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.

Novick Reports: February Board of Education

The Board of Education met Monday, February 27 and Tuesday, February 28. You can find the agenda here.

While I was not there on Monday night for the testimony, discussion, and votes on charter schools, it was fairly well covered by the press. The Board voted to approve the Plymouth charter (8-0-1), Old Sturbridge Village charter (5-4), and the Westfield charter (5-3-1), despite concerns around its Gulen ties. It approved all expansion plans except the plans for the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter, around which there was significant testimony around their lack of serving all students.

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Novick Reports: Implementation of the Foundation Budget Review

FBRC Meeting Photo with Speakers and Panel

On February 16, school committee members, superintendents, school business officials and others gathered in Holyoke for a panel discussion on the Foundation Budget Review Commission report and the prospects of its implementation. On the panel or represented were Rep. John Velis of Westfield, present, and then represented by Emily Swanson; Rep. Aaron Vega of Holyoke; Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose of Amherst; Senator Eric Lesser, represented by Joel McAuliffe; and MASC Field Director Tracy Novick.

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Novick Reports: January Board of Ed Meeting

The Board of Education held their annual joint meeting with the Board of Higher Ed at Bridgewater State University on Tuesday, January 24. They then held their own regular meeting.

The joint meeting focused on early college expansion, with a presentation of the recommendations of a joint effort over the past year, and a featuring of the early college work at Marlboro High School. The boards voted in favor of a resolution to create a recognized early college designation, with a joint board overseeing it. The effort is to focus on students who might not otherwise consider college, and programs will be required to offer at least 12 credits. There is, at this time, no financing to accompany the effort.

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Novick Reports: Massachusetts plans for ESSA

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education intends to submit their plan for implementation of ESSA to the Board at their March meeting, with submission to the federal government at their earliest due date in April. This would allow for a response by the U.S. DoE prior to the beginning of the next school year, such that districts would know the direction intended in implementation.

The plan thus far was the topic of the Board's special Monday night meeting, with some continued discussion on Tuesday morning. The presentation to the Board can be found here. A two page highlights of the plan can be found here. An executive summary is here.

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Novick Reports: Conditions of Education in the Commonwealth 2017

This morning, the Rennie Center released their annual Conditions of Education in the Commonwealth report. Congratulations to the Salem, Brookline, and Leominster Public Schools whose work at the Carlton School, at the ACE program at Brookline High, and at the Leominster Center for Excellence, respectively, are recognized as exemplars in the report!

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