A tentative agreement was reached this week between the MTA and the education advocacy group Stand for Children Massachusetts that will impact how teachers are hired, transferred and removed relative to seniority; will give principals more authority in staffing decisions; establish an educator evaluation data advisory committee to advise the Board of Education on information to be collected for assessing and disseminating district evaluation data; and authorize appropriation for training fund grants required to implement the new teacher and administrator evaluations.
The consensus language is contained in a legislative proposal that will need both legislative and gubernatorial approval prior to the upcoming July 3 in order to become effective on September 1, 2012. If the proposal is passed, Stand for Children has agreed to abandon its efforts to secure the far more proscriptive ballot initiative slated to be presented to state voters this November.
MASC is in the process of reviewing the proposed language and suggests that a number of important questions exist about the efficacy, implementation and sustainability of the compromise. These include whether the legislature/governor will be able (or willing) to meet the tight deadline for approval or would they prefer to let the issue be decided by the voters? Would the passage of this legislation be a forerunner of other, more proscriptive initiatives in the future? Would the requirement for appropriations for training and data collection wind up defaulting to local districts as yet another unfunded mandate? What are the longer-range local and national implications of this compromise? MASC will keep members apprised of further developments and analysis of the proposal.