Friday, June 29, 2012

They talked about it

sorry, all, but the title ("Fight Club") of this one is a set-up

You know how you suspected that all of the big money "ed reformers" were actually all working together and talking to each other?
And then you thought, "Naaah, that's just being paranoid."

Nope, not paranoid:
The PIE Network emerged, according to executive director Kubach, because of “the growing realization that the arena of state policymaking matters a lot for school reform and you can’t just do everything at the federal level. We needed to connect the conversation in Washington with a coalition of different kinds of groups at the state level—business leaders, civic leaders, and grassroots constituents.” The 34 organizations in the network operate in 23 states and Washington, D.C. Network members include affiliates of Stand for Children and 50CAN, business groups like the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, the Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition, and Colorado Succeeds, and civic groups like Advance Illinois and the League of Education Voters (Washington). The PIE Network is also supported by five “policy partners,” which span the ideological spectrum but agree on the network’s reform commitments: Center for American Progress, Center on Reinventing Public Education, Education Sector, National Council on Teacher Quality, and Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Like many ERAOs, PIE Network is funded by the big three (Walton, Gates, and Broad) along with the Joyce and Stuart foundations.

And yes, you absolutely should read the rest, keeping in mind that Education Next is not, shall we say, an impartial source.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Worcester Public Schools FY13 budget as adopted

And if you're wondering what the final numbers of the adopted WPS FY13 budget looked like, here's the chart.

Conference Committee passed with GOOD NEWS!

The Mass Legislature's Conference Committee has come out with a joint budget for FY13, and it has some good news for K-12 education!

The circuit breaker may well be funded at its statutory level of 75% for the first time since 2008. As a reminder: the circuit breaker kicks in for particularly high-cost out-of-district placements for special education students.

And the House proposal of $11.3 million for transportation of homeless students under the McKinney-Vento act was adopted by the conference committee!

The conference committee also adopted the Senate version of Ch. 70 funding; this was the somewhat less regressive of the two budgets ('though in neither, again, is Worcester getting an "extra" $40/pupil).

with, as always, gratitude for the analysis of the Mass Budget and Policy Center

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

And the bad ideas just keep comin'

So, we've got a superintendent in Huntsville, AL now sending kids off to the wilderness to live in teepees (with no ability to appeal) if they fight in school.
We've got Philadelphia considering not one, but TWO Broad Academy grads for their superintendent (and no, there are not three options).
The Lock Ness monster is being cited as evidence of the continued existence of the dinosaurs and thus a proof against evolution. In a science book. Being used in a publicly-funded school.
We've got Bill Gates, Stand for Children, and Washington State's own League of Education Voters* all joining forces on--you guessed it, folks--a ballot initiative (my, they are popular this year!) to increase charter schools, complete with paid signature gatherers.
And, for those of you who have missed it, the European Commission says "Science: It's a Girl Thing," whilst their video makes it very clear that they know, per Amber Dance, "nothing about science or girls."

I can do no better than to give you Molly Ivins: "Another bad idea. What are they, cheaper by the dozen?"

*Note: much like naming a street "Fox Run" after you've cut down all the trees so the foxes no longer run there, any group with a name like this is...not.

"You don't negotiate with death"

h/t to Diane Ravitch for pointing towards this post, coming out of Chicago (where the stand-off between the Mayor and the teachers' union continues): 

Pro-privatizers have done a good job of conflating being against their version of reform (e.g., being with parents and teachers) as being pro-status quo. It's the surest way to keep yourself out of the education policy job market to be on the side of the straw man status quo.
Notoriously funded by tiny groups of immensely wealthy people, with no control by or buy-in from communities, no democratic structures that allow for parent participation, and in fact nothing other than the whims of their millionaire funders, these groups have unilaterally decided they deserve a spot at the negotiating table. They bought their button, in other words.

Summer Band Concert

The Worcester Public Schools Summer Band is having a concert tomorrow night at 6:30 at the Institute Park Band Shell! Please join us!

Monday, June 25, 2012

A few notes from tonight's Exam/IB School meeting

at the particular request of Mr. Keith Scott

The first meeting of the ad-hoc committee organized by Mayor Petty was tonight at City Hall.
After welcome and introductions of the committee so far (we are expecting a few additional members), we received the mayoral charge to the committee, which reads as follows:
The committee will study and report to the School Committee the feasibility of establishing an exam school for high achieving students in grades 9 to 12 which would develop and promote academic excellence relevant to success in the 21st century.
The report will include:
  • an analysis of potential risks and benefits of such a school
  • a recommendation for a school focus
  • a recommendation regarding the International Baccalaureate program
  • recommended criteria useful for identifying students for admission
  • recommended enrollment
  • projected costs 

Committee members received a backup giving a basic idea of what the International Baccalaureate program is, and we ran through some other useful terms. 
For the summer, the committee has divided into two subcommittees for a basic round of pro/con work on each of our two charges. Brian O'Connell and I are serving on the committee focusing on the exam school; Donna Colorio and Jack Foley will serve on the committee focusing on International Baccalaureate. From now until August, those groups will investigate why we should move forward with each option, and what drawbacks, legal issues, and challenges might be.
We will not, I should note, be yet looking at curriculum, admissions requirements, cost, location, or any other detailed work.
We will next meet as a full committee at the end of August to report those back out and move forward. That will again be a public meeting and will be posted as such.
In addition to my ongoing encouragement to get in touch with the School Committee on your thoughts on this, we will be having at least one (I'd like to have at least two) public hearings on this idea for the fall. Watch for them!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Exam school meeting tomorrow

Note that the first meeting Mayor Petty's exam/ international baccalaureate school is tomorrow night at 7 at City Hall.
It is a public meeting; please consider attending if this is of interest.

I will not be blogging these, as I am chairing. I will try to post periodic updates as the committee goes forward, however.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


back to the budget!

Colorio asks what this is: out of district placement for students
Allen answers that it is, but points out that the state provides circuit breaker
assuming 65-70% in our calculating
O'Connell asks if we have any circuit breaker left
Allen: used all of FY11, might have some carryover in FY12; can provide at the fiscal close
tuition passes
bus monitors, transportation, instructional support, support overtime, school clerical
transportation recommended to reduce by $19,000

Administration: O'Connell motion to cut by $200,000
suggests that it's about 2%
"I could justify a figure several times that"
Monfredo asks for an administrative response
Boone: not sure what positions he could do without
"have said to this committee over and over again that we run an extremely lean shop"
"when every dime that has become available to this committee...has been allocated to support classrooms"
Colorio: will support, will move to tutors
Petty: general cut, don't care where it comes from?
O'Connell from
Motion fails3-4

Non-instructional support:
Colorio: motion to cut $70,000 from account, coordinator of school volunteers
O'Connell will support, but wants to fund position from grants (I think) and move money to tutors
Petty: "But the budget will be done, and we don't have $70,000 to take care of it"
Foley: "there are lots of things we'd love to see in the school district"
Monfredo: "we're getting later and later and we're not doing too much thinking here"
Petty pushes if it is more important than Elm Park Community School liaison

Misc Ed OM
reduction of $1 m for environmental  work
addition of $20,000 for security
Colorio: $8000 for food
Allen: food for various school-based function, "as we provided in a recent length report to you as requested by the media"
Petty: school-based function
Allen: $2000 of it funds the 30 year dinner
Biancheria requesting additional $10,000 for school safety (on top of the regular $20,000, on top of the additional $20,000 added yesterday)
request was to move from building repair

administration clerical

IA's approved

nurses: adding funds

teachers: approved

School nutrition: approved

Recess spending

If you're wondering where that $1 per pupil for recess supplies went this year, here's the list.
And we've recommended that principals consult with students on spending for this coming year (which includes that money again)!

Evaluation of the Superintendent by the members of the School Committee

some comments from Superintendent Boone reflecting her self-evaluation
updating as we go; I am told that the Telegram & Gazette will be posting all of these online

New Chief Academic Officer

subject to contractual negotiations, Marco Rodriguez, currently Director of Special Education for the Worcester Public Schools. Approved unanimously.
We will meet in special session should the contract come to conclusion prior to our next meeting on July 19.

Back for regular session: honoring Jeff Mulqueen and retiring principals

...though we're starting this evening with a hearing on educator evaluation.
Comments from Superintendent Boone to open...

And regular agenda..
starting by honoring Jeff Mulqueen, for whom this is the last meeting. He'll be starting as Superintendent of the Pentucket Regional School District on July 1.
Petty says he has to come sit in his WPS rocking chair.

recognizing retiring principals

Superintendent evaluation

You can find mine here.

back to FY13...

We're picking back up with athletics for a few more questions...publishing as we go
Opening comments from the superintendent regarding the health insurance savings: $900,000
"we are now are looking to be able to actualize $900,000 in additional savings, and that's savings going forward"
The proposal is here.
Colorio asks for the timeline: preliminary review took place Monday night, work on Tuesday, budget committee met on Tuesday afternoon

School Committee meeting: 4 pm!

The School Committee takes back up the FY13 budget at 4 pm, followed by executive session at 6, regular session at 7 pm, including the evaluation of Superintendent Boone.

More good news for FY13

If you're tracking the FY13 Worcester Public Schools budget, you'll certainly want to read this memo from Superintendent Boone which we received late yesterday.
In brief: between migration and it simply costing less than planned, health insurance went down to the tune of $900,000.
Proposed allocations are included in the memo.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Capital budget advertised (clarified)

The City Council last night voted to advertise the 76 loan orders of the city's capital budget, which has $6.75 million for the Worcester Public Schools in it.
It will be back before Council on July 17.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Facilities meeting liveblog

Facilities meeting...posting as we go
Foley: "we're all smiling tonight...we've had some good news"
acknowledges that both he and Councilor Economou were past presidents of Nelson Place PTO
"we know that the building is safe, but the building must be replaced"
"timetable and a process for building a new Nelson Place School"
Boone:"this is an exciting night"
"when we submitted a lot of submitting a lot, we got a lot...we took the right approach"
"continuing (the committee's work) in keeping it before the community"

Facilities meeting

Just a reminder that there is a meeting on school facilities at 5 pm at Nelson Place School today.
It's a joint meeting of the Finance and Operations standing committee of the School Committee and the Education subcommittee of City Council.

Monday, June 18, 2012

On philanthropy (or not)

Excellent article in The Awl regarding the billionaire philanthropists, their perspective:
that business is good at measuring and achieving set results and goals, while government mysteriously lacks such abilities; that business is pragmatic, efficient and uninterested in ideological point-scoring; that every institution would benefit from being "run like a business"
..and their influence on everything including (part VI) education:
 ...the funders of education reform seek nothing less than the wholesale retooling of public schools, at a time when the nation’s school budgets are stretched to the breaking point. And the writing on the chalkboard grows clearer by the minute: Their market-based educational reforms don’t work.

The chart that says it all: Worcester capital budget

Given a $36.6 million capital budget, here is how the City Manager is recommending allocation:

...and I thought I was exaggerating when I commented on how much we spend on asphalt.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Superintendent's Self-Evaluation

...just came in over the transom last night. You can read it here.
Please do so and get in touch with us! You can reach all of the committee at schoolcommittee (at)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Upcoming dates

A few upcoming dates of interest:
  • a reminder that the Finance and Operations subcommittee is meeting with the City Council Education subcommittee on TUESday, June 19 at 5 pm at Nelson Place School.. We're talking facilities.
  • the superintendent's evaluation is scheduled for next Thursday, June 21. We haven't yet received anything from administration on this; once we do, I'll post it. Meantime, you should contact the School Committee with anything you think they should consider on this.
  • the first meeting of the exam school/IB ad-hoc committee is on Monday, June 25 at 7 pm at City Hall. This, and all meetings to follow, are public meetings; if you have interest in this, please plan to attend.

Dowley-Taylor Building

Another in the sporatic series of things in WPS you may not have seen. With apologies for the pixalated pictures.

Among the buildings purchased when the Worcester Public Schools bought the Central New England College campus is the Taylor building at 770 Main Street. 

The Dowley-Taylor building was built 1842, making it the oldest building owned by the Worcester Public Schools. It was designed by Elias Carter and is one of a pair of twin buildings; the other is now the Country Curtains store in Sturbridge ('though ours has kept much more of its detail). It is among what I'm beginning to think was a neighborhood of buildings that were built in Lincoln Square and later moved.

This (below) is the entryway inside the front door, which still has a lot of detail from the 1840's...

...most nobably the trompe l'oeil across the top of the stairway "window," which still looks like the wood has been carved:

...while the newel post has actually been carved.

The group I was with insisted on seeing the basement, which is a combination of brick and stone:

The building is now used for offices for the Head Start program in Worcester, which runs in four locations around the city.
The one place we did not make it (for safety reasons) was the cupola, but we did get to see the intriguing set of stairs that heads up that way:

The sparrows, despite the spikes, love nesting in the elaborate capitals of the columns:

Here's the view going downstairs:

With thanks to Ro Franchi for taking us around the building!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One of these things is not like the other...

I was, I have to say, enjoying taking a break from having to post about the Stand for Children ballot measure.
To be fair, it did make the news last week, as the Massachusetts Teachers Association struck a deal with Stand for Children to file a bill with the state legislature which would "curb" seniority. (Note: I have yet to see the bill. I'd be interested.) Within a day, both the American Federation of Teachers (who represent Boston teachers) and the AFL-CIO said they'd fight the bill. Governor Patrick says he's reviewing it.
Stand continues to say that if the bill doesn't go through by July 3, they'll go forward with the ballot measure. So we're still legislating at the point of a measure, rather than on the merits of the case.
Back here in Worcester, there was an article earlier this week that covered a bit about the ballot measure as well as the changes in the Worcester teachers' contract. Since the changes had nothing to do with evaluation or termination, a bit of a stretch on putting the two together...and this was followed today with a T&G editorial.

Now I know that there's a driving need in news to see trends, to make things part of national movements, and so forth. But you're reaching here, guys. Talking to the person running the school before the transferring there is a good idea all the way around; believe it or not, teachers care about their working conditions. The "fit" of a teacher and a school works in both directions, and either should be able to decide.

At the same time, anyone who knows any labor history--and if you don't, get reading--knows that it is bad news to make layoffs or terminations anything other than a very clean process with no parts left up in the air. That's how we get our long, ignominious history of teachers being fired for standing up to administration, for having unpopular (or not identical) political views, for fighting for kids, for getting married, or for getting pregnant.

I've heard the arguments that this "would never happen today," but as someone who once sat in a principal's office and had her position threatened for standing up for her students' First Amendment rights, I ain't buying it.

Silly rabbit!*

I've commented before that Secretary Duncan was very strongly in favor of the federal government staying out of local decisions...right up until that federal government became, well, him.
The trend continues.
Leonie Haimson writes on Huffington Post this week that the Obama administration is pushing to take money from Title II--"Highly Qualified" teacher funds--to fund programs like Teach for America. She notes that in many cases, Title II funds are used to lower class size by hiring additional teachers, one of the things we know actually works when improving student achievement. And we also have ten years of data on what TFA does for student achievement.
But you know, when we've got a long-standing program that's been shown to work up against a new program that sure looks swell and has big money an election year...
You can find how much money your state may lose here. For Massachusetts, it's a bit over $11 million, a loss of about 25% for FY14.
Worcester is budgeting for a loss of 15% for FY13 (see p. 181), though in our case, Title II has not been used for class size; it's used for instructional coaches.

*Yes, I'm sure I'm dating myself here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Joint meeting on buildings scheduled

There will be a joint meeting of the City Council subcommittee on education and the School Committee standing committee on Finance and Operations on Tuesday, June 19 at 5 pm at Nelson Place School.

"...the union cannot strike in Chicago."

Sorry, Jonah: it appears that they can.
(for more on this, including some imaginative screenplays, see Jersey Jazzman and Mike Klonsky)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Here's the recommended allocation on $1.7 million

 Note that all of the following is subject to School Committee allocation:
Tonight, Superintendent Boone announced a recommendation to the School Committee that positions be restored or added to the following elementary schools:
1 Belmont
2 Elm Park
1 Goddard
1 Grafton St
1 McGrath
1 Quinsig
1 Tatnuck Magnet
1 Flagg Street
1 Union Hill
There are also five teachers being held for assignment in the fall, pending August class numbers.

She announced that the following secondary positions would be added:
1 WEMS science
1 Burncoat High science
1 Doherty communication/advertising
1 North technology & business
1 South math
1 Worcester Tech science

And that full-time nurses would be at:
Challenge and Reach Academy
Lake View
Lincoln St
May St
St. Casmir
and another full-time nurse added at Quinsig

 The School Committee takes up the budget again on June 21st.

school committee meeting

Sorry: I utterly failed to live-blog tonight's meeting, as I was the North High graduation speaker. I got back in time for the subcommittee reports and I chaired part of that.

The Worcester School Committee will take back up the FY13 budget on June 21 at 4 pm. Generally, we do budget until 6, break for executive session, have our regular meeting at 7, then go 'til we're finished with budget.

budget: account by account

School committee approved $87,000
out of state travel approved (this is a zero)
in state travel: $62,500
Allen comments that this is largely for in-city travel between schools by itinerant teachers
out-of-state travel is paid for grants or other sources
Day-by-day subs: O'Connell asks for recommended number of subs per day; is it funded enough?
Foley points out that this account is decreasing $35,000
passes as amended

Worcester Public Schools FY13 budget

Publishing as we go
Boone: "set the stage from what has transpired since we issued the budget to the school committee"
additional funding and shifting funds to meet priorities
"addressed the request the $5million additional funding for four key areas"
plus class size
work with the city  manager to get additional funds above net school spending
additional dollars to accomplish this
$350,000 from the city for operating
$350,000 match from WPS
city agreed to capitalize funds for environmental mitigation

Worcester School Committee: budget!

A reminder that the Worcester School Committee takes up the budget at 4 pm at City Hall today.
Clearly, after Tuesday's Council meeting, we have some adjustments to make. We also received this memo from Superintendent Boone yesterday, outlining the administration's recommendation on $350,000 to go to teachers and nurses.
We'll then break for the North High graduation (the DCU Center at 6 pm).
And back into regular session at 7-ish.

For those of you trying to follow the budget as we do it, and who wonder just what order it is that we're doing in, here's the secret: this is the road map suggested by administration.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What happens now on school buildings?

What happens now?
We've got two things going on with the state now:

The Accelerated repair projects--May St, Chandler Magnet, Jacob Hiatt, Lake View, and Caradonio New Citizens Center*--are fast-tracked for their designated roofs, boilers, and windows. We'll have to use Mass School Building Authority pre-qualified Owner's Project Manager (who manage any project over $1.5 million, which both Lake View and Chandler Magnet are projected to be) and designers and be ready to move fast.
Note that "fast" doesn't mean this summer--we're a bit too close to that--but we can line things up so they're ready to fly next summer. Really this is internal management kinds of things on both finance and facilities ends, and, as the plan is to use the capital the city allocates for the Worcester Public Schools every year, there isn't an allocation complication, either. Mostly this will be happening behind the scenes.

Nelson Place, because we're talking either MAJOR rehab or a rebuild, is a different case. We've just been invited to the eligibility period for Nelson Place, which lasts 270 days ('though you don't have to take them all. Other districts pull these off in a couple of MSBA board meetings).  During that time, the district must:
  1. execute an initial compliance certificate (ICC). This is a sign-off by the (in Worcester's case) superintendent, city manager, and chair of the school committee (thus, the mayor) that we've read the laws and regulations, that we understand them, and that we have and will continue to abide by them. Note that this makes sure that the district isn't replacing a building its sold. Note further that it certifies that the district has been meeting minimum foundation spending on building maintenance.
  2. appoint a School Building Committee. This is done by the Chief Executive Officer of the municipality (thus, the city manager in Worcester), and it has some required membership, including the city manager, the superintendent, a school committee member, someone from MSBA, the facilities director, the principal, and others.
  3. submit a summary of district funding capacity (basically, "yes, we can pay for this")
  4. submit a summary of district maintenance practices ("and we're going to take care of it once it's built")
  5. certify design enrollment: in other words, let's agree on how many kids we're building this building for. MSBA has all sorts of experience in this now.
  6. confirm community authorization and funding.  This will be a City Council vote that they intend to build Nelson Place and they intend to pay for it. (And they have to get the wording right.)
  7. execute the Feasibility Study Agreement. This says we're ready to go...lining us up for putting together the project team (that's lining up the professionals) and (we hope!) another MSBA Board vote on entering the feasibility study.
...which in sum is: several different votes from Council and Committee, some paperwork and evidence to pull together on both city and school sides, and a committee to appoint.

What do we think, folks? Can we pull this together for the October 3 MSBA Board meeting?

*it's windows and roof for Lake View, a boiler for Jacob Hiatt, windows for Chandler Magnet, windows for May Street, and a boiler and windows for Caradonio New Citizens. 

Accelerated repair approved

All five accelerated repair projects approved unanimously!


While Nelson Place is at the top of the agenda, we're awaiting the arrival of Superintendent Boone and City Manager O'Brien (who just came in) getting a rundown of projects.
"You can't get the facilities manager involved early enough in the process..." says Jack McCarthy

Mayor Joe Petty speaking of Nelson Place needing replacement
Superintendent Boone: one of our highest performing schools, need for a better building...
City Manager O'Brien "we pride ourselves on maximizing life of the building...we will have our match ready to go"
We've also got City Councilor Tony Economou, who represents District 1 and whose children attend Nelson Place, here along with Representative John Mahoney, who represents this district.
Treasurer Grossman asks for a motion to invite Worcester to the eligibility period. Seconded from the floor

"we want the educational plan to drive the design, rather than the eligibility"
Unanimously approved by the board!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The good news in brief

$350,000 being cut from elsewhere in WPS budget to go to classrooms
$350,000 coming from City Manager's discretionary and from WPD (not hiring class until October)
$1,000,000 coming from city capital to replace PCB removal funds currently allocated in WPS budget (this will postpone some other rehab work the city was planning)

The recommended allocation from school administration will be coming later this week. It, I am told, includes elementary teachers, MassCore (secondary) teachers, and school nurses.

You can read the memo from City Manager O'Brien and Superintendent Boone here.

Councilors on the budget

Councilor O'Brien: "I'm just trying to follow this math here..."
Boone: "part of what we needed to do was address those PCBs..that's what's now being capitalized"
Worcester East Middle science labs? Moving forward this summer
 Economou: "Tremendous first step"

Back at Council

And we have the unusual sight of City Manager at the center table with Superintendent Boone and both finance officers.
O'Brien: "both took heed of both the city council and school committee's desire to see additional resources brought to the classrooms...began to work on that request, viewing it as a shared responsibility for the Worcester Public Schools"
additional $1.7 million (part of that isn't "new" money; it's school money being reallocated)
"cityside, committed to a partnership"
Match of $350,000 cityside with $350,000 to fund ten additional teachers.when matched by $350,000 from WPS
reduction in City Manager's contingency reduced by $35,000
total of $750,000 for additional teachers
$1million set aside to address PCBs by priority in Worcester Public budget; this is now coming OFF the Worcester Public budget
That million can now be used for "investments within the classroom"
Total of $1.75 million, $1.35 coming from city

Specifics of $350,000 schoolside will be presented on Thursday at School Committee budget
will complete Worcester East Middle School science labs
hoping that MSBA funding next stage of funding for schools
"we'll also talk about what the future will be"
"look at the funding structure for schools going forward"

O'Brien: ten teachers, additional nine for MassCore program, well as six nurses
there's some interchange here as Brian Allen checks the manager's math
"going to require a partnership going forward"
  $75,000 going forward to bring in an audit
"five year realistic projections from 2014 forward"
"what the classroom needs are...very clear and concise process"
"as well as fixed cost escalators"
"the conversation on this really needs to start as soon as this budget is blessed"
MSBA "going to require additional resources to match"

We don't need no...

It didn't make the T&G write-up this morning, but I have it on the authority of those present that the Clinton town meeting was even more imaginative than portrayed.

The first motion made regarding the school budget was to eliminate it entirely.
And it received a second from the floor.

This was voted down.

Clinton is facing a $1 million budget gap, and parents and community members there had hoped to pull some money together to save positions. However, the budget went through and then was reconsidered without addition. Those of you familiar with Robert's Rules won't be surprised that not everyone caught that reconsideration closed debate. 

No word on what the gentleman who suggested zeroing out the budget was going to do with the kids...

Monday, June 4, 2012

"Firing Day"

Remember Nancy Bloom from Boston Renaissance Charter School?
She's written another excellent post, this one on "firing day" at Boston Renaissance.
Read it.

And then ask yourself how this is improving public education.

"Best" meaning...

...wealthier families? Choosing your students?
If you haven't gotten the full rundown on how those "Best American High School" rankings are not much use, read Winerip today.

Opposing the Stand for Children ballot measure

Note that the following resolution was passed at the state Democratic convention in Springfield this weekend:

A Resolution to Keep Massachusetts Public Schools on the Right Track

"We, the Democrats of Massachusetts, are proud that national and
international testing repeatedly places the Commonwealth’s public schools first in the nation in subjects including reading and mathematics.

We recognize that our experienced and dedicated educators are committed to helping students prepare for the future and giving all children in every community the opportunity to succeed.

We support efforts to successfully implement the newly developed evaluation system, which was created in collaboration with teachers and education leaders from across the state and will further strengthen our schools.

Therefore, we stand with the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts in their efforts to defeat the “Stand for Children” ballot proposal, which would ill-serve our students and our schools.

We believe that this broad and complex ballot proposal undermines the joint efforts of parents, principals, and teachers to keep our state the nation’s education leader, and therefore we stand in strong opposition to its enactment."

Thanks to those who sent this to me. Anyone see anything similar from the GOP?

Friday, June 1, 2012

It's here!

The FY13 Worcester Public Schools budget is here!

You can find it online, (as some of you caught when it went up at 3!) as well.
The Worcester School Committee takes this up at 4pm on Thursday at City Hall.
I'll be looking at it all weekend; questions and comments here or elsewhere welcome!

School building projects made it on the agenda!

The Worcester School Committee received notice this afternoon from Mr. Allen that the Worcester Public Schools has six projects, including a rebuild/major rehab for Nelson Place, on next Wednesday's Massachusetts School Building Authority agenda!
As Worcester is an 80% reimbursement community, this is BIG news!
The other schools are:

            Chandler Magnet (Windows)
            May Street (Windows)
            Lake View (Windows)
            Jacob Hiatt (Boiler)
            New Citizen Center (Boiler and Windows)

Note the meetings of the MSBA board are public meetings, and thus anyone may attend. Next Wednesday's meeting is 10am to noon at the MSBA at India Street Conference Room on the second floor of 40 Broad Street, Boston.
Yes, I am going. If I can work the wifi, yes, I will liveblog.
Full email from Mr. Allen after the jump:

City Council meeting on budget at 5pm

I've just received notice that the City Council is taking up the budget at 5 pm on Tuesday.