Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March Board of Education: opening remarks

The full agenda is here. Posting once they start.
Looks like we're only missing Fryer

Commissioner: "so looking forward to today's meeting...terrific milestones represented by this meeting"
presentation of Randolph educator, Lawrence update
Lawrence has brought students
"particularly excited about frameworks...major milestone in Massachusetts"
submission of ESSA plan
new achievement level descriptors
"take in and not just run past as we get to those items"

watching federal budget: details suggest we could be seeing some substantial cuts to Massachusetts education
for Massachusetts
Title IIA $40M
21st century $15M
Title IVA $6.7M
also staff of DESE is 60% federally funded; 15 or 17 positions in the department covered by grants above
Chester was at federal meeting on state school officers, met with Secretary
"choice is front and center on her agenda"
NCTQ selected Boston as a "great district for great teachers"
how they identify, reward, support, teachers
"thought it interesting" happened at same time as BTU taking district to task on contract negotiations
SCOTUS decision: legal guidance from DESE coming
Peyser: "pleasantly surprised and thrilled certainly by the enthusiasm of crowd" on early college
" a lot of existing activity that we're building off of...a lot of pent-up demand that we're tapping into"
"catching a wave rather than pushing a rock uphill"
"ensuring young people are coming out of high school prepared for the world of work and college"
McKenna: encouraging to see people from all sectors of education agreeing on something
"gives hope to low income and first generation kids to see a path where they haven't seen one before"
"really gives people hope and that's really what we're all about"

Sagan welcomes Lexington High students for public comment
sharing personal finance
"last year we won the national economics challenge"
showing a map on standards or assessment on personal finance
think students are not ready to be independent
not currently covered in state standards
sent out a survey to public high school principals; small number of high schools offering, largely self-designed classes
Gateway Financial Literacy pilot in 10 Gateway schools
alignment with financial literacy standards easier than aligning with mathematics
recommendation that MA adopt financial literacy standards K-12
Council for Economic Education's financial literary standards
Noyce asks about time: could be a unit, could be a full year in high school
the schools that provide a course provide it as a semester long course; urge statewide standards
Sagan says they'll be taking it under advisement for consideration, understanding that districts already feel that much is placed on them already
students say they're looking for further consideration for possible adoption for voluntary implementation

Rappaport from Arts Learning in Arts for All Coalition
committed to having arts be one of the driving forces for excellence in education in this state
"we are quite frankly disappointed that arts are not an indicator in the final draft"
"hope that there will be a frank discussion of the intent of the law" which was to broaden assessment
encouraged by open conversation
encouraged that Commissioner has indicated that arts standards will begin being reviewed soon
want arts at core not "other"

Guisbond from Citizens for Public Schools
"we, too, are disappointed that Commissioner Chester is largely sticking to a system that is not working well"
has again listened to practitioners and has largely discarded what they've said
"can predict a school's" level "with considerable accuracy without setting foot in the school"
"this new plan largely continues the old plan with continuing harm to our children"
calls for delaying submission until fall
concern about directions being given to teachers regarding students on test refusal: give test, stay on script, and leave test in front of child for 15 minutes

parent of two children in schools: would like to remind Board of their mission statement
every student to succeed in secondary education
concerned about gifted learners: plan "makes no attempt to change this"
"missing the equity for our high performing students"

"the public comments weren't responded to"
urges delay
acknowledging an issue was raised but doing nothing to respond to the issues isn't a process
"the state framed the survey"
"rate these things...of course people are going to stick to those things!"
"if it doesn't happen now with this accountability plan"
"we should be way past what's required by the federal government"
should not just marginally approve an accountability system from the 1980's
"not looking for students beyond the ones you think need help"

mother of two gifted children who homeschools "because it was psychologically damaging for my child to be at school"
child who was reading at college level at six
feel like you're in the wrong place, "but someone will figure it out"
"no one here in my school seems to know what to do for me"
school that doesn't think it's a real issue
"enter a Massachusetts school system that is not ready for them"
"these thousands of students are your responsibility...they're your students, too"
"educational level at each child should be identified and known at school"
teachers "don't have the right data"
42 states offer gifted education and MA is not one of them
another: identification of her sister in 7th grade "saved her life"
"need early college...not something they should have to wait for"
"What you have prepared for ESSA is not okay"
"gifted children are not learning something new"
son's "intellect would not tolerate" not having new things to learn
"I am supposed to put my child back in the school system that did that to him?"
"my daughter is wasting her time in the school system that you pat yourself on the back for"
"hiring teachers that have NO CLUE what they are doing with and to these kids"
mother with private educational practice for gifted learners
"understand that when people hear the term 'gifted' it can rub them the wrong way"
"I see their struggle as an educator"
imagine that year after year, developmentally, behaviorally, psychologically
correlation between gifted children and drug abuse, dropout rates, alcoholism
"now we have even more backing with the recent decision of the Supreme Court"
"there's no perfect system, but perhaps there's an opportunity to research"

And I stepped out for a minute, but the former headmaster of Dorchester Collegiate that the Board voted to close last year came back to challenge the terms under which the school was closed and to urge them to look more closely at the process and criteria under which such decisions are made.

Update from Mary Ann Stewart and Nathan Moore on NASBE conference

Noyce: review of Commissioner: reviewed his goals and the process
next step is to interview Board members, staff, and "occasional outside people" on Commissioner's performance
hope to have that process completed by next month
review and "recommendations on salary" in June

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