Public Policy Updates

MASC reports on Massachusetts public schools, education news, school committee issues and updates from the Department of Education.

This information has been compiled by MASC Field Director Tracy Novick.

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.

The agenda of the meeting can be found online here; a video of the meeting is here.  


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.


Public Policy Updates: March Board of Ed

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met in Malden for their regular meeting on March 26, 2019. The agenda is here; the video of the meeting is here. 

The major news of the meeting was the announcement by Board Chair Paul Sagan that he would be completing his term at the close of the meeting. Secretary James Peyser then announced that Governor Charles Baker would be appointing current member Katherine Craven as the new Chair of the Board, and he would be appointing Matthew Hills, former member of the Newton School Committee, to the empty seat on the Board. Under Massachusetts General Law chapter 15, section 1E, the appointment of the chair is under the purview of the Governor. 


Public Policy Updates: FY20 Joint Ways and Means Hearing

The Joint Committee on Ways and Means met on Monday, March 18 at Bristol Community College to hear invited testimony regarding the education accounts for fiscal year '20. This hearing was chaired by Rep. Carole Fiola of Fall River and Senate Assistant Vice-Chair Senator Jason Lewis of Winchester. Bristol Community College President Dr. Laura Douglas welcomed the legislators to campus, speaking of the importance of education in her own family's history.


Public Policy Updates: February Board of Ed

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met on February 12, largely on charter matters. The agenda is found here
Upon opening, Commissioner Jeffrey Riley invited the Board to the upcoming statewide convening on March 14 at UMass Amherst. Specifics regarding the event will be forthcoming.
Public comment largely pertained to and was in support of the charter matters before the Board. Public testimony from MassCreative in support of the draft arts standards also was taken.