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: October Board of Education

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met in Malden on October 23 and 24. The agenda of the meetings is here.

Monday evening's meeting focused on the results of last spring's MCAS test and the resulting school and district accountability levels. The presentation given on the MCAS results can be found here. Student achievement in the legacy high school MCAS remains similar to prior years, with 91% of students in ELA, 79% in mathmatics, and 74% in science achieving a score of proficient or above. Most of the discussion, however, focused on the new test taken by the younger students. Acting Commissioner Wulfson opened by commenting that the standards of the test in grades 3-8 were more rigorous than in previous years, and he and others reiterated that it was a single datapoint, which they regard as a good baseline. He warned of being "wary of jumping to too many conclusions" based on these test results. Much of the discussion focused on the gaps between different populations, particularly the results among ELL students and low income students. There is additional information for families and for educators on the Department's website. 


Public Policy Updates: September Board of Education

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education held their regular monthly meeting in Malden. The meeting agenda can be found here. A video of the meeting is available here

Prior to the meeting, two new members of the Board were sworn in: Amanda Fernandez, who replaces Penny Noyce, and Martin West, who replaces Roland Fryer. James Morton was also sworn in for a second term. Fernandez is the founder and CEO of Latinos for Education. West is on the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education


Public Policy Updates: Joint Committee on Education Hearings

The Joint Committee on Education has held hearings this month regarding bills filed this Legislative session, several of which are of interest to members. 


Public Policy Updates: August Board of Education meeting

On August 17, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education held a previously unscheduled summer meeting, due to the untimely death of Commissioner Chester the morning of the June meeting. The meeting was called largely to discuss the process for hiring a new Commissioner. 


Novick Reports: Joint Committee Hearing S.223

MASC members from across Massachusetts were among those who packed the State House hearing room on July 25 to provide testimony on Senate Bill 223, An Act Modernizing the Foundation Budget for the 21st Century. Joining students, parents, teachers, superintendents, and civic allies, they gave voice to the urgent need for education funding reform.