Sunday, August 18, 2019

The 1619 project

To quote the opening of the project:
In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near oint omfort, a coastal port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.
Nikole Hannah-Jones opens the collection with an essay that reviews American history from 1619 onward. As she says:
No one cherishes freedom more than those who have not had it.
There are essays, photography, poetry, and more.
Educators, please note that not only is the entire issue available for free online, lesson plans are also part of the Pulitzer Center's contribution.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Worcester School Committee election events

Someone stopped me downtown today to ask what events were coming up, so I thought I'd stick it here, as well. This is what I have; I'm sure more will be added:

  • Thursday, August 29; 5:30 pm: Commission on Disability Candidates' forum in the Levi Lincoln Room at City Hall
  • Tuesday, September 10: PRELIMINARY ELECTION (eliminates 1 of the 13 candidates)
  • Wednesday, September 25, 6:30 pm: League of Women Voters forum in the Sullivan Auditorium at Worcester State University
  • Tuesday, October 22, 7 pm: Worcester Regional Research Bureau forum which I don't seem to have any additional information on...
  • Wednesday, October 23, 6pm: NAACP forum at the Worcester Youth Center
  • Wednesday, October 30, noon: Worcester Senior Center, candidates' luncheon
  • Tuesday, November 5: ELECTION DAY! 

In case you needed this said again

Hey, money matters in educational outcomes! Go figure.
Here's four--yes FOUR--new studies from across the country demonstrating that.
Four new studies from different parts of the country have come to similar conclusions. In Texas and in Wisconsin, researchers found that spending more translated to higher test scores and boosted college enrollment. Two other studies — one looking at California and another looking across seven states — found that spending more money didn’t affect test scores in more affluent areas, but did boost test scores in higher-poverty districts. 
“All four studies find that increased school spending improves student outcomes,” said Jackson.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Worcester School Committee meets for mid-August

I'd honestly missed that this was happening entirely, and there isn't a whole lot on the agenda beyond allocating the funds over the FY20 budget as passed in June.
Note that as it is summertime, the meeting is at 4 pm.

There are some honors and recognitions.
The administration has sent along the admission policy of Worcester Tech. Note that these are subject to state approval, and DESE is reworking their guidance on them, with an eye towards equity. This probably should be up for reconsideration over the next few months, then. Note for homeschoolers: an "approved" homeschool program?

There are prior fiscal year payments
  • of $2,392.50 to EI US, LLC dba (doing business as) LearnWell, due to a name change.
  • of $896.00 to Providence Nursing Agency for CNAs
  • of $538.84 to Stevens Children’s Home Inc. dba (doing business as) Stevens Treatment Programs
Mr. O'Connell suggests commenting on " the proposed 'Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)' issued by the US Department of Agriculture." The comment period closes September 23.

This item:
Request that the Administration provide a proposed budget for a multi-faceted staff diversity recruitment initiative, and to allocate funds to implement it from the additional state aid furnished by the FY20 State Budget as enacted during July.
...and this item:
Request that the Administration provide its plans for the allocation of the new funding from the State.

immediately surround what the School Committee had to know was coming: the administration's proposed FY20 adjustments.

The adopted FY20 budget has an additional $4.6M (net) coming to the Worcester Public Schools from the budget the School Committee adopted in June, which was based on the proposed House Ways and Means budget.
That looks like this:

Note that of the $24.4M increase over last year, $13.2M of that is coming in from inflation. It is only the next highest amount, $8.9M, that is coming in from Foundation Budget changes; this should answer Mr. Monfredo's later item requesting an update on the impact of the foundation budget. Let's remember that when we hear claims about what FY20 did. And also:
We continue to look forward to final passage of a new Foundation Budget formula that adopts funding for economically disadvantaged students at the highest possible level.
What is administration recommending the funding go to?
  • 6 instructional coaches "to provide instructional support and turnaround efforts" (there's that unannounced 'turnaround' again) at Burncoat High and Middle, Forest Grove, Sullivan, WEMS, and Challenge and Reach [$524,772]
  • 4 elementary teachers and 1 elementary assistant principal; no word on where, though one assumes the teachers are for lower class size [$447,310]
  • 5 ESL teachers, including the kindergarten dual language teacher for Woodland, which...had that not been budgeted for? [$437,310]
  • 2 special ed teachers plus the conversion of an early childhood teacher into dept head, plus a Deaf and hard of hearing team chair [$183,062]
  • 1 "health/drug" educator, which was advocated for during budget...I still have no idea what this person is to do, 'though there is an item requesting one following this on the agenda [$87,462]
  • 2 guidance counselors (half a postion each for Burncoat Middle and High, 1 at North) [$174,924]
  • 1 teacher at WEMS (no word for what) and converting Gerald Creamer Center evening adminstrator to a full time position (costing $2800) [$89,662]
  • 10 sped IAs [$366,055]
  • "an increase in middle school and freshman sports opportunities" with funding to support coaching, uniforms, supplies and transportation [$130,000]
  • 1 clerical for special ed "to support compliance and administrative support for the department" [$75,000]
  • 1 school-year clerical for the Fanning building, which doesn't have any [$39,672]
  • 1 grant information specialist [$70,000]
  • 1 school nurse (doesn't say where for) [$68,675]
  • additional time for English language proficiency testing in the Parent Information Center [$20,000]
  • 10 literacy tutors [$211,960]
  • PD for "focused instructional coaches, social emotional staff, technology training, CPI and restraint training, and CPR training" [$37,650]
  • dual language curriculum [$77,000]
  • an increase "in costs" for STAR assessment [$37,812]
  • "additional Chromebooks at the elementary and middle level" (no word on where or how many) plus computers for the additional staff here added [$396,000]
  • "to begin the process of developing an RFP for a new student information system and implementation process" which was already in the budget--I'll have to look up for how much--and now somehow we need MORE funding for? [$225,000]
  • nurse supplies which is overdue and underfunded [$19,862]
  • Sullivan security system upgrade which seems rather random [$160,000]
  • building maintenance: 
    • Sullivan Middle carpet [$140,000]
    • North High phones [$75,000]
    • Claremont additional lockers [$50,000]
    • sped office painting and carpet replacement [$8400]
  • shift of funds from Title I, which is coming through less than budgeted, plus positions have increased in cost (this is odd) [$455,269]
PLUS: the charter assessment came through AS BUDGETED, so the "in case" line isn't needed. That means that there is $350,000 available. Administration is recommending adding 10 IA positions for some of the kindergarten classes that don't have them. There are 89 K rooms, 63 positions, currently; this would get to 73, and the remaining 16 would be part of the plan for FY21.
Note that the final page attempts to tie this back to the strategic plan.

The Committee is asked to accept the following donations:
  • -$6,498.50 from various fundraising efforts at Woodland Academy
  • -$500.00 from EOS Foundation to Francis McGrath Elementary School for the 2019 Healthy Start Award
  • -$365.25 from Lifetouch to Chandler Magnet School
  • -$155.00 from various donors to the Patricia Falcone Memorial Scholarship
Mr. O'Connell wants to hang banners on lightpoles about the schools.

And there is an executive session "to discuss litigation with respect to CAS petition Bus Drivers" after the meeting. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Associate Commissioner of Education Keith Westrich resigns

How it is that Universal Hub has this first, I don’t know, but nonetheless:
Keith Westrich, associate commissioner for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, who long worked on programs to get high-school kids ready for life after graduation, was placed on leave and then retired after his name was published in a list of former "clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor" issued by the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
That list, which came out three weeks ago, is here. On it, we find that Westrich was "removed from ministry," after being ordained in 1981, which is a fairly recent ordination. He was not, however, laicized; in other words, the Archdiocese didn't say he isn't a priest anymore, 'though he may have had his preaching faculties removed (so he couldn't serve in ministry).
The MassLive report is here. The Boston Globe doesn’t have much more. NECN reports here.
His name has already been removed from DESE’s employee rolls. EDITED TO ADD: yes, one needs to be CORI'd to work at DESE, but this wouldn't turn up on a CORI check, as there's been no legal action up until now.
Obvious question, of course, is if his responsibilities included anything directly with students, to which the Globe has only this:
It was not immediately Tuesday clear how long Westrich had worked for the agency, or what his specific duties entailed.
I have yet to see any response to that. That would be really important and someone should find out.
EDITED TO ADD: as was raised last week in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch coverage:
The St. Louis list omits the whereabouts of living priests, which concerned Barbara Dorris, a former director of the advocacy group SNAP.
“If you’re going to put out this list and it’s going to be useful, we also need to know where are these guys now and what are they doing?” she said. “Are they working near schools?”
Note that the Archdiocese has turned over that list to the Missouri Attorney General, where the investigation is ongoing. 
More as I have it.

UPDATED after I thought about this more overnight:
The above question, if his work entailed working directly with students is very, very relevant and someone really needs to push DESE on that. Further, in Boston University's online bio, he came to DESE from a position as Director of the Boston Private Industry Council’s nationally recognized ProTech program, which is a student internship program. The same question thus needs to be asked there, and whereever it is that he worked between his time leaving the Archdiocese and that position.

But from a best practices standpoint, here's what's bothering me this morning:
It seems clear from DESE's statement that, while they were ready for the question, they weren't going to release anything on their own. If we have learned ANYTHING from the Roman Catholic church's (lack of) handling of such allegations, shouldn't it be that letting people simply move on without public comment allows the issue to continue?
Was DESE simply going to let one of their top officials quietly move on after a creditable allegation of sexual assault of a minor surfaced? This is our K-12 education agency. THAT IS NOT OKAY.

This shouldn't have to be said, but much in the way the Catholic church violated one of its core tenets in not protecting children, the Department not putting the safety of children explicitly first in this violates its core responsibility.

Seattle Public Schools revise their dress code

This is good:
Seattle Public Schools' new policy, in contrast, puts the beholder in charge: "Students and staff are responsible for managing their personal distractions," it reads.  
It also calls for staff to avoid "dress-coding" students in front of their peers, which has been common practice for years, leading to embarrassment.
The new district policy indicates that enforcement of the dress code must not "create disparities, reinforce or increase marginalization of any group, nor will it be more strictly enforced against students because of racial identity, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, gender nonconformity, sexual orientation, cultural or religious identity, household income, body size/type, or body maturity." 
The district's acting head attorney, Ronald Boy, said the dress code is something he'd long hoped to make modern - and equitable. “My hope is that we are able to not waste time in school addressing things that just don't matter," Boy said.
You can read the text of the new code here. It includes this directive to staff:
Students shall not be disciplined or removed from class as a consequence for wearing attire in violation of this policy unless the attire creates a substantial disruption to the educational environment, poses a hazard to the health or safety of others, or factors into a student behavior rule violation such as malicious harassment or the prohibition on harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Further, no student shall be referred to as “a distraction” due to their appearance or attire.

Worcester School Committee candidates' forum Thursday evening at Worcester State

While the actual candidacy stuff is over on, I'll post Worcester election stuff here as it is relevant. 

Thursday, August 15 at 6 pm in the Blue Lounge at the Worcester State Student Center
Co-sponsored by Worcester State, the YWCA, the League of Women Voters, MWPC, and MAWOCC

Monday, August 12, 2019

Public charge change goes through

Despite public outcry:
The regulation, also known as the public charge rule, was published in the Federal Register Monday morning with the following acknowledgment: “While some commenters provided support for the rule, the vast majority of commenters opposed the rule.”
As to what it will do:
The public charge term has historically referred to someone who is “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence" based on their receipt of "public cash assistance."
The new rule expands the definition to include anyone who receives food stamps, Medicaid and housing subsidies.
Receipt of one or more of those designated public benefits for an aggregate 12 months within any three-year period by any noncitizen will be considered a negative factor in determining whether or not they become a public charge.
The new wording says this:
DHS has revised the definition of “public charge” to incorporate consideration of more kinds of public benefits received, which the Department believes will better ensure that applicants subject to the public charge inadmissibility ground are self-sufficient. The rule defines the term “public charge” to mean an individual who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months, in the aggregate, within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months). The rule further defines the term “public benefit” to include any cash benefits for income maintenance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), most forms of Medicaid, and certain housing programs.
This forces families into the choice of receiving services their families need (and for which they qualify) or eventually gaining legal status. While the benefits received directly by children will not be counted--EDIT: though the Huffington Post article appears to say otherwise--the health care, food assistance, and other care their parents receive will count against them, and endangering parents does not care for children. See the pull quote from WBUR:

If Buffalo can...

I appear to be on a bit of a theme here on "why can't we?" but if the Buffalo Public Schools have managed to overcome the complications around providing internet access to students in their neighborhoods, surely Worcester could?
The two neighborhoods were specifically targeted, because they are in what’s referred to as “digital deserts” – lower-income neighborhoods where more than half of all households don’t have home internet or cellular service.
In this case, HarpData would, basically, situate wireless antennas atop the eight district schools and other buildings near them to extend the district’s Wi-Fi signal into the neighborhoods...
Their signal would reach as many as 5,500 students who live inside a two-mile radius of one of the eight schools. Students then would be able to use their passwords to log on at home the same as they would at school.
The concern I have in the past heard in Worcester (and note that this is a broadband rather than device issue) is that federal funding requires particular filters. I've noticed that Worcester already chooses to apply that requirement more broadly than other districts (banning access more widely); it would seem that Buffalo is simply applying their own filter to the service offered.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

GPS on buses

On reading that the New York City Public Schools buses are awaiting the GPS that they are to have when school starts there on September 5:
“It’s really not that hard… Putting GPS on things and showing it on an app is like the most basic technology for any app on this planet at this point,” said Kallos.
I couldn't help but reflect that having such technology not only was required by the current Worcester Public Schools' contract with Durham; it was required by the previous three year contract with Durham as well.
And we still don't have it.
Also, note that the Finance and Operations subcommittee meeting that was to take up the transportation proposals has now been cancelled.

No word on why.

Monday, August 5, 2019

On desegregation

I've had a running list of articles and such to share around desegregation, which after that late June exchange at the Democratic presidential debates has suddenly become a hot topic. I've just finished reading Professor Ansley Erickson's Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits (see tweet thread here) about the desegregation of the Nashville schools and that interaction with the larger city of Nashville and surrounding county. I'd highly recommend it; I found a lot to be learned in overlaps with larger national policies or in reflection on more local ones. Next, as I mentioned in my last post on this topic, I'm reading Professor Rucker Johnson's Children of the Dream: Why Integration Works.
As the experience of Senator Kamala Harris was in Berkeley, this piece on Berkeley's history and current status on desegregation is worth considering. Unlike many other places, Berkeley has shifted, but not given up on desegregating its school system, even as both the city and the system of laws has changed.
The 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Milliken v. Bradley was two weeks ago, and there was quite a bit on how this decision, which found that, in essence, the districts surrounding Detroit could not be made to be part of its desegregation, shaped the landscape of schools today. I recommend this piece from Professor Jon Hale and this lengthy piece that aired on NPR stations.
Earlier last month, the Washington Post published this piece on how desegregation became the third rail of Democratic politics. The question of de jure versus de facto segregation is likewise taken up in Erickson's book.
And to tie this back around to the still looming issue here in Massachusetts, which of course is not only in Massachusetts, Ed Build published a tool that walks through district lines and funding which I highly recommend. You can read some of what one discovers from it here.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

As children go back to school this month...

  • of last year, 14 million of the 50.7 million students in U.S. public schools identified as Hispanic, 7.8 million as Black, 2.6 million Asian students, 0.2 million Pacific Islander students, 0.5 million American Indian/Alaska Native students, and 1.6 million students of two or more races.
  • Earlier this year, an nine-year-old American citizen was detained by border security for over 30 hours because, they said, she "provided inconsistent information." Again, she was nine.
  • Today, it appears the shooting in El Paso was motivated by animus against immigrants.
  • It was reported earlier this week that hate crimes are on the rise in 30 large American cities, reaching a decade high, even as overall crime is falling.
  • Yesterday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement warning of the very real impacts that racism has on children's health.
What are we in schools doing to create healthy and safe places to learn?
Metal detectors and armed guards don't solve this. Nor do staff and administrators who claim to be "color-blind."
What are we doing, educators?

Friday, August 2, 2019

No more Stand for Children Massachusetts

If you use the search bar on this blog and type in "Stand for Children," you'll get entries going back to the very beginning of the blog. Back in 2008, in the push to get the City of Worcester to fund 2% over foundation, it was Stand for Children, an actual local advocacy group at the time, that helped parents organize.
And then big money got involved. At the state level, that looked like this. At the local level, I still have vivid memories in 2009 of the meeting at which we were told that we'd no longer be setting our own priorities--we'd be told what they were--and the meeting at which we were then told what they were.
And that led directly to my being told what I could and couldn't say in my testimony at the State House.
While Stand was involved in Question 2, it wasn't the biggest group involved; you can read more from Professor Cunningham here. And Peter Piazza wrote his dissertation in part on them. They've had several rounds of reorganization and reforming, but there are plenty of other astroturf groups out there now.
Thus today's announcement that they will no longer be in Massachusetts.
It really feels like the ending of an era in a way.

Another August

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.
Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt

Here we are at the opening of another August, a month that will close with kids back in school, and no school funding bill. As I noted last August, this "ongoing failure" was even foreseen and warned about in the Foundation Budget Review Commission report itself.
We should be clear: having or not having a bill makes no difference for the upcoming school year. The funding for that was in the FY20 budget, which, with the Governor's signature this week, is now set. And, to be fair, there was progress on school funding in the actual budget.
But it's a single year budget. It didn't change the underlying formula. 
The lack of urgency is troubling. Governor Baker, in the article linked above, swiped at those of us noting this with this:
“I think sometimes people don’t give the Legislature enough credit for how difficult it is to change that formula,” Baker said. “There’s a tremendous amount of will in the building to do that, but this is a very hard exercise.”
Many of those of us concerned know better than most what "a very hard exercise" it is, but we also note the amount of time and lack of urgency that has been present for much of the last four years.

Those four years, as Senator Chang-Díaz noted, are half of an elementary school career. I'll add that they are the whole of a high school career, and for the class of 2019, that's just what they were.
I'm not being cute to say: kids don't get that time back. It's already too late. You've already lost it, and we will never get it back.
It's thus helpful for the Springfield Republican (online as MassLive) to be editorializing about the urgency, but the stridency they criticize Senator Chang-Díaz for (and let me know when the last time is that someone used that word of a male politican) is something that instead ought to be widely shared.

I do think this point from the editorial is one we should consider:
“I think everyone is working very hard to come to a place where everyone feels comfortable,” DeLeo said.
Therein lies the problem: everyone will not feel comfortable, no matter what result is finally reached. No sensible person questions the complexity and difficult of addressing (and paying for) the varied needs of 21st Century public education.
Compromise will be required. When that happens, people on all sides must accept they didn’t get everything they thought they should, but could live with the outcome.
Yes, but who lives with the outcome? The impact of a shift in the funding formula and who pays for it impacts some districts--and thus some students--more than others. Who is being asked to give up or live with what? The kids most underfunded--those in the Gateway Cities, and particularly those students who are poor, who are students of color, who are learning English--are those least often at the table when decisions are made. They've been accepting, like it or not, an underfunded school system for years at this point. The impact of this funding bill hits those kids and their futures more than anyone else.
I don't think we should be shrugging and saying that they're going to have to live it it, strident though that may make me.

This brings us to Max Larkin's piece for WBUR yesterday about one thing that may be holding up the bills: the low income count. MassBudget, of course, has been on top of the low income count for some time. A number of cities, particularly those with high numbers of immigrants, have been concerned about the impact in particular this administration has on families' willingness to sign up for services and thus make the count.
And we should be worried about that. The national administration has had a chilling effect on lots of things, and it is part of our job at the local level to mitigate and fight what we can.
And I said yesterday:
Here's why I say this: there have been ongoing discussions dating back before we switched from low income to economically disadvantaged. There have been meetings and task forces and (see above) reports on how to improve the count. There has been a TON of work done on this. I don't want yesterday's article to leave the impression that anyone--and I include here DESE--has shrugged and said whatever.
I do think that "yes, but you got more money per student" is a pretty lame response, because we all know there should be more money per student, already. We also need to know how many kids we have.
Many of the proposals in MassBudget's report have been incorporated already; I'd also argue that if kids are eligible for state services, we should be figuring out how to get them on those state services, even aside from our district counts, as kids need health insurance and food outside of school! That remains an ongoing and looming issue with the national administration.
I think, though--and I hope that those who are actually making decisions on this are asking for solid data on this--that this is not really the big hold-up. Or it shouldn't be.

If I had some sort of inspiring summing up here, I'd offer it to you. Other than noting that those who are most voiceless and most at risk are those most harmed by postponing, I've got nothing. Waylay your reps and senators when they're around over the August break, please.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Conference committee budget passes both chambers: a few notes

The conference committee released the FY20 budget Sunday evening (you can download it here) and both House and Senate passed it yesterday. I've updated the K-12 spreadsheet where I've been tracking the budget here.
As you can tell from the spreadsheet, many of the accounts were passed at the Senate levels, including the Chapter 70 rates:

This is good news on low income:
It's not as great news on English learners: 

...where the House was more progressive than the Senate. The Foundation Budget Review Commission called for a flat rate for this; we've had a rate (on top of the base) for a few years now, and I have to confess that I'm increasingly persuaded that we ought, like the House had it, be funding in a progressive towards the older end model, due to the steeper climb (and shorter time available) for students learning English later. 
Nonetheless, the passage is intended as a step towards the Commission, and that's a good thing.
It's interesting to note how many of the accounts in fact fund at levels even higher than the Senate did, due, one assumes, to higher than projected state revenue, but also effective local advocacy on a number of these lines. For example:

7009-6600, Early College is $2,500,000 in the conference committee budget, which splits the difference between the Governor's originally proposed $3M and the House's (amended) $2M.

7010-0012, METCO is up to $24.2M, a level about $2M above last year, 'though that includes $45K for late bussing to Lexington and Arlington.

7035-0002, adult education is up to $41M, with about $450K of that in earmarks; it was budgeted at $33.3M last year, and, as we heard at the Board of Ed in December, is significantly underbudgeted and so not meeting the needs.

7035-0006, regional transportation reimbursement makes it to $75.8M. The last official estimate I saw on this put the Governor's $68.8M at a 76% reimbursement, which by my back of the envelope puts this at about 83.8%.

7035-0009, McKinney-Vento reimbursement, which DESE estimated $9M was 37%, goes up to $11M.

7061-0011, circuit breaker, gets boosted to $345M. I'm leery of any projections on this one, as MASBO has been getting updates from DESE about how reimbursement requests are piling in, but it was at $319M last year, which should give you an idea of how much special education costs are skyrocking.

7061-0016, low income pothole, was all over the place during deliberations: the Governor didn't have it, the House had it at $16.5M with some pretty clear allocations, the Senate didn't fund it (but had the higher low income allocations in Ch. 70). They came through with $10.5M in the conference committee for districts that saw a hit on the shift from low income to economically disadvantaged being the count.

7061-9010, charter reimbursement (the Governor wants to call it "mitigation" now), was not only about the money but about the language. House 70, the school funding bill proposed by Governor Baker, would change allocation back to 100/60/40 for the first three years of an increase to a local charter school, but also would make that reimbursement only to districts seeing enrollment changes above the prior five years. The House put this language into their budget; the Senate made the 100/60/40 change, but didn't change the allocation method. The conference committee makes none of these changes only the 100/60/40 change, but also did boost the final amount to $115M, with the $15M halved between districts spending more than 9% of foundation on charters that get less than 41% (as that's the balance between state and districts statewide) of their foundation budget in state funding, and those seeing high enrollment. In both cases? Read Boston.

7061-9400, MCAS, came through at the originally proposed $32.2M, and the only news here is that there was no news on this line this year.

7061-9401, MCIEA, piloting alternative assessment, was not funded in any of the originally proposed budgets, but funded at $550,000 by Senate budget amendment.

7061-9607, recovery high schools, had been budgeted by the Governor at $2.5M "to meet projected need," which didn't feel accurate. The House went to $2.6M, the Senate back down to $2.5M, and the conference committee puts it at $3.1M.

7061-9611, after school programs came out of conference committee stuffed with earmarks,bringing the total to $8.2M and making this article in the Salem News misleading.

7061-9013, rural school aid, funded at $1.5M last year, was not funded by the Governor or House, was funded at the same $1.5M in the Senate, but ended up at $2.5M in conference committee. Count this one up to Senator Adam Hinds, who has been waging a single Senator push on this (to sympathy from his colleagues, clearly).

We aren't done yet! The budget is now with the Governor, and in Massachusetts, the Governor has a line item veto, which the Legislature likewise can overrule. Updates as I have them! And as always, ask rather than wonder!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

What about state aid and reimbursements?

The following was in this week's Commissioner's update:
Due to the delay in the passage of the final FY20 state budget, the Department of Revenue has announced that it will make the July cherry sheet payments and assessments based on the amounts in the Governor’s House 1 budget proposal submitted in January. This affects Chapter 70 aid as well as charter tuition payments and reimbursements. Charter school amounts, in particular, may be significantly higher or lower when the final budget is enacted, so districts and charter schools are cautioned not to rely on the July payments as they finalize their district and school spending plans. As soon as there is a final state budget, DESE will provide districts with final Chapter 70 amounts and updated charter tuition estimates. The August cherry sheet payments will be adjusted to reflect any over- or under-payment in July.
Things I learned this week: 1. Chapter 70 aid payments are issued monthly BUT at the end of the month; 2. Thus the first fiscal year payment doesn't come out until July 31; 3. Circuit breaker reimbursments generally don't start until September (it varies a bit by district). 

With the news that we may finally, FINALLY be getting a state budget this coming week, we at least don't have to worry about what happens if we get into August.
We hope.

Friday, July 19, 2019

And what happened on Superintendent Binienda's goals?

Scott notes that only five of the committee were there: both Foley and Comparetto were gone. 

Well, this is hopeful

h/t to Yawu Miller at The Bay State Banner for getting something useful out of the Education Committee on where they're at with the funding bill, namely from Senate chair Jason Lewis:
“The Senate really sees this as an equity issue,” he said, speaking to the demonstrators in Nurses Hall. “Schools that serve low-income students and black and brown students are not able to provide the same level of resources as higher-income school districts that are predominantly white.” 
Lewis also said many legislators are concerned about attempts to increase mandates for testing and provisions for greater state intervention in struggling districts. 
“Just as important as what’s in this bill is what’s kept out,” he said. “The broader issue of new accountability systems is not something we’ll address with funding legislation. The main focus of the bill is to fund our schools.”
We can hope so. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Worcester School Committee: Doherty and vocational technical programs

Presentation on Doherty's proposed Chapter 74 programs
enrollment would be 1670 students at Doherty (currently about 1500)
calls for design to be complete in 2021; opening fall 2024
"number of programs would we would like to have"
current building is less than half the size new building is projected to be
community facilities are spread out
hired a consultant for a "public visioning process" (these are the three afternoon sessions that, it was widely observed, were very difficult to get to)
connectng students to outdoors, community, real world connections
strong community use, available to the academic and wider community
the strategic plan calls for greater integration of career pathways
"what is the economic pipeline showing us are job opportunities in the area"
additional 200 students in marketing, management, and finance
200 for programming and web development
200 for construction craft laborer
"reflects the demographics of the city and Doherty Memorial High School in particular"
then advanced academy in biotechnology: admission by test score
academic program has to be submitted to MSBA
Mayor Petty: "I know it's last minute, process has changed"
make it more attractive to that school
once this is done, all secondary schools save Burncoat and UPCS will have been built since 1990
McCullough: different opportunities than anywhere else (the construction craft laborer)
Monfredo asks about programming and web development
meeting workforce needs and interests of students

Monday, July 15, 2019

Worcester School Committee meets Thursday

The Worcester School Committee has their single July meeting this Thursday at 4 pm. You can find the agenda here.

For it being a summer agenda, it has some really important items on it (which one fears consequently will not get the attention they deserve). Most notably, Superintendent Binienda, who was evaluated by the School Committee back in December and never then had updated goals, is proposing her goals for I guess? the upcoming year; she also includes her self-evaluation from November; the full committee evaluation is posted at the first link above.
Goals are proposed by the Superintendent, but, just as with any educator evaluation in Massachusetts, are determined by the evaluator, in this case the School Committee. Those who are evaluated under this framework know that goals must be SMART: Specific and Strategic; Measurable; Achievable and Action-oriented; Realistic, Rigorous, and Results-oriented; Trackable and Timed. They also should be tied to the district (in this case) improvement plan and district strategic plan.
The goals proposed by Superintendent Binienda, along with some commentary based on the goals and benchmarks (in the link), are:
  • By June 2020, update and utilize the WPS High Quality Teaching and Learning Frameworks to align and increase academic relevance and rigor across all grades. 
Note what this and isn't: this is revising the frameworks by January and then "implementing it" by distributing it. Whatever the relative virtues of revising the benchmarks, there is literally NO implementation strategy or system described. It's this old cartoon in action: 

  • By June 2020, implement a comprehensive district-wide approach to monitoring, measuring, and improving student math outcomes.
What's this? New and continued district-level testing: STAR in K-9, enVision in K-6, quarterly "check-ins" in AP math are the first three benchmarks. There is what could be good professional coordination among teachers in the fourth item, but then there's just a new math program at two elementary schools, and then supplemental math for those with special needs.
Look, this isn't even a good goal or strategy if your only focus in on improving MCAS scores (which it pretty clearly is: note that no supplemental testing extends into high school if it isn't AP). As the classic line has it, weighing the pig doesn't make it heavier; if ALL you do is add the assessment, without their being anything beyond "analyzing," you don't FIX anything.
  • By June 2020, implement a district technology strategy that prioritizes and supports student learning and achievement through increasing the digital fluency skills of students, staff, and district administration.
There's a nod here, through a survey and then"begin(ning) research on best practices" to the ongoing issue of students simply not having home internet access, despite the push at the secondary level of all work being online. This section looks to me as though it has been written by the department that's been pushing everything online; note the giveaway "advocate" in adding positions: administration doesn't need to advocate, as they create the budget. Most of this is online technology training, with the budgeted switch to third party data management by the end of the school year. The data privacy (which needs to be much more pervasive, incidently) note is good, but this is largely adding positions and training for specific kinds of technology (it's not a coincidence that the keynote speaker for the beginning of school is coming from Google). 
  • By June 20202, identify and implement strategies to address social and emotional needs that impact student school performance.
Again, the goal is vague and then the benchmarks go in several different directions. Implementing a multi-tiered system of support was done several years ago (can we check that off or did it fall apart?). While the leadership institute dealing with student discipline could be promising--see here for who is being cited--that isn't supporting this goal, nor is the final item on analyzing disciplinary data. The culturally responsive classroom, likewise, could be useful (why only a handful of schools?), but isn't under this goal and doesn't involve further implementation. The bimonthly series on resilency could be more promising--one off training is notoriously difficult to follow-through on--but is is required of all?
  • By June 2020, develop a plan for staff recruitment and retention and implement strategies that will increase access to well-qualified diverse candidates.
Once the Chief Diversity Officer is hired--and note the deadline here of October is well after school starts--and the "Real Talk" network (this is intended to be a group for educators of color, currently being running by the English Learner manager) is expanded (how? by whom?), there are a few concrete items: 29 IAs for licensure, 25 IAs for continuing education. The only difficulty? The administration didn't budget for that, so where is the funding coming from? 
Also, the continued stress on the Worcester Future Teachers' program without supporting data on its relative success (or not) does us all a disservice. 
Note that the goal only "increase(s) access" to candidates; it doesn't actually diversify the teaching corps.
  • By June 2020, support the development of advanced and experiential learning opportunities for students to develop intellectual agility, (the ability to think and act well), social acuity (the capacity to communicate well), and personal agency (the ability to know yourself and the capacity to act towards specific ends). 
Someone read a book, I'm guessing? This is mostly specific "we're doing more dual enrollment, innovation pathways" etc catchall for a list. 

There is no goal that focuses on equity of discipline, access, graduation and the like.
There is no goal that pulls out the need for greater work with our English learners, the majority (at one time or another) of our students.
There is no goal that focuses on the over $100M owed by the state to the school district.
There is no capital goal. 
There is no mention of the growing number of schools that have dropped into the bottom 10% of schools in the state. 
We need to focus here.

There is also an update on implementation of the strategic plan, which doesn't seem to interelate with the Superintendent's goals (I also think it is supposed to be in color, if I understand the indicators of tracking correctly.) This probably also warrants its own post; in the meantime, the PowerPoint backup is pretty straightforward. 

There is a report of the Governance committee (on handbook language).
There are responses to FY20 budgetary motions. 
The annual review of innovation school plans (do we know if these are getting funded?) is on the agenda: 
The contracts of both school attorneys are up for renewal (proposed for three years; there is no backup given).
There is a 61 page report on the proposed Chapter 74 (that's vocational) program at Doherty. UPDATE: It was announced tonight that these new programs, which would add substantially to the enrollment at Doherty, are intended as part of the new building, and in fact the new building is being designed in part around these programs.
There is a request for acceptance of donations:
There is a request for acceptance of a career and technical grant for horticulture at Burncoat (why Burncoat? Does it actually involve the greenhouse? These grant backups are so weak). 
There is also request for acceptance of donation of musical instruments from Berklee School of Music. 
Items proposed by members include: 
Ms. McCullough would like to look at pickup and drop off policies. 
Mr. Monfredo wants (again) to know about cursive.
Mr. O'Connell suggests school supplies being used to pay parking tickets as is done in Las Vegas.
Mr. O'Connell asks for coordination around gas leaks (something which adminstration has already been doing for some time). 
Mr. O'Connell wants to offer "training in domestic skills' and personal financial management" through after school and summer programs.
Mr. O'Connell has also submitted the following:
Request that the Administration review “Creating the Will: A Community Roadmap to Achieving Educational Excellence for Latino Students in Worcester,” and to consider both progress made, and topics which require further attention, since issuance of the report in July 2011.
This of course remarkably overlooks that the Mayor's Commission--the group that issued the 2011 report--has been meeting for months and has been asked, at the request of both the Mayor and the School Committee to update the report in August.
More troublingly, that item is cosponsored by Monfredo, McCullough, and Biancheria. This level of disengagement with work on the plurality of students in the district is concerning.
Mr. O'Connell, with the same cosponsorship, also has requested:
interact with the Harvard Teacher Fellows Program, and Teach for America, as to placement of prospective teachers in the Worcester Public Schools.
I hope that I don't need to go into the issues with Teach for America; in any case, I have done so before (Yes, that's from 2012). Also, if one of the concerns of the district rightfully is the diversity of its teaching staff, let's note that TFA's relationship with the diversity of the national teaching corps is 
There is also an executive session (scheduled for after the meeting) for two grievances and a workers comp case.

Doherty building public session

There's a lot of schmoozing going on here
Hey! The presentation is posted here.
update on the Feasibility study and the site study so far
"we like the back and forth" we're told by Russ Adams (Worcester DPW)
and there's no way I'm going to be able to keep up with names
the principal architect is currently speaking
overview of project and schedule (starting with literal overview through drone footage)
MSBA building process: now in module three, the Feasibility first part
fall of 2024 for occupancy of school; "that's the best case scenario"
preliminary design program phase of project

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Bruce Baker in Connecticut

Professor Bruce Baker, on Twitter as SchlFinance101, speaking today at Trinity College in Hartford with a focus on Connecticut school finance

...who notes that he has a masters in ed psychology from UConn
"money translates primarily to human resources"
"running a good school takes good people and enough of them...and you've got to pay well...helping kids meet goals"
"it's a human resource-intensive process, for which we have not found" a substitution
even in charter schools, it's about smaller classes, longer days
private schools: the Harkness table, 12 around an oak table; spend double per pupil compared to public schools in their same area
during bad times, school spending stagnates or even declines, but it does not rebound (at least in recent cycles) during good cycles

Core principles (agreed to by most national reports, save EdWeek, where their "Quality Counts" report relates to nothing else):
  • proper funding is a necessary condition for educational success: competitive educational outcomes require adequate resources, and improving educational outcomes requires additional resources. Serving higher needs populations requires greater amounts of resources. 
  • Cost of a given level of quality varies by context: equal opportunity requires progressive distribution of resources, targeted at students and schools that need them most. "It costs more to achieve more."
  • adequacy and fairness are "largely the result of legislative choices." Good school finance policy can improve student outcomes. "It's very much if the states choose to spend on education or not." Bad policy can hinder outcomes. Twist when there is municipal fiscal dependance; some cities not putting forth the fiscal effort that they could. States like Colorado and Arizona "have dropped their schools under the bus."
equal dollar efforts
BUT adjust for "real resources" over geographic area (rural sparsity, higher cost of salaries)
equal opportunity to achieve a given outcome level (whatever it is); consider that children under certain circumstances require more resources than do others to achieve common outcomes
equal opportunity to acheive adequate outcomes: setting a bar
"minimum adequacy of real resources"
providing special education services, ELL support providing the resources to provide equal opportunity
"ought to be setting up a system that disrupts the relationship, at least probablistically, between where you come from" and your educational outcomes
"we ought to be able to provide the additional services to let your kid achieve as well as any other kid down the line"
transiency, the language issues

Money matters myths (read the book!) 

turns out there were detrimental effects on longer term outcomes during the recession
"have more data available" and can really tease out changes over time

nominal and adjusted per pupil spending; the "adjusted" is for LABOR costs, which is the largest cost for school districts (and the most meaningful adjustment)

We aren't really any different than where we were in 1993
wages as compared to college-educated nonteacher wages; may make up some ground during recessions, but don't retain that
high average spending states (like CT) but compared...the average may be doing fine, "but this case is about the rest of them" as a judge in Kansas once said

tracking funding against census poverty; the gaps are huge (and don't ever say we're "shoveling money" into these communities)

statisically it has been borne out: majority Black has slightly greater, while Latinx second cities is the strongest predictor of being one of the "screwed" cities
children per housing units compared to per pupil funding

in CT, went from progressive spending on schools to regressive spending
CT has a regressive overall tax system; "there's room to tax" on the higher end of these rolls
"Massachusetts and Connecticut are much more regressive" than states like New Jersey

Colorado and Arizona "race to the bottom"

need a funding formula that is tied about adequacy goals with "more aggressive need based targeting"
"we changed the outcome goals"
"higher outcomes cost more to achieve"

averages always conceal the disparities, and we have a concern ourselves with the disparities
ideally, looking at those disparities at the level of the student
"you shouldn't be only getting to the lower level because of where you came from"

salaries, infrastructure, public two year and four year colleges
how to better understand the full cost of providing community and four year colleges
"can we get it to 14?"
cites Sara Goldrick-Rab's "Paying the Price"

Milliken problem (in that the boundaries of school districts are something SCOTUS has found the federal government not able to push beyond for equity or desegregation
increased number of seccessions to reenforce segregation; tracking the resegregation efforts across the country

slides and video going up on Center for Hartford Engagement and Research at Trinity College

Monday, July 1, 2019

More resources on desegregation of schools

In addition to this post (late and somewhat in haste from Omaha), some more resources on this:
  • Note the use of the word "bussing" itself is problematic, as children are and have been bussed in and around districts for decades, and it was only when black children were being bussed to white schools that it became an issue: 

  • What we might learn from Berkeley (which was a voluntary effort) is covered here. Both this and the page above are from Matt Delmont, professor of history at Dartmouth who also wrote Why Busing Failed.
  • It is particularly important for those of us from Massachusetts to step away from Common Ground, the Pultizer Prize winning account of the desegregation of the Boston Public Schools in the 1970's. 
  • Black Bostonians disputed Lukas’s favorable presentation of white resistance to school desegregation, his emphasis on black family dysfunction, and his selection of a black family with no ties to the decades-long campaign to secure educational equality for black children (he found the black family he profiled through a social worker). Longtime Boston civil rights activist Ruth Batson described Common Ground as "one of the most devastating and distorted views" of Boston's school history.
    (note: add this to my "still learning" list)

  • There is some lousy dismissal of desegregation of fairy dust; please don't buy this.

Friday, June 28, 2019

The key things exceptional boards and members do

Notes originally tweeted from this school boards' (they're school boards outside New England) trainers session by Kay Douglas and David Koempel of Texas, Nick Caruso of Connecticut, and Mike Gilbert of Massachusetts:

Exceptional boards:
  • self-govern: this isn't the superintendent's job
  • focus on the work of the board and hold meetings that are purposeful and focused on students: the board agenda should be there to finish the goal; "don't spend time doing work other people could do." What is it that the BOARD (and only the board!) can do? What percentage of the agenda is focused on student achievement? To which district goal is each agenda item tied?
  • work collaboratively with the Superintendent and clearly articulate expectations to community and staff: build and maintain trust and communication
  • set shared vision, mission, and goals and monitor progress: We are really good at setting goals; we are not good at monitoring them. What is the path to the achievement of goals? PUT THE REPORTING OUT ON EVERY AGENDA. 
  • engage in professional development together: agree together on PD (with governance team!) on what YOUR district needs
Exceptional members:
  • make decisions based on data and monitor progress: If the board doesn't have the information it needs, it isn't time to make the decision. This takes admin PD; don't just "throw up a spreadsheet." The purpose of meetings is to make decisions. 
  • respect opinions of others and leave ego at the door: There is no term for an individual board member; they are a member of the board. 
  • understand board's role/learn and abide by board operating procedures: Self-evaluation is about how the BOARD (not the individuals) are doing; that's the distinction from elections. 
  • prepare for board meetings and ask questions in advance: The most frightening sound any chair can hear right before a board meeting is the agenda packet being torn open. Make it clear in public what questions may have been asked but don't play gotcha with the administration. 
  • learn and abide by the open meeting laws and board protocols: know the LAWS
  • keep confidential information confidential: once trust is broken, it takes a long, long time to get back. 

A word about the federal government and bussing

Sorry, I know this is late; I'm at the national school boards' trainers conference in Omaha, and I haven't had much of a chance to post!
If you watched the Democratic debate last night (or if you saw much since then), you saw this exchange between Senator Kamala Harris and former Vice President Joseph Biden:

I do want to observe here that this illustrates something which is crucial: policy is never hypothetical. It's always about the second grader on the bus; it's about people.

Senator Harris attended the Berkeley, CA public schools which did voluntarily desegregate in 1968 (you can read a lot about Berkeley in 1968 here). Berkeley used two-way bussing, meaning that children went in both directions (not only sending Black children into white schools). It was done due to local community decision through massive community organizing, 'though one can't, of course isolate Berkeley from what else happened in the rest of the country.

Vice President Biden's position has been well covered by the education press in the past few weeks; this piece in EdWeek captures much of the history, and his letter to Senator James Eastland, a noted segregationist, has been well-circulated. He went so far in 1975 as to float the idea of a Constitutional amendment forbidding it. Above, he speaks of opposing the (federal) Department of Education forcing schools to desegregate through bussing, something of which I can find no record, which may have been discussed by the Ford administration, though Ford cited busing orders as federal overreach (see also his statement here); desegregation, when it was ordered, came through the federal courts (the judiciary, thus, not the executive branch). Note the points in this interview, in particular:
It seemed like the crux of his response was, he was trying to draw this distinction between when busing or desegregation efforts were mandated by outsiders versus when communities came up with them or OK’d them themselves. I wonder what you made of that. 
It struck me as a distinction without much meaning to it. By which I mean, the local and the federal roles have always been intertwined with schooling in America, particularly on the school desegregation issue. This sense that communities should only desegregate when they locally decide to do so is farcical. It demonstrates a complete either lack of knowledge or willful misunderstanding of how race and school desegregation played out in the country.
The main power the federal legislative branch has, of course, is that of funding. Since at least 1974, sections 301 and 302 of appropriations has included a ban on the use of federal funding for bussing used for desegregation efforts. It has been noted, however, that this would seem to run afoul of one of the main points of the Every Student Succeeds Act:
Momentum to remove these provisions began last year, when it became evident that the decades-old riders conflicted with the Every Students Succeeds Act, the federal education overhaul passed in 2015. That law gives states and local districts greater flexibility to implement evidenced-based school improvement strategies. Decades of research have shown that racial and socioeconomic integration can lead to a wide-range of academic and social benefits — which many state and local policymakers hope to provide for students.
Since this has now come up--and it doesn't seem to me as if today's "clarification" clarified at all--one can hope that this discussion continues. I, too, would be interested:

A significant number of the current president's judicial nominees have declined to say if they think Brown v. Board was correctly decided, so the issue is necessary in more ways than one.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

June Board of Education: FY20

backup here
Bill Bell: still waiting for the Legislature to produce a budget for the Governor to review
Conference committee is meeting; hopefully closing gaps to produce bill
is an interim budget in place for next Monday, when new fiscal year starts
Joint Committee on education doing on school funding
"it's probably worth highlighting, because I think it gets confused"; the bill WILL NOT AFFECT the coming year
(that's the FY20 budget)
doing a lot of modeling for the committee as they work
Peyser: plea to whomever is listening
sufficient flexible resources for Commissioner to implement his plans
make a difference in what goes on in the classroom

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

June Board of Education: State Student Advisory Council report

Maya Mathews: year has been awesome
spoke about value of student voice on state boards across the country
very cool to see work of student advisory council is far reaching
civic work groups
global outreach work groups
mental health work group

voter registration booths in schools; take civics education into buildings
a lot of conversation around student government and student government involved in their schools
disconnect with their schools
equipt as global citizens: not just second (and so far) languages, networks connecting beyond classroom
increase mental health services in schools
what students want to be getting but are not
districts that have student dropboxes, allowing students to leave a note and have guidance reach out

recruit and retention of students to State Student Advisory Council

June Board of Education :Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter appeal

backup is here
Chuang: calls up school to present
school: submitted on May 17 a letter to add 368 places
handout to provide a framework for appeal
legal counsel is now reading MGL of charter schools
nowhere does Commissioner mention unique program in his letter
not actually relevant
ongoing argument here is this is a unique school...
argues that waitlist at kindergarten level
DESE says this: 
This type of enrollment plan, with assumed attrition, is no longer a viable choice under the current charter school statute. In 2010, the charter school statute was amended, adding new statutory requirements to backfill vacancies, to create and augment recruitment and retention plans, and to retain students.The changed statute made impermissible significant planned attrition in the first half of the school's grade span.

June Board of Education: health curriculum

backup is here
Rachelle Engler Bennett and Kristen McKinno
haven't been updated since 1999
have two additional decades of research
started with lots of listening
then moved to panel
focus on skills: integrating topics and skills
decision making and problem solving
promote skills as transferable
panel brought passion and expertise
also meeting with student groups
bring draft to Board in the fall
send out for public comment
final draft in December

McKenna: standards required or voluntary?
will have what these standards "do and do not do"
are some elements required by law
standards as a whole are not required
all curriculum frameworks are recommended: districts could choose not to use the standards, most districts choose not to do it
McKenna: then why do they do this?
Joint work, good work
McKenna: no doctors? will be on review, have had school nurses

Morton: poverty rates have changed
higher rates of incarceration
violence and levels of trauma

McKenna; timeline?
ramp up in spring, implementation for 2020-21

Fernández: curious about how these standards might play into the types of supports for districts or schools that might fall into that
networks available for districts to join on a content area
hearing districts are pleased with offerings that are available

June Board of Education: accountability system

backup is here
Johnston: went out for public comment in April, May
information sessions for school and district leaders to understand what the changes are
also before the Accountability and Assistance Advisory Council
Curtin: fairly limited in the changes that were proposed this year
"wanted to give the system time to breathe and to grow and to develop a bit"

June Board of Education: arts standards

the backup is here
Ron Noble: in February, draft went out for public comment, have made amendments accordingly
intro's Dawn Benski, who will be leading implementation
Craig Waterman: four big shifts
ID's 11 artistic practices, complex knowledge and skills developed over time in arts education
recognizes media arts as a discipline
consistent organizational structure across disciplines
greater detail in eight grade spans
guiding principles: culturally aware instruction, social emotional learning, and engaging communities in the arts
Moriarty: notes "what the frameworks do and do not do" but be sure they know they don't have option of not doing it
Craven: two decades since updated
Benski: supporting implementation through regional arts ambassador teams
PD in each region of the state
Stewart: arts integration, networks
how to integrate various components?
Waterman: made lots of intentional decisions to support integrations
McKenna: concern about resources here
"I wonder what kinds of resources there are to provide the resources there are?"
both online modules and PD for teachers
2019-20 a transition year, full alignment 2020-21
Waterman: "obviously local districts need to allocate local resources for proper implementation"
Hills: in terims of time, how are these new frameworks being received in time pressure
Noble: hope it leads to cross-discipline practice in elementary schools
have tried to embed the framework with cues for things they're already responsible for


June Board of Education: annual evaluation of Commissioner

There is no backup
Morton: through a series of questions around the Commissioner's performance in his first year
divided work among three; in depth interviews with as many stakeholders as possible
rated in four dimensions:
  1. facilitated student growth and achievement
  2. management and operations
  3. external relationships and communications
  4. Board relationships
Facilitate student growth and achievement: 3.8 out of 5.
Management and Operations: 3.75 out of 5.
External Relations and communication: 4.5 out of 5.
And Board Support/Effective Interactions: 4.75 out of 5
....overall it's a 4.1 out of 5
most very pleased with tenure in first year
visits, conference, vision, tactics
access to arts
support of all students in the Commonwealth
timely in response to issues and challenges in his first year in his position
talent of staff; making Board well informed
excited for state in work that will be done moving forward
"was felt that the Commissioner has high expectations"
narrowing achievement/proficiency gaps

Motion to "increase his salary" without a specific number
it is a 2% increase

June Board of Education: Our Way Forward from Commissioner Riley

You can find his report here.
Riley: said he'd take the year to meet with stakeholders
does not replace strategic plan: road map that denotes where we've been and ponders where we should consider going
Ed reform act ushered in a new era
propelled Massachusetts to the top on various national assessments
"so much to be proud of and grateful for"
"my fear is that we may be like Blockbuster video in 1992...thinking that we're the next great American company when we're about to be taken over by Netflix"