Tuesday, May 25, 2021

May 2021 Board of Ed: opening remarks

 You can find the agenda here. The livestream will eventually appear here.

the video is picking up 16 minutes in, so I don't know if they already started or not: updating as we go

Mother demanding change to mask requirements in school buildings
"if the vaccine works to protect people, and most of the adults are vaccinated"
"essentially a scarlet letter on her face"
daughter has been diagnosed with seasonal allergies "due to excessive mask wearing"
Mandela quote
"have used and abused them for far too long"
"unmask our children now...enough is enough"
another parent from Andover: grateful for commissioner bringing students back
"still work to do"
"sadly there is quite a bit to pick up" 
lacking access to full educational experience 
disparate safety protocols across the state: libraries being closed, spacing in lunch, students not drinking at desks due to space, movies during lunch
concerned that unraveling protocols doesn't reflect urgency
think that local control has gotten out of control
"cannot allow practices that allow students to experience"
"we cannot let this continue" and must end before next year starts
Westwood parent: lack of cohesion and consistency
"limited collective understanding"
three areas that we believe need urgent attention:
framing must change on "relative risk" and every protocol comes with a tradeoff; about children's holistic 
must consider purview of local control when it comes to public health matters: "seeing this scope creep"
"where school committees have to vote if students can unmask at recess"
existing and future guidance: believe fall 2020 guidance should be made null as of June 3
families to play a role in managing their child's risk

and another group: Mass Parents United now testifying and they brought charts
MPU has the results of a survey they did on parent priorities
"want to make sure this money is not spent wastefully"
individualized education plans; meeting student needs; equitable access to technology, free for all families; inclusive curriculum; human centered, culturally proficient teaching; communication with families; safe and healthy buildings; career and college opportunities
"we need to fix this broken system"
"the point is our kids need counselors"
"our kids need staff that look like them"
school programs that give them cultural awareness
"the teachers are awesome and they're underpaid"
"once a generation" chance with this funding
one of our concerns is keeping our kids healthy

voke tech regulations
Northeast Metro Tech superintendent: care about those communities and the young people in them
skills and knowledge they need to access stable well-paying jobs
isn't a one-size fits all solution to admission practices
advocate for consideration of equity more broadly including at the elementary and middle level
Norfolk Aggie: access of eighth grade students to vocational schools information
Old Colony: collaboration of his sending schools
value opportunity to be involved in dialogue with DESE
MAVA requests revisions: reports every three years, by November, starting next year; administrators reviewing data annually; compare with complete group of students (not just those in the sending district schools); expanded seats and programs; delivery of curriculum and daily culture

Chair Craven
Vice Chair Morton: commissioner's review committee have met several times
have interviewed almost 40 stakeholders; drafting evaluation for full Board at June meeting
Craven: hope to resume going on the road; not sure if it will be possible to go to Billerica for June
Board has done a lot of anti-racism training during pandemic; thoughtfulness as to equity
Fernández: need to address comments made by Moriarty
could debate the intent; more important to do system level work on advancing equity
"if anything we should uplift" tendency of "some many communities of color"
have laid bare disparities in education system
but also vitriol and hate spewed at communities of color
"fever pitch" of disagreements around schooling in pandemic
"given the privilege of the position we are in" have responsibility in modeling language
"work must continue; we must go further"
common definition of what equity means for the Board and putting it into practice
Craven: front and center, keep this topic going
would like to have summer retreat on this topic
Craven has asked Riley for lessons learned from pods
Morton: want to endorse what was said; job is to embrace communities facing greatest challenges: racism, poverty, bias
"let us never forget the challenges of those who are faced with racism at every turn"

Peyser: thanks for comments

Lombos: support Fernández comments: didn't know how to deal with letters calling for Moriarty's resignation 
would like process and protocols on communications in such circumstances

Craven: "it's not going to be the first time there's controversy in this Board" 
There's going to be if we're doing our work

Riley: observes first anniversary of George Floyd's death
congratulates Jasper Coughlin into George Washington University

Craven calls for moment of silence for Floyd's death 

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