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: May Board of Education

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education held their May meeting on Monday, May 22 and on Tuesday, May 23. The agenda is posted online here.

The Tuesday morning meeting was held, as is the Board's practice, at the school of their student representative; Nathan Moore, this year's student representative, attends Scituate High School. The Board was welcomed by Superintendent John McCarthy and Principal Robert Wargo.


Novick Reports: Condition of Education in Western Massachusetts

On May 11, the Rennie Center presented "The Condition of Education in Western Massachusetts" at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. They introduced their data dashboard and hosted a panel discussion on student-centered learning.


Novick Reports: April Board of Education

On April 18, 2017, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary met in Malden for their monthly meeting. You can find the meeting agenda here. The video of the meeting is posted here.

The meeting opened with comments from Chair Paul Sagan and Commissioner Mitchell Chester. Chair Sagan began by announcing that member Roland Fryer has resigned. (Members of the Board of Education are appointed by the Governor.) Sagan also opened a discussion regarding remote participation by Board members, something to which the Board will be returning.


Novick Reports: Joint Ways and Means Committee Hearing on Education

There were two main themes that emerged in testimony at the education hearing before the Joint Committee on Ways and Means Wednesday, March 29 at UMass-Amherst: the impacts of issues outside the classroom on the classroom, and the need for funding reform in both K-12 and higher education.


Novick Reports: March Board of Education Meeting

The March 28 meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education opened with Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester speaking of his recent visit to Washington with other heads of state school systems. He reviewed what Massachusetts receives in federal grant funds of the grants proposed for decrease or elimination by the Trump administration: we receive $40 million from Title IIA; $15 million in 21st century grant funds; and $6.7 million in Title IVA funds. Also the staff of DESE is 60% federally funded; 15 or 17 positions in the department are covered by the grants mentioned above. Chester further commented that with Secretary DeVos, "choice is front and center on her agenda."