Monday, January 22, 2018

State Education meetings this week

and also my schedule!
DESE, amusingly, has posted a single agenda for all the of the upcoming meetings. Just keep scrolling! 

Tomorrow, we have the annual joint meeting of the Board of Higher Ed with the Board of K-12 Ed. That's down at Bridgewater State starting at nine am. The joint meeting includes discussion on:
  • an update on the early college initiative, which was the focus of much of last year's meeting. The short version is "staff from the DHE, ESE, and EOE are providing support for partnerships that will be submitting a final application for designation" with the applications due February 9.
  • an informational presentation (I'd call it) on educator preparation, or "where do teachers come from?" You can see from the chart in that presentation that Bridgewater State remains, far and away, the largest state producer of teachers in the state; I assume they also have data for non-state colleges and universities, which may be of less relevance to the Higher Ed board but would be interesting to see.
  • a report on increasing access to high school computer science
Something that I thought we'd see that isn't here is something on the new MCAS, particularly as that's supposed to be aiming towards grade 12 preparation. Perhaps because we haven't done a high school round yet?

After the joint meeting, the K-12 board meets on its own (scheduled for 11:15; just enough time to rearrange the chairs). On that agenda, following opening comments:
  • an update on the Commissioner search. It will be interesting to see if any additional information is offered in this update: how many, for example, were actually interviewed. 
  • there is a discussion and proposed vote to solicit public comment on the revised history and social studies standards. If you have questions about that, if you scroll to the bottom, the backups are already posted (hurray!). 
  • there is the promised discussion coming on weight within the accountability standards. Note the following from the memo:
    Our priorities should be reflected not only in the indicators included, but also in their weighting in the calculation. Furthermore, the results should provide a clear picture of school performance in order to help us direct our limited resources for assistance to schools that most need them...any change in this ratio will affect both our classification of schools for accountability purposes and our calculation of the lowest performing ten percent of districts for charter school purposes.
  • There is an update on the students enrolling from Puerto Rico; as of January 5, 2440 students have enrolled.
  • There is an update on the two new charter schools applying for charters; note that Acting Commissioner Wulfson has, as yet, not made any recommendations regarding these. He will do so before the February meeting.
  • Bentley Academy, a Horace Mann in Salem, is asking for a waiver of the state requirement that its accountability plan be approved by its collective bargaining unit, which has declined to take action. 
  • Paulo Freire Charter in Springfield is being recommended for a conditional renewal.
Presented for the Board's information, but not action are: education laws enacted in 2017; recommendations on integrating student supports;  a report on dual enrollment 2008-15; a report on efforts to upgrade school technology; a report on grants; and charter matters approved by the Commissioner.

On Wednesday, Governor Baker will release his FY19 state budget.

On Thursday, the Rennie Center is doing their annual Conditions on Education in the Commonwealth; the speaker this year is former Secretary of Education John King. The hashtag is #COE2018.

On Friday, beginning at nine, the Board of Education will interview the three finalists for Massachusetts Commissioner of Education. The interviews are at the Omni Parker House in Boston and are open to the public. They will also be livestreamed. 

On Monday at noon back in Malden, the Board of Education will meet to vote for a new Commissioner. 

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