Novick Reports: October 25 meeting of the Board of Education

This morning, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met in Malden. The agenda of this meeting and last night's meeting can be found here.
Last night's session, which I did not attend, was an update on the state's update of the ELA and math standards. All of the backups, including the full suggested standards, can be found from this link. At this point, the plan is for the Department to bring suggested standards back to the Board at their November meeting, for them to vote out for public comment. Comment would be due back in January, with final standards voted in the spring.

This morning, there was no public comment from Secretary Peyser or Chair Sagan. Commissioner Chester opened his remarks by noting the state's reception of a nearly $16 million grant for new charter schools and shared practices. Secretary Peyser is attending a competition in D.C. this week as part of the New Skills for Youth grant competition. He mentioned that the supplemental budget does contain funding for the new MCAS. He spoke positively of his visits to schools, noted an opening on the career and tech advisory council, and spoke of New Heights Charter in Brockton being fully enrolled at 316 students.

There was a single public comment regarding gifted students.

There was an update on Southbridge (under state receivership) and on Level 5 schools (apologies; I missed the beginning of this as my wifi went down).

What had appeared from the agenda to be a straightforward update on the proposed (last month) drop of a student impact rating as a separate item from the educator evaluation turned out to be a fairly extensive discussion regarding a degree of concern both the Commissioner and others on the Board have with such a move. It opened with the Commissioner referencing what he believes to be a significant change in the teachers' association position regarding this; he specifically referenced "communication to their members," which I believe is referencing this article from MTA Today.From the discussion, it appears that at least Fryer, Peyser, and Moriarity also would resist a drop of that from teacher evaluation, with Fryer citing Gates Foundation research regarding teacher impact on student learning. It closed with the Commissioner commenting he "cannot endorse a regulation that removes student learning from consideration" and "I think a case can be made that we've been too soft on this."

The Board did vote, as expected, to extend the current MCAS as a graduation requirement to the class of 2020, meaning that the first class to be required to pass the new test to graduate will be this year's eighth graders, who will also be taking that test this year.

The Board voted to amend the regulations around turnaround plans, providing that the plan in place will remain in place until it is replaced, eliminating any limbo period.

There was also a discussion of the FY18 budget, which largely was a report by member Craven of the budget subcommittee meeting.