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: December Board of Education

The Board of Education met in Malden on December 20.

Note that the Board of Ed not only is now being livestreamed during the meeting, but the meetings are beginning to be archived online.

In his opening remarks, Commissioner Chester noted the substantial number of proposed changes to regulations and standards that are currently out for public comment. I've posted all of those here.


Novick Reports: Consensus Revenue Hearing

On Monday, December 5, the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means met jointly with the Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristin Lepore for a hearing regarding revenue for fiscal year 2018. The determinations set after the hearing determine next year's budget. 


Novick Reports: Together Is Our Only Chance

On November 30 at the Boston Marriott Newton, the Suburban Coalition, together with MASC Divisions I, II, III, IV, XIII, IV and the Minority Caucus, sponsored Together Is Our Only Chance", a panel discussion of the need for reform of the foundation budget. Joining MASC Executive Director Glenn Koocher on the panel were Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka, House Joint Committee on Education Chair Alice Peisch, and Chief of Staff for Senate Joint Committee on Education Chair Sonia Chang-Diaz, Nathanael Shea. 


Novick Reports: November Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting

The Board of Ed opened with comments from the Chair and the Commissioner. There then was a significant public comment period, largely of parents and community members from the Mattahunt School in Boston, which the Boston School Committee voted earlier this month to close next year in response due to the Commissioner's letter of "concern," presaging a declaration of Level 5/state takeover status. Please note that the Mattapan community is largely a community of color, and there were multiple notes of the closings of rounds of schools in communities of color in Boston (as has been true across the country). The district plans to reopen the school as an early childhood center. The testimony was eloquent in the concern over the loss of a neighborhood resource and a space of learning and "home" for children, many of whom have faced significant trauma in their lives already.


Novick Reports: October 25 meeting of the Board of Education

This morning, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met in Malden. The agenda of this meeting and last night's meeting can be found here.
Last night's session, which I did not attend, was an update on the state's update of the ELA and math standards. All of the backups, including the full suggested standards, can be found from this link. At this point, the plan is for the Department to bring suggested standards back to the Board at their November meeting, for them to vote out for public comment. Comment would be due back in January, with final standards voted in the spring.