to ask parent who testified earlier: who provides the services to all the students? the public schools do, not the pseudo-private schools
Kenny Jervis: many gains of charter schools come at expense of public schools
harsh economic situations in the homes and looking for renewed economic opportunity
charters will not bridge divide
provide universal early education, provide excellent curriculum (that includes everything), support staff, after school programs, and libraries
response to Chang-Diaz's question early: a moratorium is not doing nothing; time to deal with issues
were here fifteen months ago when you defeated the cap lift; I am grateful
you said then that you'd deal with issues before going back
you asked then "what is the end game?"
I see now the end game of public education and it petrifies me

testimony now being read for someone who has left:
student who was a new immigrant..."teachers were amazing and invested a lot of time in me"
work for city planning and engineering and facilities department
here to defend public education for all
punish kids whose parents are not as involved
solutions are more teachers and classroom supplies
challenge people to organize for our poor communities

Heshan Weeramuni: support moratorium
parent of two BPS students
"one of those often-invoked immigrant parents whose children are trapped in failing schools"
his line is better than that...I missed something in there
Let me clear: my choice is the Boston Public Schools
I'm not alone
strong demand for BPS seats
"public school system..is being made to fail"
present inequities in funding are so marked that even Governor Baker invoked it
quoting former superintendent can envision a day when all chapter 70 funding goes to charters
need to stabilize our public schools
need a moratorium until we can find an equitable system that doesn't undermine choice of majority of parents who choose public schools

BPS students: very serious topic, so ask that all technology not be used while I am speaking
speaking on behalf of another student
went to charter for middle school: got in trouble even if you dropped your pencil
for punishment, had to copy entire 100 page code of conduct
keep students in school helps stop the school to prison pipeline
should be accountable to the same standards of every other school in Massachusetts
majority pushouts are young black and Latino men
senior at Boston Latin Academy: was counseled out of my charter school in 6th grade
stayed but eventually made it back into public schools
have been shaped positively by public schools
will be a first generation college student: "and it's because of Boston Public Schools" that she is where she is
senior in BPS, was at a charter in Cambridge
got demerits for minor things like dropping a pencil, asking to go to the bathroom
suspended for two days for slamming a door
with no people here, the fans are LOUD...sorry for what I'm missing
cites chapter 222 for keeping kids in schools and learning
"places kids actually want to go to rather than a prison"
Peisch comments that chapter 222 also applies to charter schools
students point out that they are not held accountable for that

AND HEY! then I got to testify!
and we're getting some testimony here regarding a report coming out from the Annenburg Foundation, which I will look up.
And EIGHT HOURS after we started, that's a wrap. 

1 comment:

Kevin said...

I don't know if the canonize School Committee members or not, but you deserve sainthood, Tracy,for sitting through this and for sharing the good, the bad and the ugly with your faithful readers. Thanks!