Friday, March 30, 2018

(This time for sure) The Worcester School Committee meets Thursday WITH BROCKTON

I don't usually have musical accompanyment for these, but with the City of Champions coming, I can't miss the chance to add this: 

The report of the superintendent is "A Tale of Two Cities" (and we'll leave you to draw your own conclusions about revolution. BYO knitting. "It is a far, far better thing I do..."), which, as I understand it, are Brockton and Worcester in this telling. There is only one recognition Thursday (and a single item in executive session), so the report should start before 7:30. Come see the latest in Foundation Budget Review Commission analysis!

There are a number of recognitions and a few appointments.

There is a request for a prior fiscal year payment of (yikes!) $8,212.50.
There is a request for reception of a donation of $100 from Fidelity Charitable Gift4Giving Program

Mr. Monfredo offers a reminder of the annual City that Reads book drive, a request that the district create a community service program of snow shoveling, and a suggestion that students do math over the summer.

Mr. O'Connell offers a request that Worcester send a delegation to the July statewide Civics Education Institute, a request over multiple items that the district consider blizzard bags or the like (aka, some other way to make up snow days other than adding days), a request for an update on federal grants (in a paragraph), a request that the district submit a grant application for a grant from the Education Innovation and Research Program as well as one for STOP School Violence Act.

Miss Biancheria offers a request for a "a report on the cohort, conducted by the Worcester Public Schools"...which I have no idea what that means. 

Mr. Comparetto requests an addition to school adjustment counselors, the course of study for ELL students, and a report on community organization partnerships.
Administration asks that the dates for summer camp at South High be changed.
Administration also asks that the mission and focus statement of South High be changed (for which the only backup is the new statements and what appears to be a pie chart with no information explaining who is responding, let alone anything about where the mission or focus statement came from or why it is being changed).

There is also an executive session at 6 pm on negotiations with administrative secretaries.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Don't miss the Doherty discussion

...that's in this article on approving the funding for South High:
Meanwhile, the site of a new Doherty High remains uncertain. 
Mr. Petty said consideration has to be given first to renovating the existing school. If that is not a viable option, then consideration must be given to building a new school on the existing campus. 
The problem with Doherty, however, is that it is surrounded by park land. A final option would be to find a site off-campus within the Doherty quadrant, but Mr. Petty pointed out that if the property is privately owned the city would be responsible for 100 percent of the acquisition costs. 
Mr. Augustus acknowledged that the site of the new Doherty High is a “hot topic,” adding that city and school officials would discuss various options during the next week or two
That isn't a discussion that just "city and school officials" should be having; the public should be at that conversation.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

FY19 WPS budget at CPPAC

It's possible that this is more or less what these notes are on from February...posting as we go...
Allen: waiting for the House budget to come out in the middle of April; that's what we use as the official numbers that go to the School Committee
"a snapshot of what we're using for planning purposes"
slight enrollment decline, modest inflation rate, two foundation budget changes
foundation budget going up $5.9M "a little lower than the historical increase"
city contribution based on required increase: "conversations are still ongoing"

Resolution passed by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education opposing the arming of teachers

As Commissioner Wulfson said in his opening memo on this issue,“Traditionally, the Board has declined to take positions on public policy decisions that are not directly within its purview.But this may be one of those rare moments where even a symbolic vote is important.Massachusetts leads the nation in so many aspects of elementary and secondary education, and I would be proud to have us play a leadership role on this important issue.” 

with a h/t to Mary Ann Stewart for sharing

MOVED: WHEREAS the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education was deeply troubled by the February 14, 2018 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 14 students and three adults, and equally troubled by previous school shootings, including the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado that killed 12 students and one adult, and the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 20 students and six adults; and

WHEREAS there is no evidence-based research showing that arming teachers would reduce casualties in mass shootings; and

WHEREAS allowing guns in schools by other than law enforcement would increase the risk of accidental shootings of students and other bystanders; and

WHEREAS teachers are first and foremost educators and therefore should be employed solely on the basis of their educational skills and credentials, not their skills as a security officer;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education believes arming educators will make schools less safe, and the Board opposes any move to do so.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

March Board of Ed: LOOK Act regulation

Backup is here
Vote is to go out to public comment, but this is first look at it so there is a presentation
two sets of changes: one required by LOOK, the other on English learners in vocational program
"best meet the needs of their English learner students"
support to districts on new programs
teachers and admin to develop knowledge and skills needed for support
promotion of biliteracy

Four reg changes on EL:

  • English learner programs: new SEI or alternative program; specifies process
  • English learner advisory council: specific actions the school district is required to bring to them; participation in school and district improvement plans 
  • bilingual education endorsement: outlines requirements to meet it; required by core content teachers in a bilingual program 
  • state seal of biliteracy: criteria districts need to follow to award seal
timelines for implementation: new programs due by January 1, 2019; Parent Advisory councils next school year; endorsed educators annually; state seal of biliteracy anticipated next school year

greater alignment between vocational educators and the rest of educators
pilot programs run out of Greater Lowell Tech and Worcester Tech
rolling requirement on vocational teachers serving English learners needing Sheltered English Immersion endorsement

Doherty asking about funding of getting teachers through SEI endorsement
Wulfson: "right now we're focused on getting money in the '19 budget and then we'll see where we are"
Fernandez: what does going out for public comment mean? this is really complicated information for families to understand "especially for those this affects and impacts"
purpose of State Seal of Biliteracy?
Wulfson: to encourage districts to offer programs that allow students to come out of high school knowing two or more languages
Peyser: to recognize also the home language of English learners
McKenna notes tight timeline
Sagan: this won't come up as a surprise; people are expecting it
McKenna: getting to the right people
Moriarty: just to preview thoughts and concerns...
Sagan calls the question: carries for public comment
Moriarty "want to make sure it's not just stamp a box"
looking at how that process is going to happen locally
Peske: early conversations around evaluation of biliteracy


March Board of Ed: accountability proposed amendments

Wulfson: a vote to go out to formal public comment period
give the field one more opportunity to comment
a more lengthier discussion in June
indicators and weights, which will not be enshrined in regulation "as at least for the next few years, it will be a living document"
Motion passes

March Board of Ed: making sped in line with ESSA

Wulfson: very limited public comment, substance remains the same
Stewart: can you share how well or what issues for the regulations as presented?
Johnston: a refinement of existing regulation
a lot of familiarity with it
"certainly did have a lot of feedback, a lot of concern; it's a tricky matter"
two changes were about clarifying potential ambiguity
"will be issuing guidance in the next month or so"
Motion carries

March Board of Ed: Greenfield Virtual

backup is here
recommendation for probation: motion carries

March Board of Ed: PVCICS appeal

Sagan: bar is very high for this; "it would be an unwieldy situtation" if everyone appealed to the Commissioner
"that is really what is happening here repeatedly"
Sagan reminds Board that they need not take any action (which would confirm Commissioner's action)
Wulfson: no presentation from DESE; up to school to present case
"I like this school...wish their model was one that more would follow"
"all schools are faced with some demographic issues"
"think it's a premature request until they've come close to using up their seats"
other factor: a number of communities are approaching their net school spending caps
"we are frowning these days on charters banking large numbers of seats"

Director says there is demand for kindergarten
Sagan: if you have the space, why don't you take them?
Director: remaining head count is in high school
request is based on where we have the most demand which is in kindergarten
Chuang "that is something the school has decided within the footprint" they are chartered for
Director: we've admitted as many students as we can right now
Chuang: the general pattern is there is declining enrollment in high school grades
Director: have backfilled in kindergarten, continuing to do so would exhaust the headcount
Chuang: wouldn't be good planning to double kindergarten
"we've had multiple conversations over multiple years, and the school has decided on this structure"
Sagan: why don't you take the students on the waitlist and show the demand?
Director: can't take different levels of Chinese knowledge
"as we grow" we have more options for students
long term would like to have a model like Sturgis Charter with four cohorts in high school
with learning Chinese "the later you start, the more difficult it is"
Sagan: why are 39 students in the 9th grade?
Director: we did exhaust the waitlist in FY18
McKenna: there is no sixth grade waitlist?
Sagan: they're at full size in 6th grade
Director: much more response from Springfield; the school has found acceptance from urban students, so the school is changing demographic
"our principle entry point will continue to be kindergarten, because that's when it is most accessible"
arguing that they are keeping kids off IEPs by having students make adequate progress
"they may indeed have an underlying disability" but they don't have an IEP
"we provide more support and our numbers are lower"
this was a news item last year, around parents complaining that their students were not served
"it's clear that a lot of districts don't graduate kids out of English language learner programs"
moving students out of EL support
trace down students who left
plus "because we're a small school, small change in the number of students don't reflect the percentages"
"we were the last suburban charter approved in the state...we think you should be looking at us as a model"
"model of

Moriarty: "I am sympathetic...give opportunities to more families...but is there some sweet spot we can do something with?"
Wulfson: we have indicated an interest in a more modest increase
"the school is essentially looking to double in size"
Moriarty: "Can you throw me a number?"
Sagan: I would be concerned about negotiating fine grain numbers in this form
Chuang: "it's also impossible for them to expand for this fall"
Sagan: it has to be a 2019 issue
sibling preference? Yes, for legal siblings
McKenna: I think we've heard everything, and I suggest we accept the Commissioner's recommendation
leave discretion to the staff
Sagan: we've done that before
Sagan: "You've got to hear this Board. We like your school. We want more schools to function this way. But we need a more collaborative approach."

Sagan: "Please don't keep doing it this way, because you're going to keep running into this wall. It's got to be through the Department."

March Board of Ed: School safety

You can (sigh) download the Word doc backup here, which includes, "Issues of school safety are of course intertwined with school climate genearlly, including mental health support for students, social-emotional earning, student engagement, and community-based services." There is a slightly crazy amount of press here. 

Sagan: a lot of press interest in this topic; will take a break after this topic so press may speak to Secretary
asked Commissioner to come back at this meeting about what we know in Massachusetts

Wulfson: Board did ask for briefing on issue of school safety
various state statutes that apply; resources from DESE and other departments
"topic is approached from two very different dimensions"
building security and response to incidents in buildings
"equally important is the social and emotional health of our students"
"intervene with students who may be troubled and may be prone to perpetrating these horrific acts"

 there are a boatload of people who are at the table to speak who I have no hope of catching names from 

The Department has been working with schools in a variety of ways since late 80's
multi-hazard planning law in 2000
each district required to review annually and update their plan
beginning of each school year, students are to be instructed in their plan

Julie Hackett, superintendent in Taunton
put many emergency plans in place, double school guidance counselors
built a number of positions for school safety
recently, student made a number of comments to a school resource officer about threats
was handled well, was no weaponry, were able to assure safety of students very quickly
"then the conversation changed to the walkout"
met with students; "wanted students to express themselves"
they wanted to go outside; students outside at a designated time announced to the whole world
some superintendents had emergency personnel on site
others kept it lower key
"students acted very respectfully, and it was not an issue at all"
"how complicated all these facets of school safety can be"
for MASS, there are two key issues for us:
one is on mental health
another is on infrastructure
mental health is very often a resource issue
making sure that students who are struggling know that they belong
proverb shared with her: "the child who is not embraced by the village burns it down to feel the heat"
"have the need and the mandate, but we don't always have the funding"
we are individually figuring out what each school needs to keep it safe
lengthy discussion at recent school building committee about window glass
"no real repository of information to help guide us"
issue is training as well: have some information "about research-based practices"

Dudley police chief Steven J. Wojnar currently Mass Chiefs of Police Association president
"want to involve ourselves as much as we can in those schools" as in any other part of the community
"have been a big proponent of school resource officer"
comments "anyone who thinks that the police are going to show up and everyone is going to get arrested has missed the boat"
but not the research, which supports that conclusion
Every community is going to allow for a certain level of risk
"that's their district's ability to choose that"
police review building to seek some low cost solutions; glad to work with anyone along the way

from MSBA: have consulted with the school building committee on design of new building on safety
designers themselves have security consultants on the design

emergency plans are not incident based; they're response-based
"there are a lot of little things every day"
Sagan: can we be assured that the plans that are supposed to be there
Wulfson: as is always the case with plans,"we can check the boxes that they have been written" but can't be there for the conversations that should be happening

Sagan asks if there is MSBA funding for safety
beyond windows, doors,

Trimarchi: Parkland students have amassed a platform to talk not only about school safety but about outside of school safety as well
importance of schools in communities at large
what about supporting those students in those communities?
Hackett: crossing guards at intersections
community facilitators
youth crisis intervention teams
"ready made model of response for situations that we don't know how to handle or can't predict"
Wojnar: hopes that will get this generation involved as that age group hasn't voted and hasn't gotten involved
"like that program where someone goes and sits with someone at lunch"
and also social media
Trimarchi: role of school resource officers
Wojnar: need the right person; "most are parents"
for people who are apprehensive about program "have to have more conversations"
Hackett: have a much different role: "can't act like a police officer on the street"
but what of those who don't have different expectations?
Wulfson: are school resource officers trained?
Wojnar: training is out there, but it isn't required
Hackett notes that superintendent and chief of police evaluate the SRO

Stewart: how does it look each year?
Hackett: best use of time for us is the drills that we practice
emergency responders sit with leadership; what they're going to look for during the drill
meaningful information that we're looking at; "creates a system for us to look at that"

West: particularly interested in school resource officers
"what we actually require as a matter of statute"
can petition not to do so if they think that's not a good strategy for their district
he's missing that it's also "subject to appropriation" part of the law
The requirement doesn't exist, because funding has never been appropriated
Sagan: how funded?
Hackett: part of net school spending; indirect cost
Wulfson: good and bad, as it limits funding for other things
Sagan: it is a tradeoff; it's not separately funded? to general agreement

McKenna: what can we do to support you, so you aren't all individually trying to figure this out?
"how can we be a resource to ease the burden on you individually?"
Hackett: that's what I was trying to convey when I talked about a repository of information
net school spending is a plus for us, because every dollar is a challenge

Doherty: "I think people are doing the best job they can" with the resources they have
drills "that will minimize the casualities not prevent them"
"one thing that the Board can do is advocate for more funding for our schools, whether that is fully funding the foundation budget or passing the millionaires' tax"
"those students go well beyond talking about what is happening in schools; they're talking about what is happening in our society as a whole"
protect students not only in school "but when they go home, or when they're in their neighborhoods"
"what the students were asking for last Saturday is not just...other kinds of protections in schools; they're asking that assault weapons be banned; they're asking for full background checks; they're asking that no one should buy a weapon til they're 21"
thinks that the Board should support full platform of students

Craven: how much training and logistics is necessary for arming teachers?
Wojnar: a good hundred hours of basic training each year
"great majority" of members "we're not comfortable with untrained individuals" being in schools

Morton: are you in the process of creating standards for school resource officers? (asks the chief)
Wojnar: "I'd say that's a constant ongoing thing"
meet four and five times a year with the DA's office
"to collaborate with the principals and the superintendents"
share what is happening in our schools
none of that is training

Sagan: homework assignment of pulling together a repository of information
"we are not a legislative body...we are not an editorial body, but we felt that this issue rose above the level of concern"

Doherty makes motion to adopt resolution on guns in school
"believes that arming educators will make schools less safe and opposes any move to do so"

Moriarty: a couple of concerns with document as intended
"I don't want to see resolutions happening on a regular basis"
asks for amendment on third item to ensure that SROs are welcome in schools
"by other than law enforcement" is motion to add around guns being carried in school
McKenna: propose to strike final "whereas" which is "would compromise safe and supportive environment that is essential for learning"

Peyser is now reading a statement
"make sure that we don't get distracted by the proposal [to arm teachers] that has been brought forward"

McKenna: asked Parkland students "how did you get to be who you are?" and every single one of them said "because of my teachers"

full text is here

March Board of Ed: Lawrence and Holyoke

Update on Lawrence and Holyoke
first time presentation from John Connolly
Wulfson: being the first, it's the first on how we exit from receivership
people around the country on exiting from receivership situation; the advice we got is "you can't just turn a switch"
"an interesting transitional governance model"
receivership board who will hire a superintendent to oversee day to day operations
Connolly presenting with Ventura Rodriguez, associate commissioner for the statewide system of support, who also serves on Board
all others live in Lawrence

Connolly: Lawrence Alliance for Education will assume quasi-governmental role as receiver
currently overseeing search for new superintendent
really appreciate work of outgoing receiver Riley, work of teachers and community as a whole
taught for five years "would be the first to say that does not make me a teaching professional"
tremendous hope and tremendous challenges
"so far a very easy process" in working with people who know Lawrence very well
community process going forward on searching for superintendent
finalize slate by end of April; final interviews by early May; hire shortly thereafter; start date July first, we hope
open architecture system that is supported by community
improvement in connection, in morale, and most important in education of students; need someone who will continue that
Rodriguez: honored to be serving on board transitioning back to local control
go through the search process and get qualities for next candidate
important details to get people out there
two consultants from search firm running those sessions
10-15 person sessions
roughly 250 people over the two days; good representation of all of the stakeholders
food, childcare, translation
open to current Alliance for Ed or school committee members who want to speak

Wulfson: new contract "overwhelmingly ratified" by teachers' union
Mary Lou Bergeron, current deputy, will serve as acting during search

Moriarty: don't want to transition to a "less bad" urban school district

Stewart: many of gains in last years have been very technical; challenge of next step is need for change
Connolly: very much in transition, orientation session at which will be extensively briefed
"where the Lawrence schools stand specifically" part of session
one aspect of an innovative idea, need for teachers of color
Stewart: people you have there have good experience; looking forward to next experience

Doherty: role of curent School Committee
Connolly: two are on Alliance for Ed
"have met with each member of the...I have reached out to each member, I have met with all but one"
look for ways "to make sure the elected school committee has a voice"
"from a baseline starting point, two members serve on Alliance Board"
Doherty: do they still meet and take votes?
Connolly: do meet, outgoing superintendent has set meetings with them
"in the receivership, they obviously don't have powers over school budget and such things"

Sagan: want to thank you for stepping up and taking next step
"no one is more eager than us to restore it to local control"
but no one will be more deliberate than us
"we see this as a long term and a slow process"
that will involve local school committee showing that they are prepared to govern in a way that they have not done before
Connolly praises DESE staff

Wulfson notes that Zrike's contract has been renewed
Sagan: thanks him for staying "we all know that this is really hard work"
Zrike: expect Holyoke graduates to be prepared to succeed in college and career "with more than a diploma"
multiple educational pathways offered to students; progress by the numbers cited
early literacy improving
challenges being addressed: retention of effective teachers, student engagement, discipline referrals, budget gaps
"we know our teachers need more support...the bar has shifted"
struggle to provide staff with competive wages "while health care costs are going up and charter reimbursement has declined"

reorganization to three middle schools (from seven), one high school
"one thing people can agree on is they want a move away from the K-8 model"
"more middle school options"
Veritas charter (from Springfield) "an in-district charter operating as a neighborhood school with some choice seats" as one of the middle schools opening
STEM Academy opening for 6-8
science scores are surprisingly low in Holyoke
teachers who are teaching across multiple grades and multiple subjects; "it makes it hard to do the job well"
"students want a middle school experience...don't want to be treated like babies, they've told me"

"thrilled where we are with high school efforts"
"igniting student interest and passion...sustaining their energy to perserve"
merge high schools into one campus with seven academies and three graduation pathways (early college, college prep, career/technical)
vision that students will learn across the city of Holyoke
continuing freshman academy
theme based academy structure
newcomer academy for students who have recently entered the mainland U.S.
"Holyoke has the highest percent of arrivals of any district in the state"

Moriarty comments that Board has responsibility to monitor resources Holyoke has available and make sure it doesn't fail for lack of support
Fernandez: also concerned because it is an economically depressed area
and "a little more to the influx of Puerto Rican families to the area"
Zrike: great that kids are graduating in greater numbers, but what happens next
know data of what happens to kids at Holyoke Community College
for students who are first generation college whose opportunities have always been closed off from us
McKenna: echoing Moriarty
"there's nothing harder than middle school...most challenging time to teach"
"finding good teachers and supporting good teachers"
"recruiting middle school teachers in STEM is a very high bar with a limited budget"
competing for a very limited pool of teachers
"I think it's absolutely the right thing to've got a challenge"
Zrike: teachers supportive of middle school effort
Stewart: very ambitious resign, I like it a lot
asks about linked learning academies starting in tenth grade
all this great work at secondary level; is preK four years old? what partnerships below that?
Zrike: has been the vision to offer preK for all families; shift to middle school opens space
"the issue is funding...the seed funding to get it off the ground"
Stewart to Peyser: grant opportunities for early childhood?
Peyser: preschool expansion grant, which Holyoke is already getting
"at some point, in theory, that program will end"
"that's the largest [grant] by far"

Morton and Craven "want to understand budget issues more deeply"
will come and visit

March Board of Ed: Opening Comments

This gets rolling at 8:30; the agenda is here. Posting as we go.

Sagan: was heartening to see this (competency) adopted in some schools, more that we could do
didn't get to what we could do; could come back to
next Commissioner to be sworn in at 10 am next Thursday at the State House as part of the Leading the Nation celebration (to which all are invited)
still being decided which Commissioner will sit at April meeting
May will be in Marblehead, as student member Hannah Trimarchi will be hosting, plan on a late start

Wulfson: never expected to be in this role
fully expected to finish in school finance
"has been a very humbling experience"
"many inspiring leaders" in the Commonwealth
"very full nine months"
"we've dealt with transitions in Southbridge and Lawrence and hurricanes in the Caribbean"
got the ESSA plan
thanks to the Board, to all at the Department, to MASS, Commissioner's office
goal is to make every one of our 1800 schools one we'd be proud to send any of our children to
Sagan: thanks for work; "sounded more like a retirement speech than we think you intended"
normal that we'd be doing a formal review; not for acting

Peyser: in light of Jeff's valedictory, express deep gratitude for Jeff's leadership
"not lost any momentuum to drive reform and change in our schools"

McKenna: will there be a chance to do something more formal?
Sagan: yes

Public comment

on last night's presentation: adaptive assessment is the policy level that gets districts to look at individual student growth
incentive to dramatically change their models
allows students to flow through the ladder of the sequence at their pace
qualities and skills developed in students

Testimony in favor of appeal of Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter:
student lives in Springfield and attends school; speaking in favor of expansion
grandmother read about it in the newspaper
"so much more being taught here"
"more academically inclined than other schools"
student: if asked why I was there, I would say because my mom made me go
now can understand almost 2.8 billion people in this world.
let my sister attend this school
Sagan: why doesn't your sister get in with sibling preference?
student: still on the waiting list
Sagan: why are students leaving?
student: looking for more variety
student: looking for sports after school
Morton: no coop sport program with other schools in area?
student: used to have a soccer program..."it was definitely not what we hoped for"
have own soccer program now, it's JV, we're still trying to build that up
have more students to build up clubs and teams would really build up our program
parent of fifth grader from Holyoke: daughter can speak three language
"I'm an impoverished citizen..."has never beent treated differently
"don't understand the attack from adjecent towns and districts"
"think it's jealousy"
glad daughter has the chance to even the playing field in life

panel in opposition to the appeal
Peter Demling, Amherst School Committee
ask that the Commissioner's decision be upheld
reasons for rejecting expansion have not changed
school has not addressed concerns
gaps of achievement subgroups have not been addressed
addressing this should be first action
prior to any future consideration
Cara Castenson, chair of Pelhem School Committee
four students in PVCICS would be contribution to regional district
"has become a reality"
paying almost $90K in charter tuition
town also forced to take measures
Pelhem voted to pursue full regionalization with Amherst
"were the school being forced to close, it would be a loss to the town of the Pelhem"
school is doing well for students served
school is center of community
"small community schools have served as the backbone of public schools for generations"
Sagan now pressing on reimbursement of students to charter
Castenson notes that district was notified late, after budget had been passed, that students had moved
Sagan presses issue of reimbursement
John Provost superintendent in Northampton
spirit of advocacy and spirit of inquiry
last speakers on how they've been involved in students relocated by Hurricane Maria
15 communities in PVCICS have taken over 900 students; all of us have been immersed in this process
Sagan: "were you implying that the students didn't answer your question? Don't answer that."
he  wasn't

Greenfield Virtual says last night is "preaching to the choir"
competency based will take us to the next level
"we will to transcend the confines of time and space"
"truly grateful for the increase in funding accorded in September"

Monday, March 26, 2018

March Board of Ed: Personalized and Competency-Based Learning

The backup memo is here; I also found this helpful in outlining what turned out to be the thought here; the beginning and the rest didn't really align.

"significant achievement and opportunity gaps remain"
difficulty of employers finding employees
chances to enrich learning for students
"personalizing our approaches to teaching and learning...not our high expectations or standards for our students"

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Board of Ed meets Monday and Tuesday

The Board of Ed this month starts Monday with one of its periodic special meetings; this one is on competency-based and personalized learning. I've seen a lot around those terms swirling on social media with not a lot attached to it, so it will be useful to get some clarity of intent.

On Tuesday, after opening remarks and public comment, the Level 5 report will have for the first time the Chair of the new Lawrence board-but-not-a-school-committee reporting on their search for a superintendent. Also reporting is Holyoke receiver Steve Zrike whose contract, the memo reports, has recently been extended to 2021 including "an appropriate salary increase," not specified. I guess Holyoke isn't regaining local governance anytime soon.

In what annoyingly is a Word doc, the Board is being given an extensive memo on school safety, including information around the anti-bullying law and guns in schools. Note that this includes the actual text pertinent to that last M.G.L. ch. 269, § 10(j)
(j) For the purposes of this paragraph, ''firearm'' shall mean any pistol, revolver, rifle or smoothbore arm from which a shot, bullet or pellet can be discharged. Whoever, not being a law enforcement officer and notwithstanding any license obtained by the person pursuant to chapter 140, carries on the person a firearm, loaded or unloaded, or other dangerous weapon in any building or on the grounds of any elementary or secondary school, college or university without the written authorization of the board or officer in charge of the elementary or secondary school, college or university shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or both. A law enforcement officer may arrest without a warrant and detain a person found carrying a firearm in violation of this paragraph. Any officer in charge of an elementary or secondary school, college or university or any faculty member or administrative officer of an elementary or secondary school, college or university that fails to report a violation of this paragraph shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of not more than $500.
Emphasis mine, so you can note that this does not actually bar guns from campus. Perhaps they will discuss that.
As this was put together in response to a request from Ed Doherty that the Board take a vote on gun violence (and opposing arming of teachers), there may be a vote on that.

There are a series of proposed amendments to regulations having to do with the LOOK act, involving education of English learners, educator licensure and renewal and certificate of mastery. There also are amendment of vocational educator regulations (to include SEI endorsement). Those are (it is planned) to be voted out to public comment, which will include, the memo says, broad outreach to stakeholders.

There's also a proposed "vote to adopt" on changes in regulation that will bring our foster care regulations into line with ESSA, specifically around who is responsible for children who are in foster care and are on IEPs.

Plus, the one you've all been waiting for, the proposed changes to accountability are also proposed for vote for public comment; as the memo states:
The proposed amendments remove all references to accountability and assistance levels (Levels 1 to 5), and update the description of how districts and schools will be classified in accordance with our redesigned accountability system. These changes will enable the Department to make annual accountability determinations under the new system beginning this fall.
Think we can get #NoMoreLevels trending? That's funny, if you check, because it's mostly Candy Crush. 

Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter is less than thrilled with their request for expansion being denied, and they have appealed that decision to the Board. Note that the request was denied in part due to lack of recruitment of a student body reflective of the communities.

There is a recommendation from the Commissioner that probation for Greenfield Virtual School be extended for three years. The probation extends the earlier terms around sharing of the agenda, having stable enrollment, bringing up MCAS scores, keeping an escrow account in case of closure, and adds a focus on recruitment of English learner students.

Note under item 8 there is also a report on grants and on charter matters approved by the Commissioner.

My plan is liveblog both sessions. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Students speak up; do we listen?

I wasn't able to be part of the #MarchforOurLives today, as I had class. But I'm noticing something in the (adult) posting about the events across the country.

Young people's voices are being respected and magnified.

Listen, for example, to Naomi Wadler, age 11, speak of the too-often ignored gun deaths of black girls and women:

Or Ryan Deitsch on how we need to arm teachers and students:

Or read the eloquent students quoted more locally here in Worcester:
"I'm here to protest the gun violence because I think it is ridiculous that students are afraid of going to school, afraid that something is going to happen to them and just have meltdowns, breakdowns over just being afraid to walk out the door and go to school," Reese Lane said, adding it was important for him to attend a local rally.
 "Boston is a big place, but just one big place won't do it, we need multiple people to come together to end gun violence for good," he said.
It is amazing that millions of adults across the country gathered today to listen to children and young adults speak clearly and strongly against gun violence and for gun control.

How often do we listen?
Did you note, in the above MassLive article, its framing? The reporter went to an adult midway through and closed with the adult in the article. And that is part of what makes today unusual; we let the students lead. We let them open, we let them close, we didn't feel the need to put training wheels or bumpers or guidance around these protests.

Why was this only today?
Do we think that Naomi lacks this sort of insight around disparitiees in discipline policies? She is eleven, but that has been plenty of time for her to have a keen eye on inequities and racism. I imagine she would have some things to say about policies around discipline in a host of areas.

Do we think that Ryan lacks this sort of insight around budgets in general? Allocation of resources sounds like something he may have some thoughts about.

Do we think that Reece lacks this sort of insight around how is school functions and what school climate is like? It sounds as though he has given that some thought.

How often do we ask students big questions about the major place they spend their time? How often do we ask them how policies that are about THEM actually impact them? Do we ask if they work or not? What the consequences are? How often do we ask any students about budgeting? Do we ask what it's like to have a class of thirty in algebra? To not have books? To be told the class you'd been planning for years to sign up for is gone? Or the program or team you'd spent years practicing for won't be funded next year?

And how often, when they do tell us, do we take them seriously? When they tell us they don't get enough sleep, when they tell us mobile devices are a learning tool, when they tell us that, yes, their walkout is about guns, do we listen?
Or do we pat them on the head and tell them the grown-ups will make the decisions for them?

There are a lot of adults today who listened to children and young adults today and cheered.
There are a lot of adults tonight and this weekend who will share and magnify those voices on social media.

Was that just a good feeling on a sunny Saturday?
Or will you do the same when they have something to tell you about how the place they spend most of their time runs?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Who's minding the store?

As Scott O'Connell said yesterday, he did indeed have a number of questions that he asked administration.
The answers are concerning.

Principal turnover in a 44 school district is normal, and I would imagine this isn't all we'll see this year. It's still only March.
Do note, however, that North High still does not have a principal, either. Also, several of those are going to be tricky to fill: a Worcester comprehensive high school like South isn't an easy thing to lead and the superintendent has expressed less than confidence in what should be the rising leadership. Ricci Hall leaving Claremont first is a huge loss to the district--Hall could lead a district himself--and Claremont was a pretty substantially changed school under current leadership. Quinsigamond is Worcester's largest elementary school, and it's been shaky on MCAS results in past years. It will again be interesting to see if the School Committee's past interest in having a public input process appears during this round of searches.

The central admin holes are scary, frankly. As I've said before, take a look at our student body: Worcester is a majority first-language-not-English school system. In this school year, more than a third of Worcester's student body are English learners. There is NO WAY this district should be without an ELL director from January to the end of March. We've gotten almost 300 students from Puerto Rico (most of whom, you can bet, are English learners). ACCESS testing for ELL students was during January. The district literally just a year ago was almost (and finally) in compliance with the terms of a Department of Justice (yes, the federal department) agreement on English learners. The district has been under federal oversight since 2009. And note, by the way, the person who was largely interviewed in that article, Marco Rodrigues, is also no longer with the district. And those who are "covering" per the article from today's paper have no experience with this management; they're new to the district office, as well.

As for accountability and research, "getting ready for MCAS" is in no way the biggest part of that office (if it had been, my vote against creating the position would have been correct; I'll happily admit I had this one wrong). For the third largest district in Massachusetts, Worcester has done an amazing job staying out of the attention of DESE's takeovers. Compare our numbers to Springfield (poorer, but not that much bigger), for example; we've not had nearly the number of turnarounds and (knock wood) the bright idea of an empowerment zone hasn't flown here. There are plenty of things to credit on that, but one of them has been number crunching: what are we doing well? what aren't we doing well? And no, that isn't just MCAS; it's things like when our kids start kindergarten, what the information we have can and can't tell us, and how we can use what we know to do better. It may sound like a luxury--it did to me back in 2010--but it's kept us out of hot water in the time since.

Here's the thing: there's a learning curve for every superintendent, and this one has been steep. There's also turnover in every administration; in this case, that has also been steep. Some things that we ought to be asking here, thus, are:
  • who is leaving and why?
  • who is covering those responsibilities and what experience do they have doing so?
  • why is it taking so long to fill some positions?
One can't just keep saying things are being covered by the (new) deputy superintendent and have that be okay. It's not. 

Telling comment from Lanesborough

If you remember the big take away on urbans and the foundation budget, it's that they can't meet the basic needs of students adequately on the foundation budget. Cue this testimony from Lanesborough (NW corner of the state, by Williamstown) last night:
"I'm sure that it looks awfully self-serving for the fourth-grade teacher to make this request," she said. "But in 23 years of teaching, I've only come before this type of committee once. I'm alarmed that 25 9-year-olds are going to be in a fourth-grade classroom. In the entire history of fourth-grade at the current building, we've never had 25. By the time they get to sixth grade, we do have bigger classes … but with the expectation on fourth-grade, the expectation on these 9-year-olds to meet state standards in a class of 25 is difficult."... 
"In another elementary school in our district, I know there are not 25 students in the fourth grade," Szymanski said. "We're expecting the same progress and the same results, and we're sending the students to the same middle school. … Every elementary school teacher in my position would handle it, but why are we setting it up to be a problem?" Mello said she's had to "piecemeal" things and use every volunteer she can find to get through a year of having 25 pupils in her third-grade classroom and asked the committee to seriously look at the issue for next year.
Again, I'm not criticizing any district that is pushing to keep class sizes small. We should want, and should work towards, that for everyone. 

I haven't said anything here about the student walkouts in Worcester

...and now I don't have to, because Bill Shaner caught the story at Worcester Magazine.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Open questions in Worcester

Since we have a moment this early dismissal day, here's a few things I'm wondering about the Worcester Public Schools:
UPDATE: I no sooner posted this than Scott O'Connell, the T&G education reporter, tweeted back: 
So: read Scott tomorrow on the ELL director. And we'll see if his questions get answers on the outstanding ones.

UPDATE #2: Here's the article to which Scott was referring. I'll put some thoughts on that in an additional post.

Monday, March 19, 2018

speaking of the foundation budget

Here's a piece I wrote for the Globe as a parent in the Worcester Public Schools.

A few notes that I tweeted out on this:
One thing we are not talking about in Massachusetts is population and demographic shifts.
Most districts in the state are getting smaller; Gateways are not, largely. They're growing. Since 2008, non-Gateway districts have dropped 2.5% in enrollment; Gateway cities have grown 3.8% in enrollment.
What our student enrollment looks like is also changing. The fastest growing demographic in student enrollment is Latino students; from 2008, they went from 13.8% of our student population to 20% of our student population. Over the same period, African-American students went from 8.1% of our enrollment to 9% of our enrollment.
Because of how our districts are defined, no single district looks like the above. Either you're seeing a shift or you aren't, possibly at all.
Per pupil increases, as I've said before, don't touch (usually) the Gateway cities. But per pupil increases pass. The foundation budget findings which would help the Gateway cities the most (no question, 'though don't you believe it when someone tells you only they would benefit) don't pass.
That doesn't say anything good about our bastion of public education, equality, and democracy, does it?

Yesterday was the last Ways and Means hearing for FY19. The ball's in the Legislature's court. As Matt Murphy said in State House News Service yesterday, "The House and Senate, where Democrats hold super majorities, will have an opportunity to set their own education funding levels when they pass their own budget bills in April and May." We'll see what those priorities are.

FY19 Joint Hearing on Ways and Means

Coming to you today from Peabody City Hall...the hearing begins at 10 am.
EDIT: My cleared up and probably more readable report for MASC is over here.
Opening this morning with the National Anthem and other music from the Peabody High School Chorale and welcome from Peabody Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt, who notes that the building was an opera house.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Globe NAILS IT on Brockton funding!

Teachers from across the city descended on the high school where 80 yellow ribbons had been fastened to seats throughout the auditorium. Superintendent Kathleen Smith, in a grim voice, told everyone to look to the left and to the right: Each ribbon represented a colleague whose position had been cut over the summer in a painstaking effort to plug a $16 million budget gap.
Many teachers, though, needed no symbolic reminders of the departed: Years of painful cuts have left many of them with more students in their classrooms than they ever imagined, in many cases far exceeding acceptable levels in the affluent suburbs. Resources are running thin, too. Brockton was able to spend just $1.28 per student on classroom supplies during the 2016-17 school year, while Weston, one of the wealthiest towns in the state, provided $275 per student.

And there are charts!
Read, share, quote!

Oh, and note, by the way, how much the words of Superintendent Smith echo those of her predecessor:
The superintendent in Brockton is of the opinion that "the Brockton Public Schools are unable to provide the programs, services and personnel that are necessary to meet the needs of its students"; that "Brockton is not adequately teaching its students to read"; that "shortcomings in the history and social studies programs in the Brockton public schools . . . have severely undercut the system's capacity to educate its students to understand the society in which they live and to help students become enlightened participants in the democratic process as they become adults."
That's from the McDuffy decision.

Friday, March 16, 2018

It's time to talk about Doherty

The good news last month that Doherty was invited into Feasiblity with MSBA on their renovation/rebuild means it's time to start paying attention to this project. Feasibility is the part  where renovation is considered, and locations of a rebuild are considered.

South High was relatively easy: the school department had enough space at the Sullivan/South campus to build a new building onsite while continuing to use the current building. The city did this at Nelson Place as well.

There will be no such solution possible at Doherty. The footprint of the school, the parking lots, and the practice field are all that the school department has. The rest is parkland.

Those who watch green space in the city have every reason to be concerned: Worcester Tech, of course, was built on Green Hill Park land, after a protracted legal battle. A quick glance down the list of current Worcester schools shows that this was a standing Worcester practice: Belmont Street and Wawecus both have nice granite posts outside not because the school is there, but because they are on what was parkland. And they're hardly alone.

A year ago, Mayor Petty tweeted out this:
There are other answers possible. It isn't, for example, as though Worcester lacks space in buildings that can/have been schools that can be acquired and renovated. There are also schools of significant size--Everett High comes to mind--that have been built on small footprints for many kids.

Worcester tends, though, to quietly do things behind the scenes unless public process is demanded. Time to start speaking up.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Responsibilities take me elsewhere tonight, but if you are NOT planning on being in Holden with me to hear about advocacy, can I suggest you check out tonight's Worcester School Committee meeting at 7? Maybe more like 7:15ish.
You can find the livestream here.

Here's why I say that: Worcester has been talking about the inadequacies in the foundation budget since...2013? Brockton was the city that brought first McDuffy and then Hancock against the state. They're two of the three (the third is Springfield) largest victims of the state's continued inaction on this. And both Brockton and Worcester are at the table tonight.

I hear there's new numbers.
If you're following the foundation budget, I'd watch Worcester tonight.
Regrettably, I will NOT be able to liveblog this, but I'll catch up as soon as the video is posted!

UPDATED: Brockton couldn't make it, so this report was POSTPONED, I'm told.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


In solidarity today with the National Student Walkout. Hashtags on social media are #Enough #NeverAgain #StudentWalkout

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

S. 223 is now S. 2325

Don't miss that the Foundation Budget Review Commission bill, up until now S.223, NOW HAS A NEW BILL NUMBER: S.2325:
h/t to Mike for the note! It is now in Senate Ways and Means, which has been urged to pass through with a favorable recommendation QUICKLY!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Worcester School Committee meets Thursday and Brockton is coming

Let's call it the McDuffy Redux meeting, as the report of the superintendent, the Dickensian "A Tale of Two Cities" will involve Brockton. My understanding is that at least the superintendent, finance admin, and possibly some school committee from Brockton will be in attendance.
And no, I can't go and liveblog; I have a meeting myself that night!

The Governance subcommittee meeting is reporting out, including a clarification that, yes, students can use cell phones at after-school events.

There are appointments, resignations, and recognitions.

There is a brief report on the EPIC grant on a pipeline of teachers.

There is a request for a report on Earth Day participation; a request that the Future Teachers program be expanded; for a report on school libraries.

Administration wants the Committee members to get back to them on co-sponsorship of items earlier (by Thursday noon).

There is a request to accept an innovation pathway grant for Worcester Tech; to approve prior fiscal year payments of $6,366.84 for Seven Hills Groton, MA Pediatric Center and of $4,396 for Durridge Radon Implementation; to accept donations of $10,000, on behalf on the Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU), for scholarships to graduating seniors, $25,000, on behalf of the Hanover Insurance Group Foundation, for the Hanover Insurance Academy for the Arts at Burncoat Middle School, $350, on behalf of the Boston Museum of Science, to Woodland Academy for bus funding for the student’s field trip to the museum.

Oh, and Worcester F&O, as we mentioned, is being nationally recognized for being awesome again.

There is an executive session for a worker's comp case, and for bargaining with administrative secretaries.

Countering the Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

Dr. Monique Morris, co-founder of the National Black Women's Justice Institute, speaking on and around her book Pushout

"research to practice gap" that we are in the midst of
"our practice is not yet consistent with our language"
"anti-oppression work in real time"
gaps floating underneath the radar
"no one really wanted to invest in this population that was being criminalized"
"challenge ourselves to think differently about the option that are or are not there for our girls"
re: school to prison pipeline: narrative largely constructive by experiences of boys and men
consider instead the various ways in which populations are coming into contact with criminal justice system
narratives emerging in ethnic media; girls who were arrested or threatened with suspensions or told to leave or use of excessive force
"this was about more than an isolated incident"
still this narrative that this is a crisis only among men and boys, but actually racial disparity is greater among girls
examine what is happening among girls just as had been examining what happens among boys
"is not only happening in one place; the disparity is all over the place"
disparity around arrests of both black and Latina girls
"school to confinement pathways"
more than just if someone is arrested on campus
"education is a critical protective factor against contact with the criminal legal system"
far less likely to be poor, to be abused, to be in contact with criminal legal system
"prevailing consciousness" how behaviors are interpreted and how black girls are engaged as learners and as humans"

schools not recognizing the reasons behind not being there; not recognizing or helping trauma
black girls not having their trauma read as trauma
schools' response is not to engage the girls as in trauma and support them
majority of girls and women engaged with criminal legal system have sexual assault experiences
schools can either contribute to the trauma or stand against it
"it's about the prevailing consciousness"

historical trauma
"have to make mistakes in order to learn" but can't make one mistake due to how it would reflect on her
coping mechanism to act out in response to bullying and lowered expectations around capacity to learn
"truth-telling is one of those tricky things in school"
spend February celebrating black history of speaking up, March of women doing likewise
"when girls do it in real time, we punish them"
"for many of our girls, they're willing to be punished if they can stand in the truth"
schools need to have space for students to do so without punishment
kids being out of school makes them vulnerable to being engaged in the underground systems that make it more likely for them to be in contact with criminal legal system

dress codes and the policing of black girls' bodies
"age compression" : younger black girls being perceived as being more adultlike
"our reading of those bodies"
"prioritization of policing girls' bodies"
"for a certain population, they're allowed to be children; for a certain population, they are not"
"there are other ways of dealing with a six year old's tantrum than calling the police"

perspective: you were either going to fight or you were going to be harmed
power conflated with fear; "hurt people hurt people"
oppression thrives in isolation

Stopping School Pushout has recommendations for policy makers, as does The School Girls Deserve
and there is not training for resource officers around working with black girls

restorative approaches as one, but don't isolate to a single modality
but "are supposed to be voluntary, not mandatory"
circle may not be the place it needs to start; cultural competency in restorative practices
repair relationship with oneself before restoring relationships with others
"that harm might start centuries ago"
Advanced Childhood Experiences informed decision-making tools: not just that you have a high score that matters; what you do with that
to build out a much more robust system of discipline rather than exclusionary systems
increased counseling/ multi-systemic care
amendments to protocols with school resource officers
have to engage in root cause mitigation
"you cannot implement safety; safety is co-constructed"
empathic discipline: responsive to conditions to a child's life, not just the behaviors of the child at that time
not "why did you do this?" but "what's going on with you? are you okay?"
building relationships; leading with love not leading with fear
"we have expectations that we should be fearful"

how we're engaging with young people; what are our expectations of them
prioritizing respect for each other
"get to know how to pronounce someone's name before you regulate how they dress"

trauma-informed and healing-responsive interventions to create safe spaces for all children to learn
impacts on brain and body and capacity to learn

leadership opportunities for girls are critical to the learning landscape
engagement in sports, in club activities

law enforcement officers are not in schools to discipline students; they are there to enforce the law
it is not against the law to talk back, to arrive at school out of dress code,
schools need to stop leaving it to them to intervene in schools that are under schools' jursidiction
also, using grandmothers as hall monitors (no police, just grandmothers)

align our actions with our intentions

Q on the legacy of colonialism
historical trauma is collective unresolved grief; giving space to be reflective
cultural practices that emerged out of survival, and trying to move past that

"not feeling safety inhibits learning...not just physically safe"
until people feel safe in their learning space, they can't learn
"healing to teach"

Secretary DeVos shows what she knows

There really isn't much more to say about this.

I don't know what this is

...intimidation? a power trip?
But it certainly isn't making anyone in Worcester any safer.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

"And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles."

Maybe it should have been that April, when they told us to move the kids to the closet, to the floor, away from the windows, to be quiet, not to stir.

Maybe it should have been that December, when they told us to be ready to block the doors, the windows, build a wall, find your weapon, think of escapes, organize your class.

Maybe it finally be now, when they told us they need to fire guns in the building, so kids will know what it sounds like, will be trained, will be ready.

When did it become reasonable school policy to teach kindergartners to throw their sneakers at men firing weapons?

When did we as teachers, as administrators, as school committee members, but most of all as parents, decide that training our children to be front line troops was a part of what they were sent to school for?

The literary analogies stretch back as far as history; I think of Moloch in Leviticus. The post title is from Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" in which the "why" is never answered.

We have failed to address the real issue--yes, it's guns.
We have failed to realistically assess the threat--Massachusetts schools are more likely to be hit by a tornado (for example) and we don't require those drills.
We have responded with an "answer" that has no evidence of doing anything other than traumatizing kids, and even some evidence of increasing the problems.
We have spent lots of money on "school safety" and not nearly enough on things that make kids safer and healthier across the board.

I'm with the Parkland students all the way on gun control. But that isn't the only pushback that is needed.

We are also well overdue for a discussion of REAL school safety and security. We need a rebellion, a refusal to subject our children to unproven theories that make some people a lot of money, give a few people power, and make a whole lot of kids traumatized.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Two follow-ups on February's Board of Ed meeting

I tweeted these out this morning, but I thought they needed a more permanent place.

You'll remember that the Board voted in favor of the contract Chair Sagan had negotiated with Jeff Riley for Commissioner of Education. Part of the discussion was start date: while everyone was looking for sooner rather than later, there was recognition that Lawrence, too, needs a smooth transition as it moves from single receiver to a board receiver appointing a (still being searched for) superintendent. "By July 1" was the date set. Today's Eagle Tribune, however, has an article in today's paper which says he'll leave within weeks. The receiver board has just started meeting, and they've just posted the position of superintendent; they are not going to have a superintendent in place any time soon. The article speaks of Riley leaving his assistant superintendent in charge, but can he even do that under a receivership?

There was much fervor over the Boston Globe actually publishing--can it be?--a less-than-rosy charter school piece today. In the rundown of the recent setbacks, Jamie Vanzis most notably puts together last year's Mystic Valley's violation of their students' rights over hairstyles and the unquestioning and non-public renewal of their charter this year. I had mentioned this in passing at the time of the meeting, but I'll note this again here: under the Mass General Laws, charters are granted and renewed by the Board of Education, not by the Commissioner. That is not what has been happening, however, as the Board has voted their authority to the Commissioner. Note this memo from the February agenda: Any Board member may call for the renewal to be discussed at a public meeting, but there is no allowance for the public to have input, to hear deliberation, or to otherwise be part of the process. And in this case, DESE has even refused the Globe documents about their decision. That isn't what was laid out by the Legislature as a process. Charter schools are much more complicated than a nice, neat little process with an office in Malden, and the public is owed more than that.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Called it

If you bet that Parkland was suddently going to mean advocacy for increases in "security" spending, you are correct!
"It clearly does raise the bar. Are we spending enough?" asked Rob Pezzella, director of school safety for Worcester Public Schools. "You have to reexamine what your priorities are."
That's from this WBUR article, which otherwise has much more to do with guns around schools and notes this:
It's worth noting that some such security measures were in place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, and that alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz had been disciplined for bringing firearms and accessories onto campus. Like other shooters before him, he wasn't enrolled at the time of the killing.
You're not going to police and gadget your way out of this one.