You can find the bill here. My summary is here. You can find amendments here; my cheat sheet is here.
updating once we start. The Senate President just gaveled them in and is doing recognitions.
The gallery is filling up; among those here, Secretary Peyser! Not kidding.
just regular business so far. They have the doors to the balcony open.
AS OF NOON: Senate stands in recess...and we don't know for how long...
2 pm: back in they come....more as anything happens. Rumors have been rife.
Senate minority asks for summoning of quorum
Spilka thanks for working group, bipartisan caucuses, discussion of education
"many many hours" working on bill, thanks staff
has been truly shaped by all of you
took "charter school bill" as an opportunity
innovation for all of our students in the Commonwealth
"this is important, this is critically important"
interest on part of public and charter school parents who have an interest in getting this passed
unique opportunity for us
potential to ensure success of all of our students
success for all of our schools
education funding formula stands as now
at time was considered a very important step forward
but was almost immediately outdated
"findings" of commission "were jarring"
Commission laid out a set of recommendations that would address these issues
process over seven years of fully funding recommendations (in bill)
proportionally increases charter cap along with funding implementation
a little more than $1B over seven years for FBRC recommendations, as against charter ballot Q, which would cost $1.5B for 4% of kids
"that is the choice"
replacement for district impact funding: 100, 50, 25
some have said that this is an excuse not to fund foundation budget
"this issue is very personal to me" served on school committee
have not changed the formula to reflect the changes in funding
"this is the last piece to me of why I came to this Legislature"
"I will work my hardest to implement (recommendations) because it benefits all of our kids"
"we need to do this"
need to show that we are able to do a true education reform bill
many pieces throughout to faster collaboration
reforms some discipline practices and attrition practices
"give all our children an opportunity to rise together"
"build a stronger, more resilient school system across our state"
"ask that you vote yes and take that chance" to help all of our children in the Commonwealth
Jehlen: "I don't agree with everything in the bill and not everything I want is in it" but we've come a long way
"not all charter schools are the same"
much of the expansion recently has been in the no excuses model of charter
trying to get back to original idea of charters
"want charter schools to meet the same standards as districts schools"
ask that they include parents, teachers, students, on board
deal with discipline and attrition
"most important thing in this bill is the positive direction"in implementing FBRC
first action taken in State House on FBRC
"since 2001, controlled for inflation, ch70 has actually gone down"
shows lowest quintile spending less on regular education
"focus on attention and money" on all kids, not on a small number of schools
"it's our job to set priorities"
"hope that this bill is adopted"
Wolf: "unless we fully fund the foundation budget...we will be shortchanging all the students and all of the children in the Commonwealth"
take serious all children
look at best practices since 1993
"what is the balance between state mandates and local"
"make sure that they're responsible" with freedoms
represents "the glass is 2/3 or 3/4 full"
learned that Commonwealth charter schools are not the only schools of innovation in the Commonwealth
fully invest in that in the years ahead
"there is so much good in this legislation moving forward"
not just work for 4, 6, 8% of children, but all children in the Commonwealth
hope we vote affirmatively on Rise Act
"visionary piece of legislation"
NOTE THAT A NUMBER OF THEM ARE ON HOLD: SKIPPED NUMBERS ARE INTENTIONAL
Taking up Flanagan's amendment 3 first on procurement first
need to be sure funds are used responsibly and transparently
amend 4: NO
amend 7: Lewis specific on ELL and sped
amend 8: access to MSBA funding for charters
Rodrigues explains amend: NO
amend 9: opt out lottery
L'Italien: removes opt out and keeps opt in
concerned about deception, access to data, "these are major issues that need to be considered"
suggests lottery be weighted instead
Jehlen asks to speak to amendment: legislating for 351 cities and towns is difficult
another attempt to be sure charters educate the same children public schools do
"I think this is a good amendment, but I think that" this is difficult
L'Italien: ensure that "high risk" isn't used a loophole for more charters
removes broad authority for "high risk" definition
11 and 12 withdrawn
amend 13: unified enrollment
Chang-Diaz: "a pretty darn technical amendment"
how regionals participates in unified enrollment
amend 14: attrition
Chang-Diaz reasons why a student leaves a school
amend 15 dyslexia
amend 17 Tarr NO
amend 20 Tarr
making sure that there are no prizes for applying or enrolling
recess and back
amend 22 NO
Rodrigues on the substitute bill: very similar to what the Governor has filed
up to 12 new charters a year
Wolf: stand in opposition
"this amendment if passed would be reckless"
Jehlen: would eliminate charter cap in 72 communities
"districts are labeled as low performing"
"I don't accept that test scores are the best measure" of success
growth a much better measure of success
no matter what you do "there will be a lowest 10%"
invites senators to look at list of lowest performing
quotes Churchill on democracy
"no taxation without representation"
Humason: "poor kids have a right to learn as well"
speaks in favor
Lewis: reflects what Governor has proposed as well as what is on the ballot in November
does not deal with what we know are the serious issues that we have seen over past 20 years in charters
"doesn't take into consideration very serious funding issues in our district schools"
disappointment that it takes such a narrow view of what our kids need to be successful
"one small piece of the education puzzle"
MA took giant step forward in 1993
should be looking at past 20 years...look at gaps
"has been my top priority as well to update the foundation formula"
standards should be part of the conversation about what we need to do about education
lists issues being dealt with in public schools
"that's the sort of conversation that I wish we were having in our state" social/emotional, wraparound services
today's bill doesn't go quite as far as I'd like, but "provides far more solutions" than amendment
ROLL CALL: (they're shouting their NO's here)
amend 24 Tarr charter working group
amend 25: NO
amend 26 NO
amend 28: special ed
Ross: "find it very short of what my communities need to sustain special education programs"
asks for a roll call
Jehlen: heard concern on special education across the state
districts were reimbursed more for special ed (prior to 1993) than regular ed
tried to push kids into district classrooms as part of Ed Reform
"hope amendment is not adopted"
L'Italien will vote in favor
looking back at previous five years, there's no chance for inflation
"no one would like better than I to see more of that funding come back in district for high quality program"
"let's be real about what the costs are"
Tarr: cannot believe that we would not unanimously endorse the proposal
has anyone gone to a school committee lately and not had this come up?
has been much discussion about every child
number in the term foundation budget is aspirational
"it was hoped that the number would go down"
special education enrollment is much higher than that which is currently in the foundation budget
"we leave behind us if we don't adopt this amendment one of the basic meat and potatoes things districts have to do"
"when we have that chance to say the simple thing...the actual kids that are in special education...we wouldn't say yes?"
hope we'll make the foundation budget accurate with regards to special education
Spilka: want to support Jehlen and vote no
"it sounds great to increase allotment for sped...bill already increases it"
that's why we asked the FBRC to review this
"I don't think we should just go in there and change it"
speaks of widespread agreement on sped on FBRC (not sure I'd agree with that)
should be working on implementing recommendations of FBRC
I don't have the full list in front of me, but definitely a split vote on this one
amend 28: FAILS on a vote of 17 to 18
amend 29: study of effective and efficient funding
amend 30: Humason on regional transportation
fully fund regional school
would not be cut by more than ch 70 cut
Tarr: roll call
amend 31: Chang-Diaz sped rates in line with FBRC recommendations
amend 32: innovation fund from O'Connor Ives
amend 33 withdrawn
amend 34: notice for discrepancy for attrition
amend 35: notice for discrepancy for suspensions
amend 36: alternative ed exception to attrition quotas
amend 37: NO
amend 38: NO
amend 39: waiver of suspension quota
amend 41: "we want to build a little forgiveness into the system"
remediation for not being in line on quotas
"limited flexibility" to Board of Ed
amend 42: eliminating meeting with local
"creates the possibility that a superintendent could refuse a face-to-face meeting"
"must make good faith efforts...but...if they are refused"
amend 44: paraprofessionals use
"charter schools have been very ingenious" in use of paraprofessionals
amend 45: paraprofessional use
amend 46: paraprofessional use
amend 51: Tarr on substitute bill
speaks of 37,000 students on waiting list (?)
have to answer people who signed ballot initiative
leaves completely unclear future of charters
doesn't believe there is a way that the FBRC recommendations are funded
Tarr says you can understand why "they" (local authorities?) would be a little skeptical
stability and security in funding
"make a declaration from this body this afternoon that we want innovation in all our schools"
and we're apparently veering into convention center
"identified funding source" is cutting (?) convention center
meeting about FBRC recommendations
"the task before the Senate has been described as 'nearly impossible'; maybe it is"
"encumber the ways the charters improve education" (describing Rise Act)
reference to Horace Mann...beginning of education...
Jehlen: ties increase of cap to increase in foundation budget
"don't keep one at the expense of another"
increase in charters over time has been enormous
"we have failed in this...we have not kept the bargain"
Jehlen cites Auditor's reports on wait list (saying that Tarr is incorrect on his number)
also cites wait lists for preschool, vocational schools
"cuts the main value of this bill out of it"
deMacedo rises in support of Tarr's bill
"We clearly have done something right...we have kept our commitment to education"
charters "made all schools better"
believe we should be proud of what we have done in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"
education the great equalizer for so many children
do it in a way that we can afford to do it
don't want to diminish the time (that others spent on bill)
Fattman: claims there is no source of revenue
"frustrated" cities and towns that can't fund
$200M a year that there's no funding for
put something on the table "that's a bit more modest"
language from 2014 (which the Senate rejected)
amend 51 NO
Republican caucus until 5:07
NOTE that they have been updating what has happened with amendments.
and they're coming back in (5:40)
amend 5 from Brady: NO
amend 16: ADOPTED
amend 18: ADOPTED
amend 19: NO
amend 43: impact analysis by DESE
"very searching impact analysis"
decided to move the responsibility for doing it to the state
"They've got the resources, they've got the data"
amendment moves responsibility to an entity with resources deep enough to touch it
amend 48 WITHDRAWN
Barbara L'Italien on amend 49: ethics commission draw up regulations that there is a separation between school committee and charter
"something that happened three years ago"
amend 52: Chang-Diaz
"I'm the queen of boring amendments today"
in addition to districts having funding appropriated, the districts fully receive it
amend 6: Level 3 schools
amend 1: local authority (from Senator Mike Moore)
Moore: asks that it be taken on yeas and nays
"I think this amendment goes right to the heart of the matter about charter schools; it's about choice"
allows school committee to vote on the approval of local funds being diverted to fund a charter school
state approval for a charter requires state funding for the charter
would only apply to school district they would be serving
"it gives the local municipality... the choice of not having their local taxes going to a charter school that they had no say in getting the local approval for"
Jehlen: in many states the authorizers are responsible for paying
over half of local funding comes from local funds
choice made my individual parents, and not by those charged with overseeing and allocating funding for local education
advocates for adoption
Pacheco: will withdraw amendment 40, supports amendment 1
language is now included
have had literally hundreds of people turn out and support their schools
many people on charter boards are not from community or region "or in some cases the state"
"have had failures as well"
overall goal of underlying bill, I can appreciate the intent of the people that are the proponents
"I gotta tell you, I still feel very uncomfortable, very uncomfortable on the underlying bill"
if it isn't in, he will vote against
if it is, "I'm not estatic" but sending a message that there are a lot of inequities in current set up
also figuring out how we're going to fund chapter 70 going forward
focus on all kids "and in my opinion, that's what we should be focusing on"
school committee and city councilors have to go before voters and explain their votes at election time
"to protect home rule, and yes, finances in part, but that's not the only thing we're talking about"
Brady: supports amendment
"very important that they give local control"
"and they still forced this charter school on us"
to standing ovation who just gave his first speech on the Senate floor
missed who is speaking now
"local control was a trap" Louise Day Hicks
"not always, but often discriminatory"
exclusionary zoning: very mixed results from local control
"none of my towns, which happen to have very popular schools, they just can't figure out how to amend their borders"
"this will be the first time in 40 years where a progressive majority have decided to remove authority from" the state
"not enlightened" to have authority revert back to local authority
"92% to 8%...I'm just looking for a small carve up"
"what we've done here is take note that innovative results are things that we can import into our district schools"
"to reserve at least a SPACE for innovation"
"I hope this amendment is defeated, I hope you take note that local control can go badly astray"
Eldridge: will support amendment
"out of very personal experience with the public schools in our districts and the charter schools"
Barrett invokes notion of local control of often preventing communities of color from gaining a great education
"no one way to address racial discrimination in this country"
most often racial disparities now have to do with disparity of resources
communities he serves have highest number of children of color and have charter schools
homogeneous student bodies in those charter schools
Marlborough losing millions of dollars to the charter schools
"I don't see anywhere NEAR the diversity that I see in the Marlborough public schools" in the charter
communities to the north Ayer-Shirley: formed a regional school district, voted for overrides, having been working hard to serve all students
Churchill quote applies "to all forms of democracy"
"I have serious concerns about charter schools in Massachusetts...at the end of the day, there is no better way to do it (improve schools), even if it takes a little longer" to do it locally
urge colleagues to vote yes
and caucus again
Ross: "I'm trying to understand...if the matter before us is calculated to allow school committee to disavow students that go to charter"
Moore: like private schools, if kids leave public schools, kids are no longer local authority's fiscal responsibility
charter can still go forward
negotiation and communication of local school district
"can come to an agreement so the charter can go forward"
Ross: what school committee would lose opportunity to shed cost of charter and pass it on to the state?
and no way to pay for it
"the state government would now control those schools in your community!"
(what does he think happens now?)
Pacheco: have had system of school committees making decisions for those under their charge
"throughout generations of this type of education in Massachusetts, what's the outcome? We're number one!"
"usually on this one, we hear from the Minority Leader on unfunded mandates! On this one, they get to decide"
state officials have been hearing these things for years "and they go into the recycling bin"
"a colleague earlier was speaking about civil rights...disability rights are civil rights...the ability to communicate...equal access to services in a system is something we should fight for for civil rights...racial issues, gender issues...are issues we should be deeply concerned about"
"when the president of the New England Council of the NAACP warned... that charter schools are creating a two-track education system"
cites mother who thinks it's interesting that many leading charter school expansion "are white, privileged, and leading investment boards"
differences across state in how this works out
"I happen to trust the system of democracy. I happen to trust the voters."
"to say that we don't trust the local school committee members? we don't trust the city council? I think that's an unbelievable statement to make!"
"how we fund it: who knows? ...but one part of education reform is tied to the other"
"have to make sure the K-12 system is funded"
Chang-Diaz: need to explain where I stand on this amendment
hope that no one thinks I'm voting for this as it's a good financial decision for the city of Boston; thinking about state as a whole
"not at all clear that the math on this amendment is a net positive to the city of Boston"
responding to Eldridge: what frustrates me about that argument
"don't pretend that the flaws that you have seen in charter schools in Massachusetts aren't fixed under this bill"
"let's not pretend that isn't dealt with under this bill"
mentioned that we're number one in education, "but you know what number we have under some of grade levels? Number 2...in gap between under resourced students"
"local control...set up innovation schools"
much argumentation at FBRC as to if School Committees would be given discretion to spend increase of funding coming through foundation
but if they continue to not serve particular populations, "we're just going to have a check and a balance"
best democracy involves checks and balances
"local districts don't always make right choices"
"we are asking families to trust systems that have failed them for generations, and if that doesn't work, we're asking them to trust us"
"this does not meet the test I have always set for myself...does this bill equally serve both of my children?"
urge that this amendment be rejected
Forry: know that educators are doing everything they can to educate our students
we were sent here by our constituents
"I am hopeful that my colleagues will support and vote in favor of the underlying bill, because there are critical changes"
"underlying bill is critical"
"it is about the education of the children of our Commonwealth"
Downing opposes amendment: praises underlying bill
have worked with local districts closely
"no matter effort of local districts...there's a kid in one of those districts, there's a kid in one of those schools who is not being served...and that is not necessarily a critique of the district"
art school in North Adams wouldn't have opened
believe underlying bill strikes the right balance
senate votes to stay in session beyond 8
amend 27 withdrawn
amend 50: ADOPTED
AND NOW THE BILL:
Wolf: went in for a conference and heard daughter had a learning disability and was struggling in school
ended up at Lighthouse Charter School
great education "but really lousy public policy"
"we have set it up such that the interests involved...and each one of them is looking at the bill and seeing what's wrong with it"
"everyone approached this with a fear of what would be wrong with it"
have learned from past 20 years
have tried to approach this to deal with what needs to be done
applied a lot of the qualifications
"really proud of this legislation"
"it's not that we tried to fail everybody; it's that we tried to serve everybody"
"hope it gets to see the light of day"
think that we were able to thread the needle
"ultimately, I do not think we need a ballot amendment on this"
"biggest argument against charter schools was I didn't see them dealing with all kids"
"private schools with public money"
"I had planned on voting 'no'"
"this debate has moved me, the amendment process has moved me, and looking at this bill, there are things in it that I can't vote against"
"instead of voting against charters, I'm voting for all kids."
"what do we do to serve all of our students"
addresses a lot of the issues we have seen over the past several years"
"those are real costs"
"what is the end game; where are we going here?"
creating parallel school systems
AND HERE WE GO!
On a vote of 22 to 13, the bill passes!