Thursday, April 30, 2015

Advanced (IB) Academy

Biancheria: asks for updated timeline
Boone: if it is specific to planning year, then administration will move forward
there will be updates
O'Connell: we cross the Rubicon
cost of dollars, time
asks to hold for one month
when we're going to have to reduce major positions (?)
"in the light of budget which we have yet to receive" and hopes to receive in the next month (we're getting it next week)
Boone: have been very clear to School Committee about timeline
Monfredo: may have to hold back on the academy
not assured that the program is being

Novick: I noted: budget isn't a mystery, already exists, hasn't come to us yet
policy to design budget falls to SC, not admin
several other times that we vote on this, FY16 budget, innovation plan comes to SC, FY17...
committed to this not being another plan that is created and gathers dust on a shelf
considering innovation plan and timeline as part of the process

Petty assures that money will come from city for this program
Biancheria: makes a difference at how she looks at it

Passes 6-1, O'Connell opposed.
Coverage by the T&G here

Governance report

Regarding "school of choice"
  • give schools a chance to present on Ch 11
  • create a video for realtors
  • asking for time of next survey
  • asking for open houses for grade 5
  • highlighting successes on Ch 11 and a quadrant newsletter (which we received the first edition of today)
regarding Title I parent council
  • requesting parent organizations and parent involvement at CPPAC
regarding H3793
  • letter of support going to administration
regarding social media policy
  • passed as amended

Student Discipline report

and we have a PowerPoint which isn't online; I'll post photos later. Backup we had ahead is here
Boone: important to implement ch 222 with fidelity; direction to Legislature and examination of our procedures
The new student discipline law has the express purpose to: 
  • Limit the use of long-term suspension as a consequence for student misconduct until other consequences have been considered and tried as appropriate. 
  • Promote engagement of a student’s parent/guardian in discussion of the student’s misconduct and options for responding to it. 
  • Assure that every student who is expelled or suspended, regardless of the reason for suspension or expulsion, has the opportunity to receive education services to make academic progress during the period of suspension or expulsion. 
  • Keep schools safe and supportive for all students while ensuring fair and effective disciplinary practices.
Rodrigues: educational services must be provided to students during the disciplinary period; make sure they can make educational progress
schools must develop an education service plan for all students who are suspended from school for more than 10 consecutive days
Communciation to parents has to include offense, basis of charge, potential consequences, opportunity for hearing & information about hearing (including interpreter)

yearly report to DESE on students excluded for more than 10 days (broken down)
districts and schools with significant disparities in explusion shall develop and implement a plan

Suggested revisions:
  • student on student assault should be considered under 37H (latitude to suspend for longer)
  • long term suspensions should carry over to the next year (thus a suspension in spring now goes only to the end of the school year; suggestion is to carry over to the next year). Boone notes further than those suspended in the first half of the school year have to serve the full time; those in the spring don't.
  • emergency removals cannot exceed two days; due process hearing may need longer for contacting guardians; conducting hearing; takes assistant principals away from other duties. Need more flexibility in timeline to ensure due process
  • 10 days for in-house; but in-house keeps them in school
  • right to appeal within 5 days: not enough time for parents or for Superintendent to schedule
District suspensions have been in decline for a number of years already; predates the law change
has been a steady decline in single suspensions, 2-4 day suspensions, 5-9 day suspensions, and 10 or more
same is true in elementary

highest ranked in infractions (not suspensions) inappropriate behavior (both elementary and secondary schools)
Boone: principals have been an integral part of influencing, implementing policy
sorry, no notes on comments tonight

WPD grant for communication

letter of intent for a grant for a communication system for Mutualink 
installed in two of our schools as a pilot
secure communication between school and WPD
voice, video, text
radios, phones, and mobile devices
duration of 12 months
school department would add contract to WPS budget $1200 for two schools
collaborative approach for a safer school
open to public comment
(in response to a query) comments could be heard with line open, but no recording
Sorry, I was trying to keep up with questions and such. T&G covers it here. 

Ohio calls for shortening PARCC, moratorium on accountability measures

More from Ohio: their Senate Advisory Committee last night released their PARCC report:
State Sen. Peggy Lehner, who created the committee, said the group of teachers, superintendents and legislators unanimously made several recommendations Wednesday.
Among them:
- Cut the new tests from one round (in February and March) and a second round (in April and May) to just one round in May.
- Make them shorter.
- Wait three years until people are comfortable with the new state and Common Core standards and tests before holding students, schools or teachers accountable for poor scores.
- Let the Ohio Department of Education decide which vendor should provide the tests.

Worcester School Committee meets tonight

With apologies for the last posting on this; busy week!

The Worcester School Committee meets tonight at 7. You can find the agenda here.

Out of order, a few things of public interest (and possible public comment):

  • we are holding our annual (state-required) school choice hearing and vote. Note that this is school choice INTO the district; school choice OUT of the district, we are state-mandated to allow. This is a hearing, so the public is welcomed to address this issue.
  • we are also holding a hearing on the Worcester Police Department's grant application for the Mutalink communication system. Please note that this is NOT a hearing on cameras; while cameras may be involved such a system, the entire camera issue still awaits a legal opinion. Again, this is a public hearing at which people are welcome to testify. 
  • we also are scheduled to vote tonight on the proposed Advanced Academy; the item's phrasing is "To vote for a planning year for a “Pilot Innovation Academy,” according to the approved timeframe."
  • tonight the report of the superintendent is the implimentation of the student discipline policy. You may remember that this was revised last year in line with the changes of Chapter 222 of Mass General Law. This is very timely, as the Joint Committee on Education takes up the proposed revisions next Wednesday. 
  • Our Boston Globe Scholastic Art & Writing award winners are coming in!
  • Clark Street would like to name their library after Eileen Barbieri.
  • Governance is reporting out from their Tuesday meeting.
  • We have a response back on how the positions added at North High were funded.
  • We are being asked to approve a prior year payment due to a non-working gas meter (caught by the Budget office).
  • We have a number of recognitions to set dates for. 
  • We're going to have to raise lunch prices again (that's going to F&O).
  • Miss Biancheria wants to have a safety summit.
  • She's also interested in the allocation of funding for channel 11.
  • And I'm asking that we support the bill proposed by Rep. Fernandes that would set up a state emergency account for ELL students who enroll midyear. 
We have two items in executive session: a worker's comp case and collective bargain strategy (health insurance).

And speaking of Holyoke

Do go read EduShyster on Holyoke
(with my thanks for the shout-outs)

Holyoke letter from Commissioner

Yesterday, Holyoke received the following:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Joint Committee on Education hearings

Full letter posted here.

Wednesday, May 6 10:00AM (Room)A2
   School Climate & Safety; Student Discipline

Tuesday, May 12 10:00AM A2
   ELLs & At Risk Students

Tuesday, May 26 10:00AM A2
   Accountability & Charter Schools

Wednesday, June 3 10:00AM A1

Thursday, June 11 10:00AM A2
   Assessments & Technology

Wednesday, June 17 10:00AM A1
   Special Education

Wednesday, July 8 10:00AM A2
   SPED Finance

Wednesday, July 15 10:00AM A2
   Collaboratives, Regional Schools, Transportation, Voc-Tech & SBA

MASC President Patrick Francomano

After the running of this week, my computer wasn't fully charged and thus I didn't get to blog everything. Thus a few tweets from Pat Francomano's speech:

Two incidents today: near Worcester Tech & Burncoat

We've received the following from the Superintendent:

After 1:00 pm today, a call was dispatched to the WPD reporting five males in a car in the student parking lot at Worcester Technical High School.  The males were students of WTHS and were in possession of pellet guns and knives.  The students were all arrested without incident.  The arrested students will undergo a disciplinary process according to protocol for Worcester Public Schools.  Unrelated to the incident, WTHS was practicing lockdown procedures at the same time.

In a separate and unrelated incident, a WPS police liaison had been monitoring a suspicious individual in the vicinity of Burncoat High School.  At 2pm on Tuesday, the liaison noticed the individual again, ACROSS THE STREET FROM BURNCOAT HIGH SCHOOL, with a student from Burncoat High School.  When the pair noticed the liaison, they ran towards the woods near Dennis Drive and Burncoat Street, and discarded something.  The liaison found a loaded handgun in that area.  The police liaison and other officers continued to apprehend the individuals and arrest them.  As a result of the incident, Burncoat Middle School, Thorndyke School and Wawecus School implemented light lockdown procedures.  Those lockdowns were lifted once WPD had the suspects in custody.  Parents of all schools will receive a Connect-Ed message from the principals of the impacted schools.

MASC Day on Hill: updates from legislators

Posting as we go (once we start) Twitter hashtag is #MASCDoH

House is meeting in caucus this morning, then deliberating budget this afternoon

First up, Senator Chang-Diaz, Senate chair, Joint Committee of Education
priorities in the education committee for the term ahead
work is just getting under way: first hearing of education next week
issue of funding is something that doesn't end up coming through Education, but comes through Ways and Means, but leadership provided; provides priorities
Ch. 70, special ed circuit breaker, reimbursement for charter schools, McKinney-Vento, regional transportation, wraparound services, regional transportation...all budgetary priorities
Foundation budget review commission held hearings, now meeting
"What is the cost to educate a child in Massachusetts?"
then how do we divvy up the pie? who pays for it?
"what are some of the things we know now that we didn't know in 1993?"
have heard you loud and clear: appreciate "the years of difficult work you have done" in dealing with foundation budget that hasn't been keeping up with your costs
impact of health care costs
grappling with poverty, social emotional things that come with that
report is an interim step; will be taken up by Legislature and Governor
making sure that views of SC's are represented
"specific and actionable"
priority of early ed: can really move the dial in costs and in outcomes
expect to see some work on that
reducing regulation: state mandates, being conservative with new ones, looking at old ones
"I know that there's some fist shaking that goes on with Department of Education" in terms of reports required by them; "you should know that they feel the same way about the Legislature"
eye on regulations that have happened in the past few years and how implimentation is going
Q: charter cap? (This question from Devin Sheehan, vice-chair, Holyoke)
"it's a big unknown...17 bills before the committee that have to do with charter schools with one way or another"
"ongoing vivid debate"
"I don't see any major shifts in this building"
"my district is even divided over this...I'm willing to consider targeted way to raise the cap, if we can do in a way that doesn't harm children" in the system
Q: support for METCO?
Goes through budget, not through education
budget is a competitive process, have to come in and advocate
Chang-Diaz points out that tax credits don't have advocacy around budget time; worth considering

Senator Benjamin Downing being recognized as Legislator of the Year
"have to say I think this is rigged" as he represents 32 communities "which is a lot of school committees"
"if I have one plug on the policy side..." Demographics of Berkshires: poorer, older..."how to figure out how to get from where we are to where we'd like to be" isn't easy
Getting over that first hurdle isn't easy
"should be a process by which we can come up with regional plans...districts that make sense for the future"
will add to Chang-Diaz: benefit of income tax cut went predominately to highest earners
in next few years will have cut most progressive tax and majority of benefit of that will flow to top income earners

Senator Karen Spilka, Senate Ways and Means
(former Ashland School Committee member)
"I know how hard your job is...I know those who are on the front lines, I know how hard your job is."
some of the same guiding principles she worked on that we're working on today (on the foundation budget)
"proud that our education system leads the nation"
"acknowledge that we can always do better"
"do need to provide the tools and resources to provide for kids to prepare for future careers"
"education I can tell you remains a top priority for me" on budget
"it's what got me in the door here"
making families more self-sufficient
"make sure that it's a compasionate budget"
make targeted investments to get returns on investments
Q: school infrastructure: MSBA funding
"aging buidlings..."
Spilka: "I think where the School Building Authority is now is a vast improvement"
Q: lack of broadband...rurality factor in foundation budget
Spilka: one of the major reasons I got involved is equitable funding
even "separate from schools, we need to just do it" [broadband]

Rep. Jay Kaufman
"fair share" commission: wealthiest paying smallest share of income in tax
will be on 2018 ballot
"we have a very unfair tax system"
"my understanding of economics, we have a regressive tax system"
whenever we have
working to create a more fair tax system: invite you into the conversation
"there's enough money out there, but" not coming after it the right ways
"this is by way of asking for your help"

Rep. Alice Peisch, House Chair, Joint Committee on Education
passionate advocacy for public education: how to get there and how to address some of the persistent problems that we have had over the years raises at times some conflicts
hope that the legislation that comes out of the Committee lies where the consensus lies
"nothing more important than communication"
"more challenging budget year than anticipated"
hoping that Foundation Budget Review Commission will have "practical implications," though she cautions that she doesn't know where the money is coming from (interesting: no mention of the above from Kaufman, Chang-Diaz, and Downing)
Joint Committee on Education starts meeting next week (which I've posted here and will also post as a separate item) and they hope to get through most of the bills filed with them by summer break; if not, they'll finish in the fall.
Q: kindergarten grant
Peisch notes House funded Quality K grant at end-of-FY15 levels (thus after the midyear budget cuts). Was intended to increase access to full day K and improve quality; more than 90% of districts now have K, districts should plan to transition out
Q: preK
Peisch: looking at ways to increase access across the state. Mixed delivery system shows promise

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Please come to a PARCC meeting

A reminder: first one is this afternoon:

Proposed autism regs

are now out for comment.

K-12 Board of Ed ON HOLYOKE

Blogging to start once the meeting does
Sagan clarifies that public testimony is being taken on everything other than Holyoke, since Holyoke was taken last night. Sagan comments that 65 people spoke last night.

Joint Boards meeting: PARCC

Presentation is not online
Chester: cites 70% of MA students entering MA colleges that are in state colleges
2 of 3 students in community colleges are in at least one remedial course

Joint meeting of K-12 Board of Ed and Higher Ed board

currently discussing "Cross Sector initiatives"
conversation around dual enrollment in high schools and college

MASC's statement on Holyoke

I'll see if I can turn up the whole thing, which I only have on paper, but a quote:

In fact, Holyoke needs such a Marshall Plan where political forces and private interests ate mobilized to provide social and economic stimuli; what it does not need is Anshluss wherein it is seized, managed by those without a working understanding of its people, and reformatted without the consent of its citizens.
Update: Full statement is here 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Holyoke state takeover hearing

I we're having public address issues; the chair's mic is very scratchy and dull
posting as we go
Bit of a delay here as we try to figure out how anyone is going to be heard if the Chair's mic doesn't work
They've turned off the sound system; Sagan has come to the front of the stage to opening the meeting. Chester's introduction meets with boo's; the rest with scattered applause.

House takes up budget debate today

The Mass House takes up the budget for debate today; passage is expected by the end of the week.
Then on to the Senate!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Meetings next week (with UPDATE from the Council agenda)

More to come on both of these, but both the Governance subcommittee and the full School Committee meet next week.
Governance meets on Tuesday at 5. This includes an update of the employee social media and computer use policies (which has been on here since last June), updates on making WPS the school of choice, the question of having a Title I parent council, and Rep. O'Day's H3793 on health education.
The full Committee meets on Thursday at 7 (6 for Executive Session). The report of the superintendent is on the school disciplinary policy. Remember that there is also the public hearing on the proposed grant for security communication between schools and policy, as well as the vote on the proposed IB school.

UPDATE: Also, I see from the Council agenda that we've hit the annual "I'm on City Council, but I'm doing School Committee's job" season:
Request City Manager obtain information/reports from the appropriate departments prior to this year’s budget as to the cost(s) and feasibility of implementing full-time Worcester Police Officer(s) and/or metal detector(s) in each of our public high schools and the current costs/expenses associated with security measures thereat. (Bergman, Rosen)
A) not the City Manager's (or the City Council's) job and B) (multiple reviews of the research reveal) not something that actually makes schools (or ballparks) safer.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Security/communication grant on agenda

On next week's agenda:

gb #5-132  -  Administration
To receive public comment regarding the School Committee’s support of the Worcester Police Department’s interest in obtaining a grant to support technology for enhanced communications between the Worcester Public Schools and the Worcester Police Department and vote to approve the application process.

This will be the first item taken up on the public agenda (after recognitions), so do come if you have comments to make. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Chester is already interviewing receivers for Holyoke (Board meets Tuesday)

According to the memo from Commissioner Chester to the Board of Ed ahead of Tuesday's meeting:
I have been meeting with potential receiver candidates who bring demonstrated and successful experience to this endeavor.
 Not waiting for the vote or anything...

The full agenda of the Board of Ed is here
Monday night is the public hearing in Holyoke at Holyoke War Memorial Building, 310 Appleton Street, Holyoke; it starts at 4.
Tuesday morning from 9-11 is a joint meeting with the Board of Higher Ed at Fitchburg State, where they will discuss joint initiatives and PARCC.
From 11-2, the K-12 Board is having their regular meeting with an update on Holyoke and a possible vote on receivership, proposed autism endorsement for special education licensure (that would be going out for public comment), an update on Level 5 schools, and an update on FY16 (as the House budget is out).

Who is doing the opting out?

The New York Times ran a story earlier this week about opting out of standardized testing, widely blaming/crediting (depends on your perspective) teachers' unions with fueling the trend:
After several years in which the teachers' unions have been hammered on the issue of tenure, have lost collective bargaining rights in some states and have seen their evaluations increasingly tied to student scores, they have begun, with some success, to reassert themselves using a bread-and-butter issue: the annual tests given to elementary and middle school students in every state.
I was amazed by the laziness of this reporting, honestly, right down to the pro-forma quote by Jonah Edelman from Stand for Children.  No mention of United Opt Out, not a single quote from a parent, no conversations with really reads like phoning it in.
This did lead to some interesting responses, including Andy Smarick's about how ed reform responds to opting out; he urges his compatriots not to repeat their mistake of dismissing critics as they've done with the Common Core.
Secretary Duncan, at the Education Writers of America, commented that opting out may require federal action:
On Tuesday, when asked whether states with many test boycotters would face consequences, Duncan said he expected states to make sure districts get enough students take the tests.
“We think most states will do that,” Duncan said during a discussion at the Education Writers Association conference in Chicago. “If states don’t do that, then we have an obligation to step in.”

 I will leave it to others to debate the relative constitutionality of that. I will, however, point out that pulling federal funds, which is about the only consequence open to the federal government, will only continue to widen the rich/poor divide, as it is poorer districts that receive the majority of federal funds.
Possibly related, Senator Tester of Montana filed an amendment to the ESEA renewal that would strike the requirement for grade testing.
Finally, Bruce Baker points out that massive opt out has already happened by parents who don't send their kids to public school, thus all comparisons are moot already.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

PARCC may merge two tests into one

News out of Ohio this week:
PARCC officials told Ohio's Senate Testing Advisory Committee on Testing Wednesday night that they are working on a proposal to combine their "Performance Based Assessments," which are given earlier in the year, with their "End Of Year" exams given near the end of the school year. 
Jeff Nellhaus, chief of assessment for PARCC, said officials recognize that parents and schools are upset with the number of hours that PARCC needs for both rounds of tests. 
"We're seriously looking at this," Nellhaus said. "This isn't a bunch of happy talk. We have heard what you all are saying."
(And yes, that is former DESE official Jeff Nellhaus, who works for PARCC now.)
Expect to hear this come up at the Board of Ed.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Worcester School Committee for the rest of the year

Here's the schedule:
April 30, 2015

May 7, 2015
May 21, 2015

June 4, 2015 (4:00 p.m.)*
June 18, 2015 (4:00 p.m.)*

July 23, 2015 (4:00 p.m.)

August 20, 2015 (4:00 p.m.)

September 3, 2015
September 17, 2015

October 1, 2015
October 15, 2015

November 5, 2015
November 19, 2015

December 3, 2015
December 17, 2015

*Budget hearing begins at four, followed by executive session at 6, a regular meeting at 7, then back to budget (on June 18) until the budget is completed, if necessary.

Familiar name pops up in astroturf

I don't know if anyone in Worcester remembers former Stand for Children organizer Maggie Paynich. She's just popped up on the national astroturf scene  as one of StudentFirst's paid astroturf bloggers (scroll down to "Seeding the Field").

"Higher education is a vision, not a calculation."

Thanks to Professor Jack Schneider for sharing "A Scholar's Quest," remarks made by Professor James March to a faculty seminar at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
A university is only incidentally a market. It is more essentially a temple —a temple dedicated to knowledge and a human spirit of inquiry. Itis a place where learning and scholarship are revered, not primarily for what they contribute to personal or social well being but for the vision of humanity that they symbolize, sustain, and pass on.
Do go read all of it.

Governance scheduled for April 28

For those following policy issues: there is a Governance subcommittee meeting now posted for April 28 at 5 pm for the DAB fourth floor conference room.

Why to study the liberal arts

From Nicholas Kristoff

(with bonus quote from John Adams)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Jonathan Kozol in Cambridge on May 6!

Jonathan Kozol is speaking on "Race, Poverty, and the Corporate Invasion of our Public Schools" at First Parish in Cambridge on May 6! 

A few notes on the House budget

The FY16 Massachusetts House budget was posted yesterday, and it's (mostly) good news:
  • Chapter 70 is fully funded (we'd all hope that the state meets its legal obligation here, but it's good to check). It's also up $2.8M, as they're increasing minimum per pupil increases to $25/pupil.
  • Quality Kindergarten is back! The House has it set at $18,589,713 which is within a dollar of the projected spending (see [on all of these] "Historical Spending" tab) for FY15. That would mean that it's being restored to the level after the midyear cut; it would be helpful to have it all the way back.
  • Governor Baker's proposed grant merger isn't in here! Scroll your way down into the 7010 accounts and following, and you'll see that the Gateway Cities, ELL, literacy and so forth all have funding level restored, and the Partnership Schools Network account is cut by $9.5M. That's not only important to those programs--and thanks to the reps for listening!--but it also questions this centralizing of power at DESE that was clearly being anticipated by the Commissioner and Secretary. 
  • Circuit breaker funding for extraordinary special education spending is up another $8M, getting us closer to full funding (always tricky to declare, since it's a reimbursement based on submitted receipts). 
  • Regional school transportation is up $5M from the Governor's budget.

  • There's also some cuts from the Governor's budget (and if anyone can explain any of these, I'd be interested!): $3,355 from the Secretary's office (which is more than a rounding error, but not enough to do much). $188,245 from DESE as a whole. 
  • $1.7M from a $2.7M budget for School-to-Career Connecting Activities, which has had stable funding at that $2.7M level for a number of years
  • $879,826 from Adult Education, which is about a $30M account; that will knock it down below this year's projected spending
  • Student and School Assessment is brought down to FY14 levels, a cut of $5M statewide.
  • It also zeroes out two lines that were added by the Governor's budget: $500,000 for implementing educator evaluation and $200,000 for School Safety and Supports.
More to come if or when I have it!

Councilors vocally supporting education

A bit late on this post, but in the interest of giving credit where due...

At Tuesday night's Worcester City Council meeting, there was some outspoken support for education in discussing the FY16 budget. An item filed by Councilor Gaffney recommended that the city either not raise taxes at all, or if they were raised, to direct the funding to OPEB, or OPEB, police, and fire; oddly, it appears that Gaffney was partly justifying this based on an assertion that chapter 70 was cut last year and wasn't this year, which is untrue (it was fully funded both years).
The following was said by other councilors in response (and my thanks to Worcester Magazine reporter Tom Quinn, who liveblogged the meeting; all quotes taken from his notes):

Councilor Economou: As a district councilor I think it's premature to make that commitment when the majority of calls I get are about streets, sidewalks, playgrounds, schools.

Councilor Rushton:This is about numbers. Nothing more than numbers. If there is not the 2.5 percent increase, it means 15 million will not be there to fund services. The order is kind of wishy washy – it says don't raise it, but if you do, I want it to go to three categories – police, fire, OPEB. You're eliminating WPS. The 15 mil will be coming out of the classroom.

Mayor Petty;We're not going to do the fire and police motion at the expense of teachers, public works, city hall administrative offices.

Councilor Rosen: The schools are short teachers. I know what it's like to teach in schools without sufficient numbers.

Councilor Rivera: The facts are, when you break this down, we're cutting public works, police, firefighters, teachers.

Now, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and so we won't draw any conclusions on this until we see the actual FY16 budget. As has been pointed out a couple of times already this spring, the required contribution of the city to WPS for FY16 went up by $1.6M; usually it goes up by more like $3M. Thus this would be an excellent year for the city to make up ground on underfunding the schools. We remain $3M under minimum school spending; if the city doesn't start to make up ground on that, and doesn't keep up the funding required for transportation, we could be looking at $4.5M or more underfunded for next year.

I'm encouraged by the words. I hope it's more than words.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Office hours!

For those of you who have been looking:

Office hours TOMORROW starting at 8:30 am at Nu Cafe on Chandler Street. 
I'll be there all morning!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Liveblogging: Foundation Budget Review Commission meeting

Posting from the Mass Bar Association, 16 Beacon Street. It looks as though the Commission is having a presentation from MassBudget today. Members of the Commission as originally constructed here; note that the Governor has turned over and that some send designees. 
Updating as we go.

Peisch: very very few rooms of this size at the State House (and all were booked)
reminder that meeting is being recorded
two presentations today on 'what works' when looking at effective and efficient policies
Rennie Center and MassBudget:
"a whirlwind tour of what works in education"
this is a surface level: "What we want to do is be useful to you all"
20th anniversary of Ed Reform on 1993
create a comprehensive vision of education: tried to say what does our entire educational system need
largely focused on schooling: K-12 education
"we now define education quite differently; we talk about what happens in school, but also what happens outside of school"
many of the reforms we're looking at take place outside the traditional school day
state expanding how it supports education: early education, innovation schools, educator evaluation
"state is grappling with an expanded definition of education"
early childhood education: large proportions of students not scoring proficient/advanced in third grade testing
serving less than 2/3rds of low income children who would benefit from high quality education
expanding access and improving quality
strong short and long term benefits: for kids, for parents, for economy (parents working, then kids going on to do better)
for all 3 and 4 year olds in MA under 200% of poverty:

I've got a photo of the chart to put in here:

other models: NJ has done a hybrid expansion of preschool (Abbott districts)
state fully funds full-day pre-kindergarden: funding goes to districts, which either does it or subcontracts it out
spend just under $13,000 a student
statewide average for K-12 in MA is $14,547
NIEER quality estimate for a full year, 9 hour day: $13,900
currently 1/2 day low income: $5,297 (base rate plus low income increment)
Q: implication that you need full day not half day? Any data that full day is neessary?
Schuster: providing information; helps family to have full day, not necessary role of school to provide that
Q: have we tracked comparable students as they go on?
response: childcare as well as education
we've now clarified the question!
yes, students who are in preschool (versus not) do benefit; there is data, 'though not the statewide evaulation of preschool (as there is no single statewide model of preschool)
Q: inputs here are clear; the you see anything that involves reducation of cost for special education
A: getting early prevents misclassification and gets in correct program early on
Schuster: a lot of the dollars are already being spent on early education; they're just being spent by parents, not the public
Early childhood Sec'ty: just starting to get some data on children now: "just a very small slice" of children in programs, though
Condition of children in
12% of kids absent 10% of days enrolled or more
10% or kids 16-24 are not in school or employed
9% of students transfer in or out of school in a year
children are bringing a complex set of issues into school: homelessness, poverty, mental health issues, etc
wraparound services: in school or around school
  • health services clinics
  • mental health services, prevention, wellness
  • family resource centers (homelessness, parental unemployement, etc)
  • school and district level coordination needed
need someone whose sole job it is to coordinate these services
"not asking teachers to be social workers"
need to be aligned with a strong academic program: stabilize food, shelter, health, then frees up kids to learn
increasing recognition that this matters: Tulsa (TACSI)
can't prescribe what programs are; responds to what needs of community are
achievement closed or significantly narrowed in fifth grade test scores
incredulity (from commission member): "if you can wipe out the gap in one year, then why do you need preschool?"
'cause maybe something other than test scores matter?!?
took significant work to get there
Reville: is it simply enough to optimize instruction in the school or does mitigating other issues have an impact?"
(and they do)
Chang-Diaz: not necessarily moving one kid over a year: snapshot
also "we're always happy to follow up"
whole school intervention versus schools that did not: no math gap and 75% elimination of reading test gap
Madeloni: what constituted a strong academic program? Had afterschool, had Head Start, "can't say what all of the interventions were"
can follow up
CityConnects model in Boston and Springfield run out of Boston College
"were found to have an impact on high school completion and rention", following a middle school intervention
operate in elementary, middle, high school
cost: $1312/students: health clinics, mental health, wellness, prevention, family resource centers, district and school level admin
suggestion from Early Ed Sec'ty that intervention could be in early ed and multiply impact
comment: read by grade three: have not mentioned anything about after kindergarten; suggestions that there's all kinds of tradeoffs
"what does each one cost, which does each one contribute?"
A: what are the core resources of this work? "provide resources to provide non-academic resources"
Reville: a fallacy that any of these are an inoculation
support provided in a year but then withdrawn loses the effect
which ones have the longest lasting impact if we can't afford to do all
Chelesa super: have to be careful in looking for that magic bullet
"and it's at every age bracket that we need wraparound services"
Q: what does the $1312 include?
A: a mix and match of outcomes in the field (from Columbia Teachers' College in health clinics, KY family resources adjusted to MA dollars...)
but was not an effort to look at what dollars exist in the system and are currently being used in this way
Increased learning time: low income children not getting rich out of school learning that higher income peers are: $1450 to $9800 per family (comparing lowest 20% to highest 20% by family)
"need to do new things with that time...can't just do the same thing longer"
time is also for teachers to collaborate
improved academic engagement with enrichment
small group tutoring
also works well with wraparound services
Nearly all turnaround schools have done some sort of extended learning time, but it hasn't always worked the same
Orchard Garden: working with children with community partners, teachers twice amount of time to collaborate
supported MCAS score growth
"It shouldn't be thought of as three years and then it's done for life"
"the money is gone, but the kids are coming in with the same challenges"
Peisch asks if the drop off happened when fund went away
Reville: another case of providing services until improvement, then withdraw them 'and hope the growth continues'
for Orchard Gardens: $1651 (plus $1640 from Citizen Schools)
after school in LA $1747
summer learning $1440 for BELL summer program
High Schools:
multiple pathways to a diploma: flexible schedule, muliple ways to earn credit
more personalized learning, remediation, socio-emotional interventions, applied learning
increase completion rates
The Creamer center (hey, WPS!), Gateway to College at Massoit CC, Drury High Learning Lab, and I can't read the last one; inserting chart, which you probably won't be able to read, either. I'm going to see if I can dig it up:

per pupil costs estimates 2011-12 (not full costs)
"something that costs as high as what the Creamer costs to provide would not fit into the current per pupil expense model" I think I got that right
early college designs: early college credit in high school, but also early ID of academic needs and college counseling
looked at Amesbury High/Northern Essex CC; Winchendon High/Mt Wachusett CC; Marlboro High/mulitple partners
in some of these models, parents are funding; if not through grants, college, federal funding
creating flexibility to enable these strategies provides new opportunities
Q: raising age of requred attendance impact? No impact on graduation rate in states that have done it
athletics as an enrichment opporutnity


Presentation from the Revere Public Schools, Paul Dakin, Superintendent

80% poverty, when MCAS started was 7th from bottom, now all Level 1 and 2 schools
"part of the reason why are fiscal, but part is consistency with administration and consistency in policy with school committee"
have been superintendent for 14 years
"have embraced education reform"
"first from a foundational belief perspective"
philosophical: when we can agree to something, moral imperative goes on the table: "what is best for kids"
"has saved a lot of noise"
continuity and the successes we've had bring people back
"see in my head the vast degree of need...of children who are struck with poverty"
force of parents,
"some of prime elements of wraparound services are critical"
"with $7000 more, to people who believe that money doesn't matter, we could do it"
"part of this is economic"
look at income: "can work down costs and investigate the avenues you have"
not many ways to maximize income anymore
foundation budget, local contribution, not as many competitive grants as there used to be
work to pull kids back from private schools: "have enough choice in the district that you don't need to go elsewhere"
"it's a determined strategy and it's a real strategy"
parents won't think to send child without a rigorous system
philosophical belief that all kids can learn and work on that
how efficient we can be; most cost
agreement that if they took over transportation, they could keep any money that they saved
keep life skils students in district
adding programs for children with autism: "space is becoming an issue"
"can educate them in the community"
have children appreciate those academic and social differences
restructured administration: redesigned to put administrators working in curriculum working on the floor
adminstrators are "managing student life on the floor so order can prevail"
"guides in the school with teachers working with teachers so they have to collaborate"
"probably have five times the social workers that we had five years ago...that's not lower class size, can go to the classroom...and aren't wrestling with their own inabilities"
felt needed School Resource officers "students were running the asylum"
rubs off on the community in the sense that kids get a different sense of what an officer is like
building resiliancy; what baggage kids come in with
working to build not only in kids but also in teachers in dealing with it
cultural competency so as not to alienate parents and families
"bit the bullet in any sort of expansion we could" and put full day kindergarten in place
"there are penalties for success that we're experiencing"
becoming Level 1 and 2 takes DESC (?) money from us that allowed us to get there and now those moneies are taken away
expanded learning time in three schools
have an innovation school that tinkered with time a bit
...and each of them have worked.
struggle with TFA: teachers were great for the two years they had them, then they left; long term need for buy in with teachers who have the professional development
going to be crossing a path with income versus cost in ELT schools
teacher degrees go up; salaries go up; grant never goes up: has always told teachers never to count on ELT funding
getting to a point where the people who are already in the program can't provide the services
25% more time for 18% of the salaries for ELT; brought in Citizen Schools for expanded time so teachers could collaborate
"that's a predicament we're in and I think every ELT school is"
student-center learning environment with heavy doses of technology
"if we don't progress...we don't take that task in the next few years...I have students ready to have conversations on how to improve their work at the fifth grade"
Q: put your testimony in the lead with Worcester "there's some cause for optimism"
where are you with foundation? At (I checked; Revere is 7.6% over for FY15; they were last under in FY11)
with exemplary results as you have, and you spend at foundation, isn't that enough?
No, we're still missing children.
transient population is growing
immigrant population of older children who are nearly illiterate in their own language
"now have a line item in my budget for newcomers academy"
Q: you're still underspending foundation budget on instructional categories
money is going to health insurance instead
"That's one of the things I can't fix, though: YOU people can fix it!"
"That has to be in your recommendations not mine"
Super in Chelsea: "don't want commission to lose sight that Paul has been able to do that because of the ELT grant"
"what's the sustainable predicable funding streams for schools?"
Chang-Diaz: what are the numbers that you're hitting in Revere?
95% or so making it through MCAS on their first taking it in tenth grade; kids who don't make it first time in many cases were not in Revere through most of school
programs for kids who have the goal of getting them to where they need to be
Foundation Budget isn't moving fast enough to keep up with student population
Q: is Revere a minimum aid community? No (because it's a foundation aid community)
Q: what is the relationship with the city? A: School Committee has been very proactive, city is very much in the equation; does not have a great tax base
"there is more than an urban education dilemma; it's an education dilemma"
Title I grants; that's millions of dollars
competitive grants: "there aren't any out there"
Q: what's appropriate to go out in grants versus go out in foundation budget?
A: more philosophical: districts best running with teachers and administrators going together
MCAS is one of the reasons Revere improved itself
"but I don't like holding people accountable without giving them the decision making powers"
put money into places where teachers have some decision making over the program
Q: sense of scale for grants: less than 5% of budget
Q: building philosophical together: some people came slow to the four R's
still soe nay-sayers here and there
early on it was not easy; just have to stay persistent
"it's a lot of work to change a culture of learning"
Chang-Diaz: is there a way to operationalize that?
A: "school committee is an essential role..if they're not there, it's not going to happen"
"if there's no noise from a school committee--if there's no day-to-day noise--if they're in the boat and on the team"
way getting lost with the metaphors...
"begins with the superintendent who is working with the school committee"
Schuster: what's a core program and what's outside the foundation budget
recognition of the add ons
"is that expanded program allotment adequate? ...and is the model we have the right model?"
on the difficulty in finding superintendents "the best don't want the hassle of the job"
"they were saying 'I don't need the aggrevation'"
"they don't want to accept the hassle...and I say 'the hassle' and not 'the challenges'"
Chelsea super: the animosity of the media and the public on the profession

Peisch: process moving forward
looking for a 2/3rd vote on recommendations that will move forward
That recommendation passes

members have been asked to share recommendations to move forward
common denominator: interest to address benefits and special education
if there is interest, a draft recommendation for next meeting
asking for all further recommendations by Friday, so all recommendations may be put together and discussed at next meeting
"reasonable to take on in the time we have left"
concern from MASC president Patrick Francomano: "continually skirted around some of the other major issues"
concerned that those issues will not be dealt with
"to me that is not necessarily representative of what we're supposed to be about"
Peisch: "I'm fairly hopeful that we will not spend an awful lot of time discussing" sped and health care at the next meeting
interest in addressing low income in some way, interest in addressing how dollars are most effectively and efficiently spent
Q from Francomano: have we rejected the idea that every element of the formula should be recalculated?
Peisch: I don't know that we have explicitly rejected that
Chang-Diaz: recall hearing some dialogue at first meeting
Q: will go systematically through the categories?
Peisch: had anticipated
Chang-Diaz: "we'd like to hear from you guys! I imagine that some of you are going to have more crisp and articulated proposals"...and some will be questions
Q: what happened to consultant?
RFP put out; no responses, then freeze put on spending
Q: hoping that every school and district could be laid out under foundation budget: how many nurses, how many counselors
Peisch has been very responsive, looking at spending at every district is a lot
Q: not the spending: what if every district could have what the foundation budget called for
Q: do we need to be done by June?
Peisch: could probably squeeze in another meeting before then; why don't we see where we are at the next meeting
Jehlen: would like to see what is being suggested so far

NEXT MEETING: May 5, 10 am, at the State House (room TBA)

Boston proposing merit bonuses for administrators

From yesterday's BPS newsletter:
Superintendent John McDonough has proposed a reform of the salary structure for the district's principals and headmasters, the latest in a number of initiatives aimed at closing achievement gaps for Black and Latino students.   The new structure would allow Boston to better compete for top talent and provide incentive to retain high performing school leaders. Principals and headmasters who earn a proficient or exemplary rating in their annual evaluations would qualify for a three or four percent increase. Those who rate proficient or better for five or more consecutive years would receive bonuses to recognize their talent and as an incentive to stay in BPS.
Salaries for school leaders serving fewer than 800 students would begin at $122,000. Salaries for school leaders serving more than 800 students would begin at $142,500. Currently, the starting salary for a BPS school leader ranges between $105,000 and $120,000.
On the plus side, because the Mass evaluation system for administrators has multiple parts, this isn't just going to be the "raise test scores, get a bonus" model that has led to such issues elsewhere. On the other hand, merit pay proposals are usually not a fantastic idea. There's also not a lot of evidence that it does "recognize...talent."

Friday, April 10, 2015

Upcoming things to weigh in on

A few things were sent off last night that you may wish to weigh in on:
  • the student policy handbook was sent to Governance. We consider the whole student policy manuel every year. This has the homework policy, the dress code, the code of conduct, the recess policy...much of students' days are within the handbook. If you have something to share about that, let us know!
  • the summer reading list was sent to Teaching, Learning, and Student Support. WPS policy is that of student interest directed reading, with several projects (student choice) to be turned in upon returning to school in the fall. Again, get in touch if you have thoughts to share!
  • the shared FY16 budget priorities of the Worcester School Committee was sent off to administration. Our budget comes out to us (and the public) in May; it will be publicly considered on June 4 and 18 (and remember, those start at 4). We're already hearing from parents and others--which is great, as too often we don't!--so please get in touch if you have something to share! 
Also: we're scheduled to vote on the Advanced Academy on April 30!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

electronic communication training

Biancheria: report for either next meeting or first meeting in May
so we can look forward to training over the summer

FY16 Budget hearings

June 4 and June 18 at 4 pm

We're getting another food truck!

Donated by the Our Family Foundation from Stop & Shop and the Worcester County Food Bank

Teacher survey on PARCC

requested by Monfredo

And speaking of robotics

You should go see our Worcester teams at the District FIRST competition at WPI through Saturday!


...will be taken up in executive session on Wednesday, April 15 at 3 pm
(This is the "security" exception for execution sessions)

FY16 budgetary priority list

School Committee members were asked to submit their own lists. The following are the items that had more than one member submitting them.

  • ​​Class size (Petty, Biancheria, Monfredo, Ramirez)
  • More teachers [which may or may not be the same] (Petty, Foley, O'Connell)
  • Classroom supplies (Biancheria, Foley, Novick)
  • Advanced Academy (Petty, Foley)
  • More secondary classes/fewer studies (Petty, Monfredo)
  • Facilities (Petty, Novick)
  • Safety (Biancheria, Monfredo) [Foley added]
  • Support Personnel (Foley, Novick) [Ramirez added]

  • Monfredo: concern about attendance; Boone not a large budgetary impact
    Foley: add onto safety for conflict resolution

    Bianchera: the consolidation; understand why we would like to look at items that people are interested in
    appreciate addition of Foley to safety for conflict resolution but also for supplies
    asked for elimination of a particular position; concerned that in past years we have made statements on priority lists that blanketed a particular department
    don't think that I could be any more clear
    would like to see added to a priority list the cut of the communications position
    Boone: in response to eliminating the position, "I will remind the School Committee that I did provide information last fall"
    funded by Channel 11 funding; outside of School Committee purview as it is not in operational budget
    Biancheria: don't recall information being sent again

    Monfredo: 3rd grade reading level
    Boone: part of district improvement plan; "none of that has changed"
    seven point financial plan: "focus on the classroom"

    Ramirez: tutoring could go under support personnel

    Advanced Academy update

    From this written report
    Boone: Doherty location was chosen for ease of access citywide
    school would need 10-12 classrooms, when operating at full capacity
    was largest school in district at October 1 count
    adding Academy would exceed 1600 students (which is as full as it has every run)
    "operation at the existing Doherty" property is not an option at this time
    have already begun conversations around possible alternative space
    would still be affiated with Doherty

    innovation school process
    application made by eligible applicant; prospectus submitted to superintendent to be reviewed by screening committee
    principal and one teacher from volunteers in district; union would select their designee
    Vote at April 30 meeting

    Monfredo: hearing that Doherty doesn't have space
    "offer compromise; hold back funding for this year"
    consider innovation for 2015-17
    "not a need this year to have this proposal"

    Petty: this is important
    "have stated that we are not going to take funding away from other programs to create this school"
    Boone: enhancement to existing programs in district

    Novick: eligible applicant would be...assistant principal developing with committee
    where students to be enrolled still to be determined and will remain undetermined at time of School Committee vote
    location still be central, looking for proximity to Doherty

    Ramirez: additional dollars with innovation?
    (short version: no)
    other flexibilities: calendar, day, curriculum
    would we ever consdier partnering with a college for space?
    Boone: using all options; "higher education is not off the table"

    Biancheria: space before we decide what we're actually going to do for the budget?
    Boone: budget provided with initial proposal
    will have to be amended based on costs associated with a site that we don't learn
    costs of the planning year don't shift based on space
    Biancheria: do we have specifics for the science labs? Yes, updated labs in high schools
    "perhaps should consider multiple options"
    Boone: will be bringing back recommendation to the School Committee

    PARCC forums now have LOCATIONS!

    Just posted by DESE:

    And note: 
    Individuals who would like to speak must register when they arrive and will be given three minutes to speak within the time allotted. In addition to hearing testimony from members of the public, the forums may also include brief presentations from educators and others with particular expertise on topics such as test administration, college and career readiness, alignment with the curriculum frameworks, implications for classroom instruction, and online testing. Members of the public who are unable to testify at one of the forums are encouraged to submit written comments to

    Tuesday, April 7, 2015

    more to read on the Atlanta verdict

    You've no doubt caught that 11 of 12 Atlanta teachers and administrators were found guilty on various charges--mostly rackteering--around the cheating scandal. Note that the superintendent involved, Beverley Hall, died of cancer last month. Those found guilty, with the exception of one woman due to deliver a baby shortly, were immediately taken into custody.
    Also note that larger questions of why teachers might find themselves in such a situation largely have not been part of the national conversation (possibly except for this New Yorker story from last July).

    There's a whole lot going on here, so I'd recommend P.L. Thomas on the burden of the impossible, Jason Linkins about accountability in America, Richard Rothstein (likewise) on accountability but also numbers, Nancy Flanagan on power and control in test-cheating scandals, and José Vilson who pulls the identities of the teachers into the larger conversation around what our schools are facing.

    DFER connection to No Boston Olympics

    Nice catch by the Mass Political Profs bloggers on the DFER connection to No Boston Olympics (and a similar attitude towards funding transparency!)

    Second Annenberg report on black and Latino males in Boston Public Schools

    In a report that's being released tonight (5:30 at the BPS new Bolling building in Roxbury), the Annenberg Foundation, working in cooperation with the Center for Collaborative Education, found that:
    “Scholars suggest that being explicit about the impact of racism in schools and society and developing an antiracist school culture in which people of color feel a sense of belonging and empowerment will lead to better outcomes for students of color,” the report said. “In contrast to this wisdom, the predominant mindset about race and gender in the case study schools was one of invisibility.”
    You can read the Globe on this here.
    The study was commissioned by BPS under Superintendent Carol Johnson in 2013, and this is actually the second phase of the report. This phase was intended to report on (as the title suggests) practices that were working, but the researcher struggled to find ones. Instead, they more deeply explored where the schools and students are at now.
    For an introduction to critical race theory, see, for example, Delgado and Stefancic 

    The pressures around small school districts in Vermont

    Really interesting reading today from Vermont Public Radio on the pressures around small school districts in Vermont

    Monday, April 6, 2015

    Worcester School Committee meets Thursday

    The Worcester School Committee has the first April meeting this Thursday, April 8 at 7pm. You can find the agenda here.

    There are two things that may well be of general or continuing interest:

  • We are (finally) scheduled to set FY16 budgetary priorities. We were required to submit our ranked list last week; that has been shared with the committee members, and we'll be discussing this at the meeting. The budget comes out May 8.
  • We also have an facilities update on the Advanced Academy. It looks as though Doherty does not currently have room for it.

  • We are starting off the meeting with recognitions, and we have a TLSS subcommittee report to accept. We also have some personnel reports to accept.
    We have reports coming back on Read Across America day, on the Spring into Books book drive, and on internal v public documents.
    It's time to elect a delegate and an alternate to the MASC annual meeting.
    Mr. Monfredo asks if the testing calendar changed as a result of snow days (the response is we extended the window).
    Miss Biancheria is looking for an expert to talk about linking cameras to the police department, and also about budgetary means for additional positions at North. Also, she's interested in what training is giving to staff regarding electronic media use.
    Mr. Monfredo would like to recognize our facilities staff for their fine work this winter. He'd also like to set a date in October to meet with our delegation, and to encourage students to take part in the Worcester Bravehearts Home Run club (which I can't find anything about online).
    Mr. O'Connell would like to congratulation the Burncoat Green Reapers and the crew team.
    Mr. Monfredo wants to know if we can give preference to people who reside in Worcester in hiring (see MGL Ch. 71, sec. 38).
    We're being asked to declare as surplus a sliver of land directly next to Nelson Place School as part of the land swaps necessary to build the school. THIS IS NOT THE ASSUMPTION DEAL. This is essentially trading land with a neighbor to improve things for construction.
    We're going to be considering summer reading and new courses in TLSS and considering the student handbook in Governance (those meetings and specifics to come).
    And we have an executive session to consider a grievance. 

    Thursday, April 2, 2015

    Stop reading press releases and start reading spreadsheets, Mr. Secretary

    You  may have caught that Mass Secretary of Education Peyser was on Greater Boston with Jim Braude earlier this week. WGBH has done us all the favor of posting a transcript of the conversation along with the video.
    While we all knew that we now have a Secretary of Education who has no experience in teaching, what is apparent from this conversation is we also have a Secretary of Education who has no interest? experience? knowledge? of or in school or budgetary operations, either.

    Braude asked: Do you have enough money to do what you think needs to be done to close that achievement gap that Democrats and Republicans want to close?
    Peyser respondedSo I think we do have enough money.
    Then, after conceding that money matters, look what he uses as an example: 
     Using Lawrence as another example: The state went in there and basically did not spend a lot of new money but reallocated money out of the central office and put it back into the schools, and that’s the way in which we can go forward and get more out of what we’ve got.
    As I've posted previously, this is simply untrue. The year that the state put Lawrence into receivership, Lawrence was nearly $9 million under required spending. The next year, Lawrence was $1.3 million OVER required minimum spending. That swing of $10 million is certainly "a lot of new money."  There's no doubt it would make a difference on a budget of $155 million, which is where Lawrence started. 
    (And remember: you don't have to believe me; go download the Chapter 70 profile spreadsheet yourself.)
    Above, when responding to the question about enough money, the two numbers Peyser cites are the $100 million increase in state education aid and the $4.6 billion in state education aid total, both of which have been cited in about every press release I've seen on the budget. Those are, yes, both big numbers. They also are cited completely without any context.
    The context lacking is that of the various thoroughly researched reports that show the gap in funding, like MassBudget's Cutting Class. It is hardly news in Massachusetts that the settlement of the McDuffy suit is overdue for reconsideration, as it's undercalculated.
    This has also been the subject of hours and pages of testimony from districts across the state before the Foundation Budget Review Commission. Inflation, special education, and health insurance are drastically undercalcuated, and districts are either funding above foundation to cover it or cutting other areas--classroom areas--to cover it. The Secretary sits on that Commission. That he has missed the loud and clear message coming from districts makes it clear that his is an idealogical rather than thoughtful and researched position. 

    Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    TLSS meets today at 5:30

    The Teaching, Learning, and Student Supports committee meets today at 5:30 in the fourth floor conference room at DAB. You can find the agenda here.
    Items on service learning, an early warning system for dropouts, an expired bill on dress codes, and the Temporary Learning Center.
    I'm not going to be at that, but you can watch it live on Channel 11.