Tuesday, June 26, 2018

June Board of Education: accountability

Johnston passes off to Curtin:
backup is here
has been rooted in the ESSA plan and moving towards results being published in September
solicited public comment; received eight
series of issues commented on more frequently than others
"looked through those comments and have made some changes"
summarized as:
  • The lack of specificity about the accountability system in the regulations. 
  • The use of the percentile metric to rank schools relative to each other. 
  • The removal of the Conditions for School Effectiveness. 
  • A desire to include a formal period of public comment on any future proposed changes to the accountability system. 
  • The authority of the Board to designate a district as underperforming 
  • The authority of the Commissioner to modify the turnaround plan for an underperforming school. The Commissioner's authority to remove the chronically underperforming designation from a school that is within a district that the Board has designated as chronically underperforming.
"added clarity and specificity to regulations" 
have defined terms, more detail on annual performance reported out and how calculated
formal public comment period on annual changes
clarified authority of Commissioner in a turnaround plan
document that explains summary of component of regulation: includes indicators, weighting, subgroups, impact of participation, categorization of schools and districts
"nothing that has changed substantively of the system" just has been put in the summary document
DRAFT of single pager to explain accountability system

Moriarty: this seems to be screaming for a video explainer
Curtin: "we do have a narrated presentation, but if you don't have an hour and a half to kill..." agrees

Doherty: will vote against
"do believe the accountability system being proposed is not significantly different than the system we've been living under for two decades"
belive it has done far more harm than good
narrowing the curriculum to tested subjects
increasing the amount of time on test prep and test taking
placing students under a great deal of stress
labeling teachers and schools as failing based on student test scores
disrupting schools and students' lives by reassigning teachers and schools
"has been no improvement in narrowing achievement gap for past ten years"
Reville's comment on "ironclad correlation between socioeconomic level and achievement"
time to admit that poverty is the major factor in test scores
"schools are terribly underfunded, especially in our poorer communities"
"if the state can't provide these things...it's time to stop blaming teachers and start blaming the state"
"time to press the pause and the reset button"
would like to set a better course for the future

Stewart: appreciate Ed's comments, feel in many ways we need to go in a different direction
"have gone on record, asking for a moratorium of the state test for a few years" to examine impact
"agree with Ed on the funding problems we have...something has to be done"
"I'm not excited about this accountability system...it is not clear and actionable"
"We already know a lot about those districts and what they do need"
"it's not a very progressive document...it doesn't move us forward"

Fernandez: "I have to agree that I'm not as excited about the direction this is heading"
given that we all know we need to close achievement gaps
(to Riley) Where does this fit in on the listening tours to better inform what appears to be a pretty big decision we're making here?
change curve "we'll still have the mindset around the former accountability system...how do we monitor and make adjustments"
"still appreciate the work that we're trying to do...to bring a more fair way to assess our schools"

Peyser: strongly in favor of the work that's been done here
incorporates a broader set of indicators than prior set
focus on bottom quartile of students "is a dramatic shift"
performance categories: schools and districts paying appropriate attention to all of their children
individualization of performance expectations
strikes right balance between achievement and improvement
"this is not perfect; there's no such thing as a perfect accountability system"
balance of fairness and accuracy
"strikes appropriate balance"
"no one that I know...would argue that accountability creates school improvement...it creates information that can drive school improvement"
without accountability system, too easy for adults to turn a blind eye to groups of students
"outrageous and wrong" to blame accountability for these things
"I think this puts us on a more solid footing going forward"

McKenna: "I don't disagree with the Secretary in terms of accountability did point out some of the gaps we had"
"but what's happened...we never envisioned that these tests that we'd put in would develop into teaching to the test"
I'm afraid that those kids (the bottom quartile) will spend more time in test prep
if you're in a higher socioeconomic district, you don't spend time on test prep
"I'm not against accountability, I'm not against testing, but I sort of think it's gotten out of hand"
"I don't at all think that you folks didn't struggle with this"
"I do think that adding the lowest performing kids isn't the way to go, but I think it's going to again have unintended consequences"
losing opportunity for creativity and innovation in those schools
we did say we'd spend more time on music and art "and we don't"
"I am worried that if we approve this; it will be a long time before we do this again"
"wish we would give the new Commissioner the time to finish the listening tour"
"have opportunity to have input...to have six months to do this"
"If I were him, I would want it"

Sagan says Riley said to approve it
Sagan: "this is a very important vote for us"
believe our accountability system has been an important piece for decades
"we know what happened for centuries before"
we do?
"correlation is not causation and all too often" we say that it is
"test prep is not the same as learning the material that we test"
will vote yes, would ask others to do likewise, "I think that it would send a chaotic signal"

Riley: believe this needs to be done for ESSA requirements
had hoped to have time to convince the Secretary of the importance of growth over achievement
"there's certainly federal things that have to be done which is part of the reason that I'm going to ask you to endorse this today"
meritocracy only works if kids all start in the same place when they are 17 or 18 years old
"I am searching for the formula that get all our kids to the same place"
"have seen the test score phenomena and I believe the pendulum has swung a bit too far"
"when you talk about the secret formula, I believe that test scores is a part of it, but that isn't all of it"
"the kids who had preschool had better life outcomes"
"in the interim, I have advocated around"adopting this
"it does beg a bigger question in education: where are we going and how are we going to get it done?"
"If we can't figure this out in Massachusetts, who's going to get it done? I believe in Massachusetts exceptionalism"

ADOPTED: 7-2, Stewart and Doherty opposed

No comments: