Thursday, June 28, 2018

Board of Ed in sum for June?

It's posted over here.

EDITED TO ADD: Can I just say a thing about this?

Earlier this week, Massachusetts:
  • got new standards in what we're teaching in history and social studies, including deep conversations around the histories of marginalized groups, of protest, of use of first person sources, of focus on whose stories are told.
  • adopted changed regulations around how we teach English language learners, among the fastest growing group of students in our school systems.
  • changed how we evaluate schools and districts and how we talk about that.
That's some pretty big stuff.
There was not a sound or syllable on this anywhere in the press, as far as I can find.

Yes, there is a lot going on. But all of the outcry over civics, over those not knowing history repeating it, over the weaponization of language, over questions of who speaks what and why, over who has resources and who does not, over what it is we're doing when we educate kids? That's all in here.


It is really important when we change history standards and talk about whose history we teach.
It is really important when we adjust how we teach kids who learn English and talk about who speaks what language and why.
It is really important when we shift our measurement and evaluation of schools and how we talk about this.

These are all current, highly-relevant conversations that are being had at every level. What we do with our kids informs the future of this country and the world at large. 
We really can't afford to skip this stuff.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

SCOTUS rules against public sector unions charging agency fees

The Supreme Court found for Janus in Janus v. AFSCME
I do want to point out one thing that I think many people are going to get wrong on this: this was about AGENCY FEES, not dues. The case was brought by someone who disagreed with the political positions taken by the union which represented him and did not wish to contribute to support for those political positions. What he was being charged, however, was not dues--he was paying only for the representation he got at the bargaining table by the union.
Currently, unions are required to represent all those of a unit at the table, whether or not they are members of the union (this is "exclusive representation"). The union charges non-members for this service. There's some discussion online about a suggestion from Justice Alito's writing that states could allow unions to refuse to represent non-members.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

June Board of Education: FY19 budget update

Riley: I am watching this very closely
"I know there's some despondency over the millionaire's tax, including mine"
long term have to look at what needs of educational community are

Bell: I don't have any magical solutions to the bigger topics that were here awhile ago
FY18 winding down
three more full work days in FY18
have finalized second round of FY18 hurricane relief appropriation
schedule payments for tail end of this year; districts can carry over to next year
federal government made available $2.5B over natural disasters
have applied for funding; have yet to get a decision on what award would be

FY19: Legislature put $5B interim spending bill to Governor
"I don't have an exact update on where Conference stands"
"obviously a lot that's been going on with other pieces of legislation that have fiscal impacts as well"
biggest concern is history MCAS funding
differences in local aid; Senate was higher

opening FY19 on federal funding
putting together various applications for programs administer over next month and into August

Peyser: implementation of new frameworks that we just approved
well over half a million dollars to support implementation of standards

June Board of Education: Computer Science

backup is here
expanding access to computer science: allow more to study computer science particularly through MassCore, expand numbers prepared and interested in pursuing computer science
where are computer science courses offered and who is taking them?
course enrollment in computer science does not mirror student enrollment; higher among white and Asian students, lower among black and Latino students
students need to be exposed to computer science early in their schooling; can be integrated in existing curriculum
Stewart asking about disparities in enrollment of students
how does one find the reasons for those disparities?
Peske: using the data to drive us to ask more questions
"drilling more deeply into the reasons below the data that we see"
Trimarchi: "the reason I didn't take computer science is that it wouldn't count for math or science"
really incentivizes something we haven't
Peyser: barriers to offering computer science, to taking computer science; trickles down to elementary school
overall enrollment in computer science?
McKenna: some of the things in some of these places might be a summer offering
"I think there are a lot of students who are interested in this but can't access it"
Fernandez: factoring in outside organizations?
A: MassCUE and MassCAN for PD and outreach
don't count in landscape report

motion carries 

June Board of Education: accountability

Johnston passes off to Curtin:
backup is here
has been rooted in the ESSA plan and moving towards results being published in September
solicited public comment; received eight
series of issues commented on more frequently than others
"looked through those comments and have made some changes"
summarized as:
  • The lack of specificity about the accountability system in the regulations. 
  • The use of the percentile metric to rank schools relative to each other. 
  • The removal of the Conditions for School Effectiveness. 
  • A desire to include a formal period of public comment on any future proposed changes to the accountability system. 
  • The authority of the Board to designate a district as underperforming 
  • The authority of the Commissioner to modify the turnaround plan for an underperforming school. The Commissioner's authority to remove the chronically underperforming designation from a school that is within a district that the Board has designated as chronically underperforming.
"added clarity and specificity to regulations" 
have defined terms, more detail on annual performance reported out and how calculated
formal public comment period on annual changes
clarified authority of Commissioner in a turnaround plan
document that explains summary of component of regulation: includes indicators, weighting, subgroups, impact of participation, categorization of schools and districts
"nothing that has changed substantively of the system" just has been put in the summary document
DRAFT of single pager to explain accountability system

Moriarty: this seems to be screaming for a video explainer
Curtin: "we do have a narrated presentation, but if you don't have an hour and a half to kill..." agrees

Doherty: will vote against
"do believe the accountability system being proposed is not significantly different than the system we've been living under for two decades"
belive it has done far more harm than good
narrowing the curriculum to tested subjects
increasing the amount of time on test prep and test taking
placing students under a great deal of stress
labeling teachers and schools as failing based on student test scores
disrupting schools and students' lives by reassigning teachers and schools
"has been no improvement in narrowing achievement gap for past ten years"
Reville's comment on "ironclad correlation between socioeconomic level and achievement"
time to admit that poverty is the major factor in test scores
"schools are terribly underfunded, especially in our poorer communities"
"if the state can't provide these's time to stop blaming teachers and start blaming the state"
"time to press the pause and the reset button"
would like to set a better course for the future

Stewart: appreciate Ed's comments, feel in many ways we need to go in a different direction
"have gone on record, asking for a moratorium of the state test for a few years" to examine impact
"agree with Ed on the funding problems we have...something has to be done"
"I'm not excited about this accountability is not clear and actionable"
"We already know a lot about those districts and what they do need"
"it's not a very progressive doesn't move us forward"

Fernandez: "I have to agree that I'm not as excited about the direction this is heading"
given that we all know we need to close achievement gaps
(to Riley) Where does this fit in on the listening tours to better inform what appears to be a pretty big decision we're making here?
change curve "we'll still have the mindset around the former accountability do we monitor and make adjustments"
"still appreciate the work that we're trying to bring a more fair way to assess our schools"

Peyser: strongly in favor of the work that's been done here
incorporates a broader set of indicators than prior set
focus on bottom quartile of students "is a dramatic shift"
performance categories: schools and districts paying appropriate attention to all of their children
individualization of performance expectations
strikes right balance between achievement and improvement
"this is not perfect; there's no such thing as a perfect accountability system"
balance of fairness and accuracy
"strikes appropriate balance"
"no one that I know...would argue that accountability creates school creates information that can drive school improvement"
without accountability system, too easy for adults to turn a blind eye to groups of students
"outrageous and wrong" to blame accountability for these things
"I think this puts us on a more solid footing going forward"

McKenna: "I don't disagree with the Secretary in terms of accountability did point out some of the gaps we had"
"but what's happened...we never envisioned that these tests that we'd put in would develop into teaching to the test"
I'm afraid that those kids (the bottom quartile) will spend more time in test prep
if you're in a higher socioeconomic district, you don't spend time on test prep
"I'm not against accountability, I'm not against testing, but I sort of think it's gotten out of hand"
"I don't at all think that you folks didn't struggle with this"
"I do think that adding the lowest performing kids isn't the way to go, but I think it's going to again have unintended consequences"
losing opportunity for creativity and innovation in those schools
we did say we'd spend more time on music and art "and we don't"
"I am worried that if we approve this; it will be a long time before we do this again"
"wish we would give the new Commissioner the time to finish the listening tour"
"have opportunity to have have six months to do this"
"If I were him, I would want it"

Sagan says Riley said to approve it
Sagan: "this is a very important vote for us"
believe our accountability system has been an important piece for decades
"we know what happened for centuries before"
we do?
"correlation is not causation and all too often" we say that it is
"test prep is not the same as learning the material that we test"
will vote yes, would ask others to do likewise, "I think that it would send a chaotic signal"

Riley: believe this needs to be done for ESSA requirements
had hoped to have time to convince the Secretary of the importance of growth over achievement
"there's certainly federal things that have to be done which is part of the reason that I'm going to ask you to endorse this today"
meritocracy only works if kids all start in the same place when they are 17 or 18 years old
"I am searching for the formula that get all our kids to the same place"
"have seen the test score phenomena and I believe the pendulum has swung a bit too far"
"when you talk about the secret formula, I believe that test scores is a part of it, but that isn't all of it"
"the kids who had preschool had better life outcomes"
"in the interim, I have advocated around"adopting this
"it does beg a bigger question in education: where are we going and how are we going to get it done?"
"If we can't figure this out in Massachusetts, who's going to get it done? I believe in Massachusetts exceptionalism"

ADOPTED: 7-2, Stewart and Doherty opposed

June Board of Education: ELE proposed regs

backup is here
Moriarty says he has an issue for the proposed seal of biliteracy
public comment received April to May: 130 comments
vocational educators is one set
four sets having to do with LOOK Act
"quite enthusiastic about these regulations" further work with language learners in our state
expands SEI endorsement to vocational ed teachers and evaluators and supervisors of such teachers
postponing proposed SEI endorsements to July 2021
working group to assess ability of including SEI in pathway to voke licensures
SEI endorsement courses for Feb 2019 and fall 2019

process for new SEI or alternative English learner program by districts
English learner parent advisory councils required
bilingual education endorsement covers all bilingual programs with English learners
on seal of biliteracy: English through means other than MCAS
multiple opportunities to demonstrate English proficiency
align with higher ed standards on earning credits for foreign language
on additional level of distinction in guidance

Riley: "I feel like unlike history...this is much more truncated"
"time to reflect, to put something in the field and see how it goes...give ourselves some time to tweak"
suggestion that we go forward and look at the data and see where we are
Peyser: we need to get out in the field, get to implementing, and see how it goes
Sagan: we do have a law and we need to get out in the field and start implementing

Moriarty: proposes moving all by seal of biliteracy
concern about standards set in seal of biliteracy
he clearly has an issue with it but he isn't saying what
Moriarty: I don't know that there's a way of making changes on the floor
Sagan: Commissioner has said putting it out there and making working changes
Moriarty: so bothered by "the low standard that that sets" that I am inclined to vote against it

McKenna: can we talk about the whole thing first?
"we've been living with this English only mandate for fifteen years and have been struggling with it"
"and I think it has a lot to do with the achievement gap"
a little concerned about the regulation, but "I put my trust in the Commissioner"
"Sheltered English programs are what got us into trouble in the first place...but I leave this to you[Riley] to fix"
"now that we have this mandate, let's have some urgency around it"
"there's some real difference between being a bilingual educator and an English learner teacher"'
you can speak both but that doesn't mean you can teach bilingual education
I really think pedagogical methods means a lot
"this should point out to us that our fastest growing population is our Latino teachers in our Gateway cities"
"short not only EL teachers, but also special ed, guidance who are bilingual who can assess these kids"
"they're not around"
"I think we need to jump in here...I think if we do this well over the next couple of years...I think we'll see real movement in the achievement gap"
"thrilled to see this happening, leaving it to Jeff to make it right"

Riley: "let's see what works and what doesn't" as we move forward
"I do appreciate your point about language"

McKenna: have had thousands and thousands of teachers and before we have thousands more take it
"we should at least survey them"
"it deserves being looked at before others take it"

Fernandez: in support of taking a wait and see approach given the trucated nature of process
"would urge some time spent on setting a vision...what is our North Star?"
what we want for our English Language learners and all children in this state
do we want to become a multi-lingual state?
what are the goals we're setting there and what are we doing to get there

Peyser: Sheltered English not being outlawed
ensure that the alternative programs are researched based, quality programs
"trying to actually move the needle on achievement and academic improvement"

Sagan: not that I don't share (Moriarty)'s concern, but we have to implement the legislation
message to department is "this is very complicated" and expect them to come back to us

roll call on separating, which fails

McKenna: can I ask what your issue is?
Moriarty: concerned with MCAS 10th grade
"how many students who have passed 10th grade MCAS for proficiency"
higher ed students who have to go into remediation
wants to be "somewhat parsimonious about giving them out"
what about speakers of other languages?
"if you're not reaching those standards...God forbid you had to take remedial English in community college" after you got a seal of biliteracy "what are we doing"
value of dual literacy in employement sector
Riley: what is appropriate standard to use "and I don't know that we know that yet"
would recommend that we approve this and adjust as necessary

regulations approved 8-1, Moriarty opposed

June Board of Education: history and social studies

backup is here
Riley: a comprehensive two year endeavor
hundreds of comments that have been absorbed
Peske: "rich, robust" engagement process
Sagan: I'd focus on changes and updates
Peske: five slides, changes from May to now, I think the time is six minutes
Dave Buchanan: concern about one standard at the end of high school course around race relations since 1960's
have done some work to broaden that standards; provides opportunities for students to look at impact on legislation over time
ties students to using data in studying social science
includes students in civics work group acknowledgements
footnote in grade 8 civics now includes Mendez which laid groundwork for Brown
Susan Wheltle: how best to include information about native peoples
important movements of late 20th century; now also includes movements around native sovereignty
Michelle Ryan: implementation over next year
three day institute coming up in July on civics, specifically focused on 8th grade course
integrated approach to history around literacy
quick reference guides coming in the fall
instructional support networks
vertical progression documents

Stewart: availability to families?
Peske: have tried to include families in all work
being more clear with teachers about what has changed since last standards
"don't have a complete plan sketched out but certainly thinking of families"

Fernandez: feedback loops?
engage working group over implementation?
Peske: variety of data sources to get feedback from educators themselves
more qualitative methods
get feedback from those who use quick reference guides and the like
share best practices around frameworks

Stewart: supplemental processes...does that get to the heart of the concern expressed by earlier speaker (from Deer Island)
Sagan: process for further revision?
Peske: shifting into implementation; build out set of resources
very much informed by needs of field
"are not poised to bring frameworks back for further revision anytime soon"

Peyser: pick up on comment on anticlimax
"this is really a very big deal"
"not just further content, but further quality"
"has implications for the rest of the curriculum"
"underlying document is quite strong, certainly stronger than what we began with"
"as much as implementation is the next step, assessment is" another
other sorts of assessment "to provide greater focus to the field"
capstone project "as suggested by Roberta"

McKenna: "has been a long, arduous task"
"DESE can listen and adjust...and change and adjust"
"which is hard to do"
"you sort of had everyone coming at you from every direction"
"not perfect, but coming to a place where people have to applaud your work"
"teachers are enthusiastic" but need help, looking for professional development

Moriarty: professional development on implemenation
"has to be a non-negotiable"
is some legislation
Peyser: "I don't think there's anything in there that would be in conflict with what we have done"
"may require some additional effort on our part to bring the two together"

Standards are approved uanimously

June Board of Education: Level 5 report focuses on the Parker

backup is here
Johnston: new receiver for the Parker School in New Bedford; receiver team
Fran Roy of School & Main was assistant superintendent in Fall River
School & Main "a non-traditional receiver" started at Brandeis in 1985
rooted in challenges that underperforming schools or economically challenged schools face
technical assistance for wraparound zones; evaluation of online learning
systems for students success
"have incubated a Schools for the Future model" for kids that are overage and undercredited
Roy: work to date at the Parker
transition from in-house superintendent to outside receiver
wanted to do own assessment of school
needed to find a principal; believe they've found a candidate
certainly "have been a lot of eyes on the school"
collaborating with staff for professional development in July
family and community partnerships
"the Parker needs community supports"
"there's a list of partners that's a bit catch as catch can...has been all hands on deck"
"next level of let's have a ship where all of ships are headed in the same direction with partners playing the roles they're best suited to play"
"a group same direction kind of push"
"capacity to improve Parker lies within Parker"
moving to tiered family support model
parents build their own capacity to lead
"this is a 'we' situation and we're all moving ahead on the work that we do"
"tight-knit collaborative and committed staff" at the Parker

Moriarty: using the STAR assessment and measuring summer assessment
"call that out as a really good process...hope you can patent that and sell elsewhere"
hope that there are practices in place
ELA students did better than general population "but I can't praise it [cites stats]'s appalling"
Riley: "you have an opportunity to win the fall with parents"
"we hope you seize it"

Johnston on the other schools
asked to have more comparative data; report focuses on inputs and some outputs
data in the fall

June Board of Education: Opening remarks

Here in Malden for the Board of Education meeting; you can find the agenda here
Notes on Board and public comment going up here once they start. 
Looks like Member West is remotely participating; members Morton  and Craven are not here

Sagan calls to order
"we need to talk about the NASBE membership"

Riley: congratulations to Trimarchi as she is at her last meeting
Teacher of the Year event last week; great day to celebrate teachers
"it's always great to do that at the end of the year...sometimes I feel teachers get the most appreciation at the end of the summer when parents are ready to send them back to school"
thanks department for the work of months leading to votes today
speaks of number of pages going to Board members; looking to distil information
department work continues
charter schools approvals, teacher licensure audits
designating self as receiver of the Dever School with resignation of Chang
focus back on teaching and learning
honoring Chester by creating an in-house award for DESE workers
Wulfson to present first to Russell Johnston

Public comment:
Sagan is listing people who have signed up, a number of whom are not here
History standards:
History Unerased: LGBTQ history content advisors for new standards
infusion of LGBTQ history; notes the SCOTUS decision of which today is the anniversary
"when every child learns a shared" understanding of history "will begin to heal" pathologies
more inclusive curriculum that includes "dignity, liberty, respect for all"
Institute for New England Native American Studies at UMass Boston
participated in creation of standards
standards important in preparing students for success as higher ed
"assessing and expanding" native peoples in standards
Intertribal Committee on Deer Island
seeking additional format for tribal governments to contribute to the frameworks
"there was a public process and there's no critique of that process, but no government to government process"
concerns about "Deer Island concentration camp and geocide"
no representation of Native American history in high school
strongly urge a supplemental process, so as to not give even unintentional impression of exclusion

LOOK act testimony:
Mass Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages
Language Opportunity Coalition: advocacy on LOOK act and managing piloting of Seal of Biliteracy
here to support regs
originally opposed regs on seal of biliteracy
"thank Department for outreach...and making substantive changes"
will ensure it will be equitable for English learners
still a lot to do to support English learners and to support language opportunities for all students
need to consider "policy, practices, and resources" for English learners, not just in ELL
need pipeline for teachers
support for dual language
partnership between families and schools
support world language programs
"most excited the state is finally recognizing world language ability"
only 26% of MA students are involved in language learning
only 1 in 4 elementary schools have language programs
"language studies have not traditionally produced language proficiency"
believe we will have a seal of biliteracy award program that will be equitable for all students
tiered award program
bilingual education endorsement: teachers qualified for bilingual program
strengthening pipeline of such programs
have urged ELL or dual language certification for teachers in dual language programs
SEI is not enough; is designed for mainstream classroom teachers
all teachers must be ready for demands of teaching in dual language programs
need study in language acquisition; ability to compare and transfer knowledge between languages
Kevin Farr, Mass Association of Vocational Administrators
SEI endorsements offered to voke teachers
support postponement until January 2019
support LOOK Act and concepts that will help students succeed

Trimarchi introducing Maia Matthews who will be Student rep next year

on accountability
I think this is on gifted students being left out of accountability changes?
"demean the students you exclude"

on MLK Charter School being removed from probation
"great deal of transition at MLK which we hope will be longstanding"
"we intend with everything in us to live up to our last name, Excellence"

on waivers
person from Amherst "hardship waiver process used to dismiss candidates of color"
accusation of cronyism
"equitable process in hiring"
Sagan: I don't think it's appropriate to comment on the individuals
Riley: going through audit process and should have wrapped up in next few weeks

coming in at 9:30, a bit more on history standards
Roberta Schaefer, who was a member of the Board of Ed back in the 90's
"unfortunately, the history MCAS was jettisoned by the Patrick administration"
"this inexcusable decision" now can be reversed
has added a list of outcomes to her remarks
"should be assessments" advocates for fifth grade, eighth grade, tenth grade
"I think we've all learned by now that if you're going to test it, it will be taught"
learning about the complexity of the
"culture of tolerace and political moderation"
suggestions about assessment
thinks all students should be required to write a ten page research paper on one of five topics developed annually by the department, and should also do a five minute presenation on the same

Saturday, June 23, 2018

NSBA Trainers Conference: Cultural Responsive Social and Emotional Learning

 Another of the periodic postings from the NSBA Trainer Conference in Juneau. Today's session is "how school boards can integrate social-emotional learning and development with culturally responsive practices that create high trust/low-stress environments, re-build the natural confidence of the most marginalized students, and improve their ability to turn inert facts into usable knowledge?"
We're in the Alaska State Library this morning.
Presenting today is Heather Coulehan of the Association of Alaska School Boards
CRESEL i3 grant (Culturally Responsive Embedded Social & Emtional Learning)
"what does this work look like in a particular context?"

Friday, June 22, 2018

June Board of Education meeting on Tuesday IS A LOT

There's a LOT on the Mass Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, for which you can find the agenda here. Livestream on Tuesday at 8:30 will be here.
Here come the votes on all of those things they've been talking about for months!

After opening comments from the Chair, Secretary, and Commissioner and public comment, there is the monthly update on Level 5 schools, with a particular focus this month on Parker Elementary in New Bedford, now under the receivership of School & Main Institute now that Superintendent Pia Durkin is moving on from New Bedford. Note that the annual reviews of all schools is attached to the link off the monthly update.
Then it is on to the social studies and history frameworks, which are now up for a vote. For those who had been concerned about the gap between the Civil Rights era and the election of President Obama, please note that the standard as proposed now reads:
Research and analyze issues related to race relations in the United States since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, including: the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and its impact on neighborhood integration; policies, court cases, and practices regarding affirmative action and their impact on diversity in the workforce and higher education; disparities and trends in educational achievement and attainment, health outcomes, wealth and income, and rates of incarceration; the election of the nation’s first African American president, Barack Obama, in 2008 and 2012.
There is also now a mention of the Mendez v. Westminster School District of Orange County, California case of 1946 when it comes to desegregration, as well as some more recent history around the movement for Native rights. There are a bunch of links off that memo; take a look if it is of interest.
The regulations that will govern implemenation of the LOOK Act are also up for a vote. For those who had been concerned about the requirements for the seal of biliteracy, note that there has been a change:
The proposed regulations retain grade 10 ELA MCAS performance as a criterion for demonstrating a high level of proficiency in English, but also add options for students who are required to complete an Educational Proficiency Plan to earn the Competency Determination. Those students will be able to demonstrate proficiency in English by achieving a minimum score or level determined by the Commissioner on a nationally recognized and readily available English proficiency assessment approved by the Department. The proposed regulations have been further changed to reflect that the minimum scores or levels on foreign language proficiency assessments must be aligned to higher education standards for awarding advanced credit by examination and ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.
 Odd to me that of the parent meetings, there wasn't one in the city with the largest number of English Language learners. Weird.

And yes, accountability is ALSO up for its vote on Tuesday! There is a link to the regulations as well as to comments received as well as to DESE responses; and people HOW did we only have eight comments? Really? And no, my comments made no changes. It appears as though there are no changes being made of any impact in the regs, though language was made more specific, and there is a note that the school and district report cards are coming out in December of this year.

Also up for a vote are the Computer Science and expansion of MassCore, to wit, allowing Computer Science to sub in for a math course. There is a report linked (it's another download, which is most of what I'm also mentioning but not linking to above) on the disparities in access across the state, as well. The vote specificially is around the change to MassCore, though the Commissioner is also looking for some affirmations.

The Board is being asked to vote on removing Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School in Springfield from probation (which it's been in since 2017). The Commissioner says it has largely met its conditions.

Due to snow days, the Board is being asked to waive the week's notice for charter school lotteries for this past year.

There will be an update on the state budget, which is still in conference committee. 
There is a request that the Board for to delegate authority to the Commissioner between meetings (aka, over the summer).
There is a proposed schedule of meetings for next year on which the Board is being asked to vote.
Other items for information includes one of my favorite reports of the year, the annual non-operating districts report.

The meeting is at 8:30 am on Tuesday in Malden and yes, liveblog will plane lands at midnight the night before... 

NSBA Trainers Conference: Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma Informed Schools

periodic posting coming in this week from the Annual National School Boards Association State Trainers Conference in Juneau, Alaska
This morning is Patrick Sidmore, senior mental health planner for the Alaska Mental Health Board and the Advisory Board on Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Trauma informed schools
a school that used have kids line up for tardy slips when they were late "and then we realized that a seven year old getting to school on time isn't really the seven year old's we greet them and ask if they've had breakfast"
and if the kid has gotten themselves up, due to household circumstances, gotten themselves to school and they're three minutes late, they warrant congratulations not punishment

It's not funny

Every word of this from Bruce Baker: 
Those kids who were in 5th or 6th grade then? In September of 2010 when I wrote this post? They’ve graduated high school by now (or maybe not). And many were never even given a chance – given the opportunity to succeed in schools with sufficient resources and supports – those like the kids in the wealthy suburbs (or elite private schools) that other children were lucky (yeah, lucky – myself included) enough to be born into.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Supreme Judicial Court takes Fair Share off the ballot

You can read the decision here. The crux is that it asked two things.
We conclude that the initiative petition should not have been certified by the Attorney General as "in proper form for submission to the people," because, contrary to the certification, the petition does not contain only subjects "which are related or which are mutually dependent," pursuant to art.
But I'll leave you with this:
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.
The moral imperative didn't vanish with the ballot question.

Worcester School Committee closes out the year

On the last day of school for the year, the Worcester School Committee meets for budget and for a regular session. The agenda is here.
They meet to discuss budget at 4 pm. The sequence of accounts is here; they made it through the non-salary accounts at the last meeting, so they'll pick up with the second page this week. Note that there are a series of responses to questions from the last budget session posted on the regular agenda; this includes further detail on the transportation change in the first and spells out the change in funding allowing for middle school sports in the second. There's also the traditional "you made these motions during the year to think about during budget; here are the answers" response.
I'm out of town, so you're on your own on this one.

After executive session (collective bargaining for liaisons, tutors, plumbers and steamfitters, and tradesmen), the regular agenda is taken up at 7pm. There are rounds of congratulations.

The report of the superintendent is presentation of the proposed strategic plan; note that this thus is the administration presenting a proposed plan to the School Committee, whatever rhetoric there has been otherwise. The agenda also has a motion assigning the proposal to subcommittee by section. With these items on the agenda, the time is good to comment on the proposal if you have comments. Public comment in Worcester takes place under a suspension of rules; I would be surprised if that doesn't happen this week.

There are a series of prior year payments:
  • $3,750.10 made payable to the Milford Maine School District 
  • $16,808.00 to James F. Farr Academy, Inc. for services rendered during a prior fiscal year 
  • $70.00 to JN Philips Auto Glass for repairs to a school bus
  • $3,090.00 to Van Pool Transportation for McKinney-Vento Transportation in June 2017
  • $153, 022.52 to Direct Energy for natural gas payments; finance types, check the backup: there's a thing there around tracking of prior balances
There are also donations:
  • $125.00 from George’s Coney Island to Woodland Academy 
  • $250.00 from Amica Mutual Insurance Company to Woodland Academy 
  • $250.00 from WEDF to Nelson Place School 
  • $4,455.50 from Unifirst Corporation to Tatnuck Magnet School 
  • $250.00 from WEDF to Belmont Street Community School

Mr. O'Connell is requesting that they review the new science curriculum.
There are several new courses coming through, seeking approval:
Mr. Monfredo is asking "Administration forward a letter to the City Council requesting that it review the proposed zoning regulations for cannabis facilities and reconsider the proposed boundary by making it further than 500 feet away from any school building." Not sure why the School Committee wouldn't simply to this itself.
Mr. Comparetto is suggesting a development position be added to the Worcester Public Schools; please see Boston for why Worcester keeps its development outside the administrative structure. 

Mr. O'Connell wants to set up a public participation process for Doherty and Burncoat; watch this one. We'll be told that all meetings are posted public meetings, but note how few there have been for Doherty (and were for South) compared even to Nelson Place, let alone what happens in other districts. The Worcester way is come back with a fait accompli and say that there are no other options. 

And Mr. O'Connell has an item about JROTC participation in Memorial Day and Veterans' Day activities, which sounds like someone thinks they got left out.

Remember, if the School Committee doesn't pass the whole budget before their regular meeting, they'll stay after the regular agenda to do so then!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

School's out forever

Two in-depth articles this week covering the challenges faced by small rural schools:

Note that this is also what districts in rural parts of Massachusetts are also facing. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Worcester School Committee deliberates FY19

What the School Committee is reviewing is the line item budget, which is online here. Personally, I'm keeping the Table of Contents, which is hyperlinked, opened and jumping from there.
The order in which it is suggested that they review accounts is here (which this year is the order in which the budget book is arranged, non-salary, then salary accounts).
Posting as we go once we start, which clearly isn't yet, as no one is here:

Worcester dress code

As I noted in the agenda preview, among the items on tonight's Worcester School Committee agenda is the district dress code, which currently says this:

The T&G discusssed this earlier in the week, noting the sexism not only in the policy itself, but also in its execution. Do note Superintendent Binienda's comment in this coverage from Boston:
Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda said, "we have to follow policies of the school committee until they’re changed.”
Binienda says it's up to committee members to change the policy but adds that "you can’t have those little shorts that, ya know, just go down right below your underwear."
And that's how you get dress codes that are harder on girls than on boys.

"I'm stuck here in committee and I'll sit here and wait..."

Morning inspiration, DC version:

Let's move S.2525!

The morning update brings us to 70!

Here's a little game to play this morning: What's in column B that isn't in column A? That would be representatives who either A) supported this bill initially or B) supported the House budget amendment that would do the same thing or C) both, BUT have not yet signed Rep. Vega's letter.
If they're in favor of it, call them and ask them to get it moving!

SIGNED:                         NO ACTION:
Arciero, James
Ayers, Bruce
Ashe, Brian
Berthiaume, Donald
Atkins, Cory
Brodeur, Paul
Balser, Ruth
Cabral, Antonio
Barber, Christine
Cahill, Daniel
Barrett, John
Carvalho, Evandro
Benson, Jennifer
Cassidy, Gerard
Campanale, Kate
Chan, Tackey
Campbell, Linda
Coppinger, Edward
Connolly, Mike
Cullinane, Daniel
Crocker, William
Cusack, Mark
Cutler, Josh
D'Emilia, Angelo
DiZoglio, Diana
Day, Michael
Donahue, Daniel
Decker, Marjorie
Donato, Paul
DeCoste, David
Dooley, Shawn
Diehl, Geoff
DuBois, Michelle
Driscoll, William
Durant, Peter
Dwyer, James
Ehrlich, Lori
Dykema, Carolyn
Farley-Bouvier, Tricia
Ferguson, Kimberly
Garballey, Sean
Finn, Michael
Garlick, Denise
Fiola, Carole
Garry, Colleen
Frost, Paul
Gentile, Carmine
Golden, Thomas
Gifford, Susan
Gordon, Kenneth
Goldstein-Rose, Solomon
Harrington, Sheila
Gonzalez, Carlos
Hecht, Jonathan
Gregoire, Danielle
Hill, Bradford
Hawkins, James
Hunt, Daniel
Hay, Stephan
Kafka, Louis
Higgins, Natalie
Kaufman, Jay
Holmes, Russell
Khan, Kay
Howitt, Steven
Kulik, Stephen
Jones, Bradley
Lawn, John
Kane, Hannah
Lewis, Jack
Keefe, Mary
Linsky, David
Kelcourse, James
Livingstone, Jay
Koczera, Robert
Markey, Christopher
Kuros, Kevin
McMurtry, Paul
Madaro, Adrian
Meschino, Joan
Mahoney, John
Moran, Michael
Malia, Elizabeth
Murphy, James
Mark, Paul
Naughton, Harold
Matias, Juana
Orrall, Keiko
McGonagle, Joseph
Rushing, Byron
McKenna, Joseph
Sanchez, Jeffrey
Mirra, Leonard
Scaccia, Angelo
Mom, Rady
Schmid, Paul
Moran, Frank
Scibak, John
Muradian, David
Silvia, Alan
Muratore, Matthew
Tucker, Paul
Murray, Brian
Tyler, Chynah
O'Day, James
Velis, John
Pignatelli, Smitty
Wagner, Joseph
Provost, Denise
Walsh, Thomas
Puppolo, Angelo
Whelan, Timothy
Rogers, David
Rogers, John
Ryan, Daniel
Smizik, Frank
Smola, Todd
Stanley, Thomas
Tosado, Jose
Ultrino, Steven
Vargas, Andres
Vega, Aaron
Vincent, RoseLee
Whipps, Susannah
Williams, Bud
Zlotnik, Jonathan

Updates as I have them today!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wednesday afternoon update!

Here's the current (as of 2:30 pm Wednesday) 3pm Wednesday  5 pm Wednesday) list of co-signers on Rep. Vega's letter to move FBRC OUT of Rules!

Arciero, James
Ashe, Brian
Atkins, Cory
Balser, Ruth
Barber, Christine
Barrett, John
Campanale, Kate
Connolly, Mike
Crocker, William
Cutler, Josh
DiZoglio, Diana
Donahue, Daniel
Donato, Paul
Dooley, Shawn
DuBois, Michelle
Durant, Peter
Farley-Bouvier, Tricia
Garballey, Sean
Garlick, Denise
Garry, Colleen
Gentile, Carmine
Gifford, Susan
Goldstein-Rose, Solomon
Gonzalez, Carlos
Gregoire, Danielle
Hawkins, James
Hay, Stephan
Higgins, Natalie
Howitt, Steven
Jones, Bradley
Mahoney, John
Malia, Elizabeth
Mark, Paul
Matias, Juana
McGonagle, Joseph
Mirra, Leonard
Moran, Frank
Muradian, David
Muratore, Matthew
Murray, Brian
O'Day, James
Pignatelli, Smitty
Provost, Denise
Rogers, John
Ryan, Daniel
Smizik, Frank
Stanley, Thomas
Tosado, Jose
Ultrino, Steven
Vargas, Andres
Vega, Aaron
Vincent, RoseLee
Whipps, Susannah
Williams, Bud
Zlotnik, Jonathan