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New and Noteworthy
Public Policy Updates: April 2019 Board of Education
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met for its regular April meeting on Tuesday, April 23 at Newton North High School. Every year, the Board has one meeting at the school of their student member; this year, that is Maya Mathews, a senior at Newton North High School.
As presented at the Local Government Advisory Commission meeting on April 9, 2019 by MASC Past President Beverly Hugo (Framingham School Committee) and MASC Vice President Ellen Holmes (Ashburnham-Westminster School Committee)
We find many areas of concern that need to be discussed and resolved before we could withdraw our objections to the governor’s proposal for Innovation Partnership Zones, or whatever name might be in use at any given time for the model of school turnaround.
Implementing later start times presentation now available
The presentation from "The Science of Sleep and School Start Times" presentation on Tuesday, April 2 in North Middlesex can now be found here.
Part II of the presentation regarding implementation is Saturday, April 6 at the Courtyard by Marriot in Marlborough.
MASC Statement Regarding MCAS Test Question
The Massachusetts Association of School Committees joins its colleagues in advocacy in noting the inappropriateness of a portion of the MCAS test that was blatantly insensitive to many students as well as to their. MASC recognizes the cultural insensitivity of this and many other elements of standardized tests that undermine cultural sensitivity and joins those in the education community calling for more careful scrutiny of test components as well as the overall use of test data to label students.
However, we commend Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley for acting quickly and decisively to remove the question going forward and to ensure that no student will be penalized if the question had already been responded to. “This was an unprecedented flaw in the testing process, but an equally unprecedented immediate correction and redaction by the Commissioner,” said Devin Sheehan of the Holyoke School Committee and President of MASC. “We hope this ushers in an era of collaboration on the appropriate use of testing and test data going forward.”
Public Policy Updates: Joint Committee on Education
On Friday, March 22, the Joint Committee on Education held a hearing on education finance bills (note: link has video). The Committee gavelled into session shortly after ten in the morning, and the Committee hearing ended eight and a half hours later. The vast majority of testimony taken during that time centered on reconsideration of the foundation budget. In opening the hearing, House Chair Alice Peisch said she would find most useful testimony that centered on the issues surrounding low income students and how the state might be certain additional funding was spent on such students, including the best interventions. Senate Chair Jason Lewis quoted the first Massachusetts Secretary of Education Horace Mann in his Tenth Annual Report to the Massachusetts Board of Education:
Having no other mines to work, Massachusetts has mined into the human intellect; and, from its limitless resources, she has won more sustaining and enduring prosperity and happiness than if she had been founded on a stratification of silver and gold, reaching deeper down than geology has yet penetrated.