Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March Board of Ed: ESSA plan

Chester: will be submitting by Monday, April 3
have been through successive public comment periods
state plan "that we're obligated to submit" and is reviewed by federal government; becomes contract with fed that allows for federal grants
"is not a compliance document"
"reaffirms our constitutional commitment to provide all students with a world-class education"
"very much about our work in Massachusetts"

will be able to update and make revisions to as well
"want to make sure that learning remains the core focus of our schools"
many comments on accountability system
early literacy, middle grade math, broad liberal arts curriculum, chances for career exposure

not overlooking schools where young people are not learning some of the core essentials for what they need in life
"the more indicators you look at, the more robust the look you're getting"
but no single indicator "drowned out by noise"
make a difference between "what gets rolled up and what gets reported"
range of indicators
"at its core, focused on academic performance" (for which, read test scores)
"align all accountability for districts, schools, teachers, and students"

Sagan: more risk than opportunity; "certain amount we have to do to comply"
Governors ask to see it but don't have to sign it
have to understand where policy and things are changing
"maintain Massachusetts' control over our own excellence"
McKenna: did I not hear that they were going to push this to the states...defer in a way different than in the past? That's what I've been hearing
"no one at the department...only two people, and they're holdovers in their department"
Sagan: require that the Department has to submit it, the Board does not have to vote on it
Johnston: focus on excellence and equity
refine, bring further coherence, deepen
students access to effective educators, school-level expenditure reporting
public comment with a photo of the colorful postcards the arts community sent

ah, and things that are included in report cards "which are another form of accountability"

and in responses:
Chester: pieces that are required to be in accountability
Curtin: these are in statute
weight on academic achievement, student growth in elementary and middle; graduation rate, ELL growth, and school quality measure

and this:
and then they gave an example of tiers
All schools will have targets; with have performance targets based on their own performance
changing thinking on district accountability; districts NO LONGER tied to lowest performing school; districts as an aggregate
"public reporting of data serves as a form of accountability"

intent is to convene a working group on how to report out on other measures

"two forms of accountability out there" available at the end of the 17-18 school year

Peyser; endorses plan, articulation of work we're already doing
direction Commissioner already doing
not "a decision point about what accountability is going to look like"
"what it really is is a framework for work that is yet to come"
"I think we have plenty of flexibility in what we have to do"
"can go back to the federal government and seek an amendment"
think submitting now make sense: takes advantage in early stages of administration
"what we want to do with as little constriction or constraint of what we want to do"
sending as clear a signal as we can to the field

Doherty: "have no doubt that it will be submitted on April 3, even though the majority of people in the field thought we should wait"
"I'm not sure if I'm wasting my breathe"
"very strong feeling in the field" that this is the wrong direction
regrettable that there is such a strong divide between the field and the department
"strong resistance and resentment that schools will primarily be judged by student test scores"
"there'll be a bottom twenty percent; there is always a bottom twenty percent"
"They get labelled."
"We all know where these twenty percent schools are going to be located. Poverty matters."
"and then the Betsy DeVoses and Donald Trumps will come in and convince people that they need vouchers and charter schools"
"A lot of ways for us to evaluate schools besides test scores"

Moriarity: will support
not an advocacy of the status quo "and in a lot of ways this feels like a status quo document"
"left the outcomes stagnant particularly at the early grades"
on rating system, "take it on myself to see if they're teaching third graders to read effectively"
bothered me to see chronic absenteeism as low
"there really is an alignment between early literacy and absenteeism"
gathering data but what are you doing with it
students ending up in the juvenile system for truancy
"lots of other more proactive ways of intervening"

Stewart; part of an ongoing conversation
reviewing by peers
McKenna notes that science things cannot be reviewed by anyone who has received National Science Foundation grants
Stewart: is there a period of time by which the US Ed is supposed to respond?
Curtin: think it's 120 days
Chester: US Ed has committed to expediting
Senator Alexander stressed in DeVos confirmation
Stewart: use of days of lost instruction rather than chronic absenteeism
school to prison pipeline and impact on educational policy
taking arts education off of indicator list "is disappointing"
if it's going to go on the report card, the report card needs work
thoughts animated by comments today on giftedness
so much of what we do is dealing with deficits; instead use of an abundant model
"just because it's different doesn't mean it's going to be deficient"
"how we can help all kids in the equity in which we're committed to"

Noyce: in view of uncertainty of what we can expect from US Ed
"it's our plan; they're probably not going to give us a lot of trouble about it"
"fully understand not making access to the arts since we didn't have a way of measuring...think we have to find a way of making report cards better, the website better, and more exciting to look at"
sensitive to parent concern on giftedness
"don't know that there's a state regulation answer to that"
would like to see district responsibility to all students with special needs

McKenna: on dropout rate
a lot of kids who got bored, or who got bullied
there is the stereotype of kids who dropped out because they were failing; some do because they're really smart
absenteeism as a contribution to third grade reading
used to have programs for training gifted and talented teachers; have courses, but don't have programs
"I don't think the feds are going to care what we do here, so in some ways, the shackles are off and we can do what we'd wanted."
Think legislation will change; wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of this go away
open up "really think about different kids of assessment"

Sagan says this isn't the time to debate differences
"once you put it in, it's much harder to take it out"
"important that we can live with what we have here"

Chester: think people will be surprised by how seriously schools take what's on their report cards
Sagan: measured in a way that provides clarity and not more confusion

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