Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Massachusetts ESSA plan is posted, and I'm worried

The Board of Ed meets next Tuesday, and you might remember that this is the meeting at which they were scheduled to vote on the state's ESSA plan.
Except there's no vote scheduled: there's a "discussion."
Now I have no idea if this means that they aren't planning on rolling forward with submitting it for the April deadline (thus this would send it back for review again) OR if the Commissioner has discovered he doesn't need a Board vote and it just going to submit it regardless.
I will say that sending it in without a Board vote is contrary to the repeated stress on public consultation that ESSA is supposed to be giving us. It's a bad signal if the administration simply moves forward without some nod to public process, however flawed.

But there is a more worrying thing: I have yet to read the plan, but I have heard from more than one direction that the stresses placed on non-test scores has backed way off in this round. That "test scores ├╝ber alles" Secretary Peyser was pushing? It sounds as though it won out.
Thus if you were hoping/testifying/supporting a plan that was more well-rounded? That emphasized breadth of curriculum and access to the arts and social-emotional learning and basically anything other than "hey, good job on those standardized tests"? Not so much.

Again, I haven't reviewed it (I hope to), but if this is concerning to you, check out the plan and get in touch with the Board.

As always, more as I have it.

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