Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mass Board of Ed February meeting: opening remarks

and the agenda is here
posting as we go once it starts
I suspect we'll be hearing a lot of public testimony today due to the topics at hand

Commissioner Chester: Dorchester Collegiate did not appeal their vote, so "it's done...it is complete"
Studies (I'll link if I can find them) included updates from teachers' perspectives on standards implementation in five states
teachers reporting that they have taken new standards adopted and have made substantial changes in their approaches to instruction and curriculum
Test comparisons study what elements of MCAS and PARCC are stronger (than the other)
Eagle school: approved by DESE for education
coordinating with early ed and DCF
"have been very engaged in it"
applying for a competitive grant through JP Morgan Chase "New Skills for Youth"
$35M to it
up to 25 states receiving up to $100,000 in first phase; second phase of $650,000 for up to three years for some of those
College Board releasing the AP exams from 2015; "The results for Massachusetts will be quite, quite positive"

Public comment:
New Charter school testimony up first:
Senator Brady (Brockton), Rep Dubois, Cassidy, running for Rep: "here to speak against the proposed New Heights Charter School"
"have been through this many times"
overwhelming calls against
"Brockton Schools have done everything right"
"no need for" this school
Brockton among the lead plantiffs in suits against state on funding
Brockton had a charter that failed
internationally recognized by what they've been doing
lists range of successes across the system
"no elected official in the state oversees...charter schools"
Cassidy: "I'm just totally against it"
Rep. Cronin: "we are not hear to debate the merit of charter schools and the role they should or should not serve in Massachusetts"
ask that they adhere to the regulations
"If you do, you cannot properly vote for this charter."
fails to meet requirements of regulations: demonstration of support for charter school in community
"The demand for this proposed charter school simply does not exist."
very risky proposition for this Board to take
"they do not want this charter school; they want increased funding for their public schools."
fails to offer an alternative program which does not exist in Brockton
"no evidence that this untested program will have" greater success in preparing students for college than Brockton High
92% of Brockton High graduates go onto college
lacks required support, lacks alternative proposal
"those who seek increased charter schools: this will be a poor reflection of your mission"
would undermine the very mission that you are required to uphold
Rep. Dubois: rush to privatize and undermine public education is only going to hurt our children

Walker, from New Heights
third time before you, started in Fall River first year
last year did not have some things that needed to be in place
this year working with EdWorks; met with Massasoit Community College
outreach to parents: "our response has been awesome"
have over 600 applications
have a transportation gap: committed to getting students there from Randolph and Taunton
language didn't capture inclusiveness, working on that
"confident that we'll provide a highly successful charter school"

Madeloni, MTA,
testify against both charters
if you approve "will begin down the slippery slope that Springfield and others are already on"
charter schools serving Springfield don't reflect ELL, sped, foster children, low income
"resegration of district schools...civil rights of our time"
would further destabilize Springfield public schools
using public funds for public schools should be coming from leadership
Baker budget undermines further: slashes funding on second & third year; ignores FBRC; does not increase at same rate as funding
Peyser came out against Fair Share amendment
"nothing less than shameful"
"strike a blow for quality public schools for all"

Kathleen Smith, superintendent, Brockton Public Schools
ask them to reject application for New Heights
why would you approve a charter school when there is no need?
why secondary when we win awards for success in secondary school?
why approve when there is no demand?
"Hired outsiders do not constitute community support"
why approve when there is little more than lip service for varied needs?
"we of course will continue to serve the 500 homeless students....we will continue to serve the English Language Learners...we will continue to serve the students with disabilities...and we will now do so on a decreasing budget"
"essentially a moral question"
why approve a charter that hurts the many?

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson, chair of the Education Committee:
ask that they support Boston Green Academy, but reject third condition
reject additional seats in charters
in BPS:

  • For 48%, English is not their first language;
  • 20% have disabilities;
  • 86% are students of color;
  • 72% have high needs;
  • Over 3,000 are homeless.
"those who chose BPS will be impacted financially...$119M going to charters vs $93M going to BPS"
will hurt early learning,
NAEP rank as highest of large urban schools
"BPS faces a daunting deficit" of $50M
this will add $19.5M to it, not covered by ch 70 or by reimbursement
notes that exam schools also have a "long waiting list"
underfunded charter reimbursement nor chapter 70 will cover that
speaks of a student at Charlestown High, asking to save Diploma Plus program he went through
"I would be either a drug dealer, a gang member, or dead...now at Northeastern University"
persistence numbers, 6 years post graduation: charter schools, 42% graduates from college; BPS, 52%

"We must be honest here. Luis is not the type of student served in almost all charters. BPS, focused on the achievement gap, was the only place he found hope. Please don’t dim that hope for the other 57,000 children who choose BPS, and are my charge, and yours."
"should support our public schools and do right by them"
Boston School Committee chair Michael O'Neil: highlight relevant financial implication: $145M
charter school reimbursement line has not been adequately funded $28M under for Boston
have a proposal before to expand secondary charters
 BPS has a number of high quality high schools with room
have to cut $13M from this year's budget: cuts across many of our schools
"cuts that will impact the vast majority of our schools"
$500,000 per secondary schools
"Every time you provide more seats...you create a situation that is considerably more difficult for the majority of students"
cites the ways in which Boston is using best practices: all students, reform of discipline practices, etc
"I note that many of our best practices have not been implemented in reverse"
think of impact on every one of 57,000 students

parents from Brooke Charter and Neighborhood House Charter
"quality education must persist"
"the community, the stories, the love"
"not just about high stakes testing; it's about forming citizens"
"investment in the future of our children and our community"
"Brooke has been able to do so much more for less"
"I would prefer to have my child attend a successful high school rather than one that's just improving"
"can't even begin to describe to you what Neighborhood House has meant to us"
disputes disciplinary..."he's never been suspended...never been made to feel that's he's a problem"
"I don't want my kids going to a school that is improving. I want them in a school with quality that already exists."

Peggy Wiesenberg: parent, Boston: parent of three Boston Public Schools graduates
urge them to vote no on proposed amendment to Brooke Charter and to Neighborhood House
"these chartered elementary schools are not simply requesting to add seats of like kind"
radical redesigned: new K-12 districts
"inopportune time for Board to approve" parallel systems
greater alignment of college and career readiness
ten year facilities and master planning process
"Gates-funded Boston Compact"
"not the time for two members to do an end run"
seeking to expand to their maximum enrollment
"for credibility, I suggest that the Board should hit the pause button"
"I think what is happening is mission creep"
"what you are considering today is radically different" than what was considered in 1993 Act

parent testifying in favor of expansion of Pioneer Charter in Everett
"they push him ahead and he can do anything"
has urged others to apply
"hopeful that others will have the same opportunities as my family"

MLK Charter, Springfield chair : "scholars feel safe and love, and are polite and eager to learn"
thanks Commissioner for support
ask Board for support
Principal joined in 2015 "understand necessary components of an academic program"
all necessary components to make difference and "continue our improvement"

Boston Green Academy Horace Mann headmaster: charter renewal
have met or partially met all eight conditions
"most importantly, our academic" results continue to improve
glad to have support of Boston community
"know that we are not satisfied as a school"
"so many people have given so much to support our schools"

Beth Anderson, Phoenix (which runs alternative programs)
thank for five year recommended renewal
"don't just graduate with meaningless credits"
"and it's messy for folks at DESE to sit in that with us as we figure out how to do that better"
"Phoenix needs to serve even more students"
"can figure out how to scale high risk kids"
"alternative accountability and assessment system...that resonates with non-traditional learners"
she's proposing to work with DESE on creating such a system, but no details offered

virtual schools  (Greenfield up for renewal)
experiment: new
describes a "flipped" bell curve: "do not have mass of typical students in the middle"
know why parents seek out a school like ours
conclude that our staff is doing "phenomenal work" with students
comparison only by gradespan, not by type of students "calls for a need for a greater understanding of virtual schools"
Tech Connections Academy : 980 students
advocating my entire life for chances for every student
situations that vary from family to family
"high quality education" regardless of where it takes place


No comments: