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: Ways and Means Education Hearing

Today I attended the Ways and Means hearing on education at Everett High School (View the blow-by-blow coverage on my liveblog, or find MASC’s testimony (which was submitted in writing) here).

The short version is that the Governor’s budget is not particularly popular, and in very parallel ways. The committee received testimony from the Commissioners of Early Ed, K-12, Higher Ed and Secretary Peyser together, then testimony from UMass President Meehan; after a break for lunch, they heard testimony from the Mass Association of School Superintendents, the Mass Teachers Association, the Mass Municipal Association, and Ed Moscovitch (during MASC’s time; for those who don’t know him, Moscovitch is something of the godfather of the Foundation Budget).

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Novick Reports: Board of Education - Charter Schools, Standards, Updates and more

The main upshot of yesterday's Board of Education meeting is that all of the charter items passed: new charters in Brockton and Springfield, additional seats in Boston and Everett, and renewed charters in Springfield and Boston (a Horace Mann). Find my notes on public testimony, notes on DESE’s annual report to the Legislature on charters, the deliberation and vote on new charters notes, the deliberation and vote on new seats notes, and the deliberation on renewal notes.

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Novick Reports: Board of Education, Southbridge, Charter Schools and more

The Board of Ed met this week at Roxbury Community College, after hearing testimony last night in Southbridge regarding the Commissioner's recommendation regarding Level 5 status (state receivership).

The big news first: the Board unanimously voted in favor of receivership for Southbridge, with several members citing the community's call for "help" at last night's hearing. Commissioner Chester becomes acting receiver immediately; he intends to appoint a permanent receiver by mid-February and suggested that he might appoint a non-profit, rather than a person, as the recever (which was not well received by several Board members).

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Novick Reports: Rennie Center - Conditions of Education in the Commonwealth

This morning, I went to the Rennie Center's release of their annual Conditions of Education in the Commonwealth" report. The data report and resource guide contain a rundown of major data points on a statewide level on preschool through college education in the state.

The main thrust of the morning, though, was the point they're making in the action guide: a push on social and emotional learning. As you probably know, ESSA requires states to come up with an additional fourth measure for district accountability; Rennie would like to see that be social emotional learning. The report presents examples from Boston, New Bedford, Newton, Chelsea, and LEAP which is in Salem, Peabody, and Gloucester. The keynote this morning was Professor Ron Ferguson of Harvard Graduate School, who presents on the 7 C's in the classroom (the PowerPoint isn't yet online but will be). That was followed by a discussion by the Board chairs (one vice chair) of early ed, K-12, and higher ed.

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