Tuesday, November 20, 2018

November Board of Ed non-liveblog

Coming to you remotely and later from the livestream found here; the agenda is here
I had not previously noted that you can watch what we in Worcester call "the bullpen" (where the admininstrators sit) on the livestream
McKenna remotely participating; several people missing/late

Riley: notes joint meeting on early college process
health frameworks review now underway; meeting over next six months for recommendations on revised frameworks, which haven't been updated in twenty years; hope is for public comment this summer
informational memo on civics bill to Board...update on implementation coming
notes story on Helen Y. Davis charter school in Globe, that school was put on probation before his time (Sagan notes board had put on probation) and that they will be back before Board early next year

public comment: Robert Sandborn, representing Cape Cod Regional Tech and MAVA
opposing phasing out of engineering test for science MCAS
"seems counter-intuitive" given emphasis and direction of study
he has a section here of history of their opposition 
schools that choose to revamp their science departments to emphasize technology and engineering "took a leap of faith encouraged by the department"
speaks of last month's STEM week work (that includes engineering)
districts will have revamp for next year's class of ninth graders
Sagan: one of the questions we'll have to grapple with is you can't have a test for everything; what are your alternatives if this test goes away?
Sandborn: we have a limited amount of staff...we'll have to revamp...we'll have restaff or retrain
Sagan: why couldn't they couldn't teach what they are already doing and test biology?
Sandborn: I'd have to add staff...to prepare for biology MCAS
Peyser: technology engineering is all ninth graders?
Sandborn: started with ninth and tenth graders, have now shifted to ninth graders

...now CCRT testimony (still from Sandborn), Barnstable approved for Ch.74 program
only became aware there was an application for that because he heard from a state senator
 falling enrollment rates, 9-12 charter school, hyper-competitive environment
"incentivizing a comprehensive high school" to have
Barnstable "will apply for every program I don't have"
"alternative universe to Fall River" where Barnstable superintendent Mayo-Brown did this before
"I do not have a waiting list"
this is really interesting...a regional vo-tech fighting a municipal district's vocational program (that the vo-tech doesn't have)
"nothing more than a blatant attempt to keep students in the Barnstable district"
Cape Cod calls for a more nuanced decision making program
says other districts will follow "deregionalization"
"may want to address the access issue...may want to mandate students visit our school"
"if you don't want to help, please do no more harm"

The next public comment is going on about the dangers of wifi again, which has no basis in scientific fact, so you can see here and the links above for the science on that...

Budget item:
Bell and Wulfson up on this
Craven (who chairs the budget committee)
Commissioner and Craven were talking about Ch. 70
updates as we go through process "certainly January" once budget comes out
recommendations today to Secretary Peyser, priorities we'd like to see for the budget
"feel we have a pretty good package here"
"items the Board has consistently stood up for like ELL...STEM learning initiative...next generation assessment piece and the civics education"
"more targeted assistance might be deserving of discussion and how that goes into the Chapter 70 piece"
Bell: memo from the budget committee was done with a lot of effort from staff
Wulfson to provide an overview of where we're going on the foundation budget
"there's been a lot of interest in the field and moving forward even more rapidly than we have in the past couple of years on the recommendations of the 2015 Foundation Budget Review Commission"
"the Legislature's conference committee on this last summer did a lot of great work, but time ran out"
"we're thinking about where they left off, and reviewing that work, and having a lot of internal discussions with a goal to presenting a number of ideas for the governor to consider with his House 1 budget proposal"
"there's interrelationships with other big education aid accounts..."
focus on the need for significant new education dollars targeted for those districts where the education gap is greatest urgency
many are same district where dollars are limited
when you talk Ch. 70 aid and other education aid, large proportion of state aid
"very much in conversations with executive office of administration and finance" on how they fit in larger budget
Craven: feel a special responsibility for Holyoke district as a receivership district
"if we change one thing for one district, it has a ripple effect"
"we discovered about 30 districts in the same situation in net school spending"
Wulfson: the districts that we're most concerned about, most challenged student population, supported by municipalities that are barely funding them at the net school spending requirements
great many districts that have been able to spend well above requirement, so question of how much additional aid they should get is part of discussion
also smaller rural districts where declining enrollment creates a very different situation, foundation budget doesn't solve issue
"every group of school districts has a different set of needs"
"we understand the Board's imperative that closing the achievement gap has to be the first and foremost goal if we're going to be talking about literally hundreds of millions of dollars in new education aid over the next decade"
"make sure that investment pays off in student performance in closing the achievement gap"
Bell: more focused and more surgical in targeted assistance
additional targeted assistance as part of supplemental budget
another source of funding to address that
Craven: city of Lawrence had seen a big influx of money from the cityside prior to receivership
(someone want to bring the receipts on that one, please? because here's what the state reporting says: from -5.4 to 0.8 net school spending the year the state took over)
...it's sort of that same situation..."as those clear out, there are going to be others following quickly behind" I have no idea what she's referring to here: receivership districts? districts underfunding NSS?
Sagan asks Riley "as someone who has been on both sides of this"
Riley: very clear from FBRC that funding system is broken
"obviously saw that during my time in Lawrence"
"they were put back on an even plain" (true; they got UP to NSS under receivership)
average district is 20% over...many cities barely at minimum (note that it's more like 29% now)
Legislature need to fix issue
"group of struggling districts, often with our most needy kids, not getting the funds they need"
Moriarty: this is structural, there's no quick fix
"that 20% gap...I think is exactly what was looked at in the original education reform"
"just to get a relative equivalent education"
"kind of back to 1993 in the fiscal situation at this time"
Sagan: want to make sure we're not underdoing what we need to do (refers question to Peyser)
Peyser: not just about the funding "it's how the funding is being used"
"as much as there has been attention paid to the formula itself...we need to also be thinking about how those funds are being used in a strategic way...districts are given resources to...I don't want to say guarantee success...investing in those things...as opposed to thinking this just about a funding thing"
Sagan: Department stands ready to use those tools
Stewart: budget committee briefly discussed sending a letter in response to the Foundation Budget Review Commission's recommendations
bring forward a draft at the next meeting, as the Governor is bringing forward House 1
Sagan: think we could entertain that
Craven: the targeted assistance..."anything that adds money to everyone isn't" as useful
Sagan: we know money isn't correlated always
Craven: the Department since 1993 has been in the position of not having those tools, since the bargain was the increased dollars came with the ed reform oversight
"now it's for something new...the Board may benefit from the knowledge the Department has built up in expertise for districts" (this is appalling...this is money OWED under the CURRENT system)
Peyser: certainly in your advice to me in your role
Sagan: if there's anyone else you feel should get it, since you've got the message
Board approves memo

soliciting public comment on high school science competency
final vote will be in February
Wulfson: not asking Board to make decision on anything other than soliciting public comment
same interim passing standard as in ELA and math in MCAS switch
"get that process going so students who will be the first to take this test" can be prepared for it
remove from regulation what specific science tests will constituent the determination
Commissioner has indicated that he is not yet ready to make a recommendation on removing other (non-biology) MCAS science options
computer science gaining popularity
would like Board to be able to have flexibility to respond to changes without extensive timeline of changing regulation
West: striking through names of tests throughout; is "technology and engineering" included in "science" which is what will remain?
Wulfson: always has been considered one of the science competencies
Approved to send out for public comment

and that's it! 'though I have THOUGHTS on much of this...

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