Monday, January 30, 2017

"Resolved that Massachusetts wears no chains and spurns all bribes"


My most recent review of this is taken from A History of Worcester, Massachusetts (on Google books here; start on page 1448), though it is in all of Worcester's histories of the time.

Worcester often touts itself as the home of the first national women's rights convention, and so its place in suffrage is a bit known. What has somewhat gotten lost is its importance in the fight over the abolition of slavery.
In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Law passed Congress as part of the Compromise of 1850 (the question of what to do with Kansas). This required those in free states to assist in the apprehension and return to slavery of those escaping it. Those not doing so could be jailed and fined. As home to many of the Free Soil party (those who wanted new states to come in as non-slaveholding), Worcester was loud in its offense.
In his inaugural address of the following year, Worcester Mayor Peter Bacon said the following in reference to the Fugitive Slave law:
If it be asked whether it is intended that the police shall, in its official capacity, aid in its enforcement, I answer No.
...and went on say that any officer so doing, he would recommend be removed from office.
Within three years this would be tested in a most public way.
The capture and return to slavery of Anthony Burns in Boston roused the city to indignation in May of 1854. Bells in the churches tolled and the flag on the Common was reversed and raised to half mast.
When it was learned that Asa Butman, the U.S. marshal who had apprehended Burns, was in Worcester in September, the Worcester Spy released the following:
When the crowd of volunteers watching his movements grew, surrounding his hotel, and Butman was seen with a pistol in hand, someone swore out a complaint, he was arrested for carrying a dangerous weapon. Upon his giving bail, Butman was so concerned by the crowd that he voluntarily put himself back into custody. A number of abolitionist saw to it that he reached the train station safely; when it was found that he had missed the train, he was put in a carriage with a vow that he would not return to the city.
So far as anyone knows, he never did.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

That's not how this works

A few notes about this latest round of "summon my fainting couch" on public safety! or funding! or something! in the Worcester City Council (yes, this does end up education related):

  • The data is very clear: sanctuary cities are both safer and more productive than cities that are not. Want a safer city? Make it a sanctuary. Want a more productive municipal economy? Make it a sanctuary city.
  • Federal funding is probably not under threat; there's actually some explicit barring of that sort of thing happening (plus, hey, Tenth Amendment). Also, the totals being cited keep including federal education funding like Title I, and that's explicitly not how those lines work. Federal funding for those come to the state via compliance with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now ESSA) and the state distributes those funds to schools under compliance with the state's plan. Worcester (or Somerville or Holyoke) doesn't directly get federal education funds: Massachusetts does. Then Massachusetts distributes them
And I don't expect everyone to know this. But you'd best learn it if you're going to be opining. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Worcester School Committee meets Thursday

The Worcester School Committee meets Thursday; you can find the agenda here.
The big news will be FY18, of course, but that report isn't yet posted.

However, there is some news for FY17; namely, that the city DID in fact forward $70,000 from free cash when they closed the fiscal year to assist in saving the kindergarten aides! We aren't there yet (if I'm reading this correctly, we're still $300,000 or so short?), but we've made progress.

In the process, some budget related news: FY17's statewide charter reimbursement line (identical to that proposed for FY18) was funded at only 46%, shorting Worcester $714,532 and the whole state by $54.2M.
There are some recognitions, retirements, appointments, and one resignation which is of note: Grace Howard-Donlin, who resigned effective last week, was the appointed director of the international baccalaureate program, and had been charged with planning that. It appears that the last gasps of a hope of any such program in Worcester have (once again) died.

There's a report on the charter school tuition assessment  (which maybe I need to re-read, because I'm not sure why this was being asked...)
There's responses coming back on the Space Monkey Challenge (and dangers thereof) and attempting to expand the AVID program.
There's a request for this year's incidents reports.
There's a request that math activities accompany summer reading lists (as they do already).
There's a request for a report on dual enrollment.
There's a request that Worcester's colleges perhaps kick in for Worcester's students AP exams.
The administration is sending the student handbook to subcommittee, and they are recommending these additional new classes:
High School:  Accounting 1; AP Seminar; Document Processing
Middle School:  Chorus; Dance Ensemble; Dance for Fitness; String Orchestra
Those will go to Teaching, Learning, and Student Support; there is as yet no description of any of them.
There are also requests that the School Committee accept donations of $292.20 and $1,212.49 for Woodland Academy and $400 for Forest Grove.

And the administration is requesting that the following schools and projects be forwarded to the MSBA: 
Burncoat High School: Window Replacements*
Elm Park Community School:  Window Replacements
Lincoln Street School:   Window, Roof and Boiler Replacements
Rice Square School:   Window Replacement
Thorndyke Road School:   Window Replacement

*Yes, this is the ridiculous idea that started circulating at the last school committee meeting that the secondary school that most needs rebuilding should just get windows.

PCBs remain in executive session; there is also collective bargaining with teachers and a grievance from an HVAC worker.

I'm going to try to make the budget report this go-round.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Novick Reports: January Board of Ed

The Board of Education held their annual joint meeting with the Board of Higher Ed at Bridgewater State University on Tuesday, January 24. They then held their own regular meeting.
The joint meeting focused on early college expansion, with a presentation of the recommendations of a joint effort over the past year, and a featuring of the early college work at Marlboro High School. The boards voted in favor of a resolution to create a recognized early college designation, with a joint board overseeing it. The effort is to focus on students who might not otherwise consider college, and programs will be required to offer at least 12 credits. There is, at this time, no financing to accompany the effort.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Novick Reports: Massachusetts plans for ESSA

cross-posted from the MASC site, as I thought having it here might be useful 
Also, read this EdWeek report on how states in general are responding
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education intends to submit their plan for implementation of ESSA to the Board at their March meeting, with submission to the federal government at their earliest due date in April. This would allow for a response by the U.S. DoE prior to the beginning of the next school year, such that districts would know the direction intended in implementation.
The plan thus far was the topic of the Board's special Monday night meeting, with some continued discussion on Tuesday morning. The presentation to the Board can be found here. A two page highlights of the plan can be found here. An executive summary is here.

Governor's budget is out

Very quick post to give you the big news, as much as there is any: the Governor's budget is now posted ("House 1" because it goes to the House now, as much as that's a confusing term for the Governor's budget). Thus, the preliminary (because they're also based on the Governor's budget) Ch.70 numbers are posted. (those are downloadable spreadsheets. Remember to unhide your macros.)

Here's the bit that's news: the health insurance line in the foundation budget isn't going up (and it is UP, not down, as that's a typo on the Ch.70 page) by the same 1.1% as the rest of the foundation. Instead it's going up by (quick calcuation) around 10%.

Important point, though: the language isn't doing anything other than sticking new dollar amounts in. It doesn't change the percentages, doesn't tie it to GIC or anything else, and thus isn't an implementation of the foundation budget recommendations. Here's what that section says:
The foundation budget rates for the employee benefits and fixed charges category will be increased to $414.79 for pre-school and half day kindergarten, $829.55 for full day kindergarten, $829.59 for elementary, $810.59 for middle school, $761.96 for high school, $3,259.68 for in-school special education, $505.99 for limited English pre-school and half day kindergarten, $1,002.45 for limited English all other grades, and $1,196.77 for vocational. All other foundation budget categories for each district shall be calculated in the same manner as in fiscal year 2017.
So, what does that do?
For the districts that are majority locally funded and are spending over foundation, it doesn't do much; their budgets would be going up this much, in any case. They're going to be looking at the minimum $20 per pupil increase in aid, rather than this (and remember how that works; I hope to do an update of that post soon).
For districts right at foundation that are majority state funded, it will boost their foundation budget (and through state aid).
Don't, however, let anyone tell you that the Governor just implemented an FBRC recommendation. This is a simple dollar increase.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Governor's budget eve

I'm glad we're not pretending that "unprecedented levels of education funding" or whatever are going to be the story of the day...
In the fall of 2015, a bipartisan Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC) found that the current formula understates costs — in particular, those for special education and employee health benefits — by as much as $2 billion a year. (The formula was set in 1993 and, by law, is supposed to be regularly retooled, but before the 2015 report, the state had not conducted a review for more than a decade.) 
Since schools still have to service students with disabilities and provide insurance to teachers and staff, that means finding funds elsewhere. As a result, teachers, principals and parents complain of “death by a thousand paper cuts,” Chang-Diaz said in an interview. 
“I hear things like a single social worker riding a district of 14 or 15 schools. Science has become a quote-unquote ‘special’ at schools in my district, rather than a given,” she said. “Those are the kind of choices we’re hoping to alleviate.”
And $20 per pupil isn't going to do it. Here's my reminder from last year of how those "minimum per pupil" increases work out.
I'll post on Governor Baker's budget as soon as I have anything. 
Oh, and: 

Board of Ed: ESSA redux

Sagan: hope you took it constructively
"how we use this as an opportunity to raise standards across the Commonwealth"
"I think we were trying to understand it"
timeline question first
Chester: thought it was a terrific discussion last night
appreciate your opening comments on this
cites Curtin's work on this

Board of Ed: report on Level 5 schools

You can find the backup here
Pia Durkin of New Bedford is here to talk about the Parker School
Chester says he sees her as turning around the district as well
Durkin: a gift to be able to serve as their receiver

Board of Ed: another round of public comments

these non-charter related in topic
Katie Ryan from Mass Advocates for Children
Trauma and Learning Policy
support inclusion of a school climate measure in the ESSA
state has taken two steps: Safe and Supportive School law; Chapter 222 "positive responses as opposed to suspension"
both a survey measure and a data measure
students, parents, and staff on perceptions of safety, relationships, access
Sagan: with you in concept but questioning how you can do it in a meaningful, accurate and measurable way
Letter from Boston Student Advisory Council
"we are the reason for schools' existence, but too often voices are not heard"
DESE has opportunity to reset the standard on which schools are measured
measure school climate
survey should not be attached to the MCAS; delivered in a place that encourages thoughtful engagement

Jonathan Rappaport: Arts Learning
applauds inclusion of well-rounded education
"clearly one of the main goals of the new ESSA law"
appreciate DESE clearly listened to parents, teachers, and students over past eight months
Sec'ty Peyser questioned what an arts indicator might look like
brought an example adopted by CT, NY and others
Massachusetts has never had any requirement
10% of elementary time devoted to arts by arts certified teachers
request for data on arts: we have that too!
arts should be included among other successful turnaround strategies
no questions

Public comment at the Board of Ed on charters and votes on charters

recess as Higher Ed Board leaves
agenda is here 

comments on charter schools then votes on charter schools

Joint Board meeting: MCAS

meeting backup is here
Chester: in final stages of updating math and ELA standards, have just done science
MCAS "are such a hallmark of the work in Massachusetts"

Joint Board of Ed meeting

The K-12 Board of Ed meets jointly with the Higher Ed Board this morning at Bridgewater State. They'll be talking about early college and about MCAS.
Then the K-12 Board has its regular meeting.
scheduled to start at 9...we'll see...
meeting called to order; members now introducing themselves. As I don't know the Higher Ed members, I'll do my best. 
Bridgewater State president introducing his campus, which is the state's single largest producer of teachers.
Commissioner Chester: terrific discussion, to advance a conversation,
focused on early college

Monday, January 23, 2017

Board of Ed talks about ESSA

Making a rare trip into the special evening session of the Board of Ed to cover their discussion tonight on how DESE plans to handle ESSA.
While the backup for tonight isn't yet on the website, they were circulated earlier; I've posted the Executive Summary here, the plan highlights here. The meeting is due to start at 5; posting as we go once it starts. 

Vice Chair Morton opening the meeting, now that there's a quorum.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The budget comes out Wednesday

But here's a preview from this morning's Mass Municipal session with Governor Baker:

As the FY17 Chapter 70 budget was $4.5B, that's a 1.96% increase.

WE HAVE A BILL (updated with link to .gov site!)

S. 1905 filed by Senator Chang-Diaz is the language that would implement the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission.
Two things you can do:
  1. Ask your Senator to sign on! UPDATE: ASK YOUR REPS AS WELL! They can sign onto a Senate bill. 
  2. Ask your Rep what is going on in the House! This is the latest comment I've seen from the Chair: 
...which isn't very encouraging.

You can now find S.1905 on the Mass Legislature site here. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Trump on education: myth busting

I was among those not expecting a mention of education in the inaugural today, but there was one. Here's a look: education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge...
...part of a longer dystopia vision of the country.

Both halves of this statement are false.
The American education system is not "flush with cash" at all. There's a lot of good work on this, but I'd recommend beginning with the Shaker Institute's look at the myth of the inefficient education system. To wit:
...the typical presentations of data purporting to show the inefficiency of U.S. schools are so lacking in methodological rigor as to be of little if any value in our public debate or policymaking process.
And note, always, health care cost being included in education spending in the U.S. when this is not how it is done in other countries.

And further:
...per pupil spending in the U.S., which many proclaim to be relatively high based on simple comparisons, is actually rather in line with the spending of other OECD nations with similar GDP.

As for the "students deprived of all knowledge," again, there are a myriad of links, but you might start with this American Prospect piece on the myth of public school failure. A telling part of the conclusion:
...(this myth of failure) derives support from a political culture surviving the Reagan era--the suspicion of all public institutions and conviction that if public bureaucracy is responsible, performance must be deficient. The school failure myth also derives support from the nation's corporate leadership, anxious to find a scapegoat for high unemployment, racial division, and income inequality. Blaming the schools avoids confronting business deindustrialization strategies, failure to invest in high-wage jobs, and shortsighted trade policies. Faulting public education also excuses the business community's desire to reduce tax support of schools.
It appears that this is where we are.

I would take this chance to remind my readers why we need public education:
Wisdom, and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people...
That's as true now as it was in 1779.

For today

The Second Coming
William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer; 
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; 
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, 
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned; 
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity. 

Surely some revelation is at hand; 
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi 
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   
The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep 
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? 

posted yesterday on Twitter by Pat Bagley of the Salt Lake Tribune

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Rennie Center's Conditions of Education in the Commonwealth

...which they've titled "Putting Students at the Center of Reform"
liveblogging once it starts at 8:30
Note: the report they're releasing today is here 
Chad d'Entremont, Executive Director, Rennie Center
"visualize a child learning"
shares photos of kids being active, outside, engaged
not in classroom rows...or is it?
frameworks still largely built around a one-size fits all approach
state has accomplished a tremendous amount through the '93 reform law
suggest not that we lose that, that we build upon it
need to address blind spots, find ways to move forward
asking the question and planning for what comes next

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A hard read, but a necessary one

But what if we’re just plain wrong about schools being able to overcome poverty?
The View from Room 205: a year in a Chicago public school classroom

If you didn't watch the DeVos hearing

A few links:

And here's my thoughts from this morning:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Worcester meetings this week

Up this week:
  • It doesn't appear to have been advertised anywhere, but there is a posted South High Building Committee meeting for tomorrow night at 6 pm in the school library. No idea what's on the agenda or where they are in the building project, as there isn't a folder or full list of topics anywhere I can turn up. 
  • The School Committee meets Thursday at 7 pm; you can find the agenda here. There does not appear to be a report of the superintendent. There are several retirements, resignations, and appointments. The enrollment report, already previewed in this weekend's T&G, comes back essentially as a budget preview (timely, as the Governor's budget comes out next Wednesday). It's worth noting not only did WPS break 25,000 students for the first time since 2003; while Worcester also remains the third largest district in the state, we're back within striking distance of Springfield (25,391 to Springfield's 25,633). The inflation rate squeaks in at !.1%, so at least this year, it's a positive number. Honestly, this probably needs its own post, but read the summary. Administration points out that having School Committee members add individual items to the curriculum is maybe not a good plan...and some schools sing the "Smiley Face" song already. There is response to a request on teachers on expired licenses. There will be a performance of the South High band (this is an agenda item).Mr. Monfredo notes the annual Worcester Historical Museum Valentine contest. Mr. Foley requests a budget presentation to the joint committee (on Education for City Council and on Finance and Operations for School Committee). Mr. O'Connell would like more on the 'no confidence' vote at Quinsigamond Elementary. There are also several recognitions and donations, plus grants of $10,000 for lacrosse at Doherty High and $14,000 for LIBRARIES(!) at Canterbury Street, Rice Square, and Worcester East Middle. PCBs and a grievance are on the executive session agenda for 6 pm. 
  • There is a Legislative Breakfast at 9 am on Friday at Worcester Tech, with a fairly extensive list of items: one would expect the Foundation Budget Review Commission, but there is also additional computers, preschool, kindergarten, MSBA, AP exams, and "a Compact to prioritize public education and coordinate efforts to firmly establish the Worcester Public Schools as the best urban school system in New England and beyond." 
If I can, I'll try to make the section on Thursday on enrollment, as it appears to be the only budget preview Worcester is getting in January. unless there's one that appears as backup for Friday.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

They keep moving the goal posts

It's from 2009, but an entirely relevant read from Professor Jack Schneider on how we got AP tests and how they're leading to diminishing returns among lower income kids.
However, perception of AP had begun to change. The programme had expanded so rapidly at the end of the century that some colleges and universities, concerned with questions about the credibility of the programme, began to re-evaluate the practice of giving preference in the admissions process to those who completed AP coursework. Further, as of 2000, ‘the general level of selectivity and [criteria regarding] test scores’ among 4-year private universities, ‘were higher than they had been previously’ (Breland et al. 2002)—an indication that more students were exhibiting strong academic coursework and test performance than they had previously. Simply put, having AP on one’s transcript no longer provided the measure of distinction it once did.

Here comes the FBRC bill(s?)

The Bay State Banner talked to Senator Chang-Diaz about her plans for a bill implementing the Foundation Budget Review Commission's recommendations this upcoming session; bills are due January 20.
Chang-Diaz told the Banner that this latest bill would implement nearly all the FBRC recommendations, which include using a more accurate method to calculate employee health care costs and increasing funding allotments for the education of English language learners, special education students and low-income students.
 Do read the whole article, however.

This does leave some questions:

  • does anyone have any plans to do ANY kind of implementation for FY18? That would require language (and funding) in the budget to be considered this spring. The Governor's version comes out in two weeks; while we may or may not see anything there, do the legislators have a plan to do some implementation for FY18? They should.
  • how are the parts that were left unclear dealt with in Chang-Diaz's (and others?) bill(s). Low income wasn't specified, for example. 
  • are we going to continue with a special education formula that doesn't recognize real costs (the FBRC doesn't)?
  • while everyone acknowledges that "everyone is probably going to get something," is the Legislature (in particular) going to be able to recall and pass a bill that recognizes that equity is going to require greater resources going to greater need? 
Nonetheless, hopeful.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Detroit has an empowered, elected school board!

...for the first time in decades!

Push for the third way is coming

Today's Scott Lehigh column in the Globe sounded the opening bars of what's clearly going to be a push from the ed reformers: Third Way Ed is back. This is building on the Springfield Empowerment Zone (side note: has anyone seen actual results from that?), which, having now added Commerce High to it, is clearly a preferred option to the Commissioner.

Calling such institutions "empowerment zones" is rather like calling subdivisions "Forest Way," in that it represents what isn't there. The first thing that happens with an empowerment zone, after all, is the school committee votes to surrender its authority to a board elected by, and representing, no one.

Consider this a warning. As always, you aren't going to see this happen in the suburbs.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything*

*reference here is to Douglas Adams

Yesterday, EdWeek released their annual "Quality Counts" analysis of states on three measures:
  • chance for success
  • K-12 achievement
  • school finance
To be honest, you could read my post on this from last year and get more or less the same result. Not only is Massachusetts leading the nation in achievement and chance for success--and I'd argue that chance for success is a better indicator of what schools actually do--we're still WAY down the bottom on educational equity.
We're 42nd in the nation, to be exact. We also rank below the national average. 

Not entirely surprisingly, this particularly piece did not make the Governor's announcement of the results. Again. 

Now Bruce Baker, whose work I respect enormously, once again raises questions about how EdWeek measures educational funding equity (the post is from 2010; he linked to it this morning by tweet). No one, however, is letting Massachusetts off the hook, and here's why:
As I've posted in the past about Baker (the professor, not the Governor)'s work,  a foundation formula, backed by a municipal wealth formula, that truly did more highly fund higher need (in both ways: higher need of schools calling for more resources, and more state resources in communities with fewer local resources) would not have the far side of the hill on the right. Between the state not reconsidering the formula and continuing to devote significant resources to minimum increases outside the formula, we're on a down hill slope.

It is thus reassuring to hear, at least from the Senate, that the review commission's work is being taken seriously and taken up this session. The Governor's office, alas, continues to act as though the Commission is news to him, rather than a working group on which he was represented.

The Governor's budget comes out January 25. We'll see then how much he's giving consideration to the conclusions drawn.
I can't say it better than the Commission itself did in closing:
As the Commission’s work draws to a close, the legislature’s work begins. We submit this report to the legislature with full recognition of the continued fiscal challenges of the Commonwealth, and the many competing priorities, and worthwhile goals, that the legislature must balance in crafting the annual state budget. We recognize that recommendations of this scope and size will need to be phased in to be affordable. However, we also note again what was stated at the beginning of this document: that the good work begun by the education reform act of 1993, and the educational progress made since, will be at risk so long as our school systems are fiscally strained by the ongoing failure to substantively reconsider the adequacy of the foundation budget, We therefore urge that the legislature act on these recommendations with a profound sense of the risks and opportunities at stake for our shared prosperity as a state and, as our constitution acknowledges, the critical nature of education to the health of our democracy. We advise a keen sense of the urgency when it comes to addressing the identified funding gaps, and the moral imperative of reducing the remaining achievement gaps.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Worcester School Committee meets Thursday, January 5

The agenda is here.
The report of the superintendent is on MCAC college application day.
There are a few resignations and appointments.
The ongoing saga of there no longer being civil service exams for custodians continues.
Administration is back with a neat little spreadsheet comparing the cost of legal services; the Worcester Public Schools' amount is average (by percent of district spending). It may be worth noting here that Worcester doesn't charge back an amount for use of the city solicitor's office for legal services. Also, I'm curious about Boston's revolving fund.
Worcester won't be submitting an application to the MSBA Information Technology Loan program, as the district has maxed out its Erate amount and so isn't eligible.
In response to Miss Biancheria's request for an update on window projects, the committee has a full update on summer/fall facilities work. 
There is a response on the evaluation of principals (not a lot of detail; mostly who does it).
Mr. O'Connell is looking for information regarding the "successor agreement," which I'm assuming is the updated settlement with the Department of Justice; I'd heard there was one, but I haven't seen it or any mention of it anywhere. 
He's also looking for updated school websites.
There are a series of recognitions (someone may want to make a call about who gets music played during committee meetings and who doesn't...?) and requests for acceptance of a series of donations.
Mr. Monfredo would like to raise substitute pay to $85 a day in the next fiscal year.

There is also an executive session on PCBs (again) and a grievance.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Top posts of 2016

This was a fairly crazy year in blogging for me:I changed positions, we had a ballot question to fight, the state budget had a sudden dive from conference committee, Diane Ravitch linked to my posts twice, and Worcester got a new superintendent. I don't tend to pay a lot of attention to my analytics, as I have some fairly discrete groups of readers (not everyone follows Worcester schools, but those who do don't necessarily follow state budget news, and not everyone reads state board posts), so the numbers go up and down a lot based on content, but a check-in here is interesting, in what overall gets read.

As per always, the top hit, far and away, is the front page. There are plenty of you to pop through regularly just to see what's here. Thanks to you! You're the reason I feel I need to keep making sure new things come up here.

Specific posts, in order, are:
  1. "Here Come the 9C cuts" from December 6. Halfway through the fiscal year, Governor Baker took $98 million out of the FY17 budget, and did so in a way that recreated his vetos, rather than reevaluated budgetary lines. 
  2. "The Senate Passed Amendment 196" from May 27. Amendment 196 to the Senate budget barred the use of student performance data in teacher evaluation. This has now led to this being before the Board of Education, so, while the Senate amendment didn't make it out of conference committee, it may happen, anyway.
  3. "Foundation what?" from February 29. A foundation budget explainer, motivated in part by my MASC work, which I probably should have done a long time ago. This one may need its own page.
  4. "Interview for Special Education Director: Ronald Sinico" from October 28, 2012. Huh??  This is a great example of my not paying attention to analytics: last October, Mr. Sinico (now retired) ran for town supervisor in North Greenbush, NY; he lost the election, but in August, he raised questions about the property tax bill of the man who won. If you google Mr. Sinico's name, one of the first things that comes my notes from this interview. Clicking through is not entirely surprising; what surprises me is that most of them appear (by time spent) to have actually read it!
  5. "RISE and Shine!" from March 31. This took apart what actually was in the Senate's RISE Act.
  6. "The Debate of the RISE Act in the Senate" from April 7. A long day on a decent bill that deserved much more consideration than it got.
  7. "Here's the Answer of What's in the Question" from September 21. A response to those who throughout the Question 2 campaign kept saying it would only hit nine districts and etc, which totally wasn't true.
  8. "Voting for Savage Inequalities" from October 7. A response to the suburban guilt arguments on Question 2.
  9. "No, This Isn't What One Would Expect for Worcester Finalists" from March 7. Responding directly to the many who asked for some perspective on the Worcester superintendent finalists. 
  10. And, bringing us full circle, "Governor Baker's FY17 Budget" from January 28. I'll do FY18 in a few weeks.
With much discussion of the foundation budget for this coming year--heck, it even made the State House News Service's list of things to watch for this session!--plus another budget from the Governor, who is less than popular with many in the Legislature now, the state moving ahead with an ESSA submission, and who knows what coming on the federal level, there'll be no lack of things to blog about! 
Happy 2017! Thanks for reading!