Showing posts with label Dept of Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dept of Education. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

MA news: Mass. board of education approves two major changes


"For the first time since the MCAS became a graduation requirement in 2003, high school juniors will be exempt from having to pass the exam to receive their diploma.

The state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education unanimously approved the waiver on Tuesday. State Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley said the massive academic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic made it necessary to suspend the requirement.

If not for the pandemic, juniors would have taken their 10th grade math and English MCAS exams last year. But when the tests were canceled, it meant they would not have at least three chances to take the tests and, if needed, receive academic support before graduation."
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"State education officials on Tuesday approved preliminary changes to the admissions process at vocational high schools aimed at giving disadvantaged students a better chance of attending.

The unanimous vote by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education came after members and advocates criticized the current criteria as unfair to students of color, low-income students, English learners, and students with disabilities, depriving them of an important career pathway.

The draft regulations, which were recommended by education Commissioner Jeff Riley, would eliminate the current requirement that vocational schools consider grades, attendance, discipline records, and recommendations from guidance counselors. Instead, the schools would be able to set their own criteria for admissions as long as those policies follow state and federal laws, lead to student demographics that are “comparable” to their communities’ school districts, don’t disproportionately deny admission to students from marginalized groups, and “promote equitable access for all students.”
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Saturday, November 7, 2020

“What we heard from the governor today is a complete disconnect”

 From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"Gov. Charlie Baker, along with health and education officials, on Friday detailed an expectation that schools across the state should have students attending in-person learning and that most of the 351 cities and towns should strive to have students in classrooms full time.

The announcement was made alongside a major revision to the state’s weekly COVID-19 risk map, which has been tied to state guidelines for school and business safety policies. Under the new methodology, which adds population as a factor, the number of communities in the “red” or “high-risk” category will decline from 121 last week to 16 on the map that was scheduled to be published Friday evening.

Baker, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and education officials on Friday cited various pieces of research that found that in-person learning does not lead to increased transmission of the virus. While about 450,000 public school students attended in-person classes last week, Baker said there were only 252 confirmed cases among those students and staff.

“We continue to see too many communities with students learning in remote-only models,” Baker said. “Not being in school poses significant risk for kids, both related to COVID and related to other health concerns — like depression, anxiety and others. In Rhode Island, students learning remotely tested positive at a higher rate than students attending classes.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required) 

From CommonWealth Magazine we share an article of interest for Franklin:

"THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION on Friday ramped up pressure on the roughly 23 percent of school districts teaching remotely to return to in-person classes by releasing new metrics that downgraded the risk of COVID-19 in most communities and issuing new guidance suggesting hands-on teaching is safe even in hot-spot areas.

Gov. Charlie Baker said the evidence is clear that in-person teaching is safe. He noted cases in public schools declined this past week and Catholic schools statewide, many of them in high-risk areas, have seen few infections.

“Data collected from school districts across the US, of which we now have several months’ worth, shows schools can open and operate safely in person,” he said.

 “We know nothing can take the place of in-person instruction,” said Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley. “The time to get kids back to school is now.”
Continue reading the article online 

Friday, September 20, 2019

"We know that education drives opportunity"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"Massachusetts would invest a new $1.5 billion in its public education system over the next seven years under a long-awaited consensus school finance reform bill that House and Senate leaders rolled out Thursday and expect to hit the Senate floor in two weeks.

State Rep. Alice Pesich, D-Wellesley, and state Sen. Jason Lewis, D-Winchester, co-chairs of the Education Committee that has been working for months to develop the legislation, said a focus of the bill is providing resources to low-income students.

“I think it’s fair to say that if this bill passes into law, we will have the strongest and most progressive education funding system in terms of how we reflect the needs of low-income students,” Lewis said. “However, we realize that even with all those changes in the increased Chapter 70 aid that districts will receive, that there’s more that we can and must do to support the needs of all school districts and all students across the state, whether they are in rural districts, suburban districts, Gateway Cities or others.”

The bill, dubbed the Student Opportunity Act and unanimously endorsed Thursday by the Education Committee, would increase Chapter 70 aid to local schools by $1.4 billion, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo said it does not involve plans for additional taxes."
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Below, please find links to information regarding the Student Opportunity Act:
Student Opportunity Act Overview
Student Opportunity Act Fact Sheet
Student Opportunity Act Question & Answer

Student Opportunity Act Joint Announcement

Student Opportunity Act Bill Text: Senate Bill 2348

"We know that education drives opportunity" (Joint Committee on Education photo)
"We know that education drives opportunity" (Joint Committee on Education photo)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

"as challenging as it is rewarding"

Joyce Edwards, Director of Instructional Services for the Franklin Public Schools, is quoted in the Milford Daily News article on the new PARCC test that will replace the MCAS test.

What is PARCC? PARCC is Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

What is the difference between the MCAS and PARCC?
The MCAS —influenced by the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, whose creation followed the passing of the Education Reform Act of 1993 — has consistently tested for a collection of skills that educators expect students to learn during their elementary and secondary schooling. 
However, PARCC’s goal has been to use benchmarks that will accurately predict students’ chances of excelling beyond high school, should they choose to attend a four-year institution or dive into the workforce. 
"The MCAS was not developed to look ahead and signal whether or not students are ready for success after high school," said Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester. "This assessment is very deliberately asking that question . . ."

While the current MCAS science test will remain, the other subject areas will move to the new PARCC test.
Bolduc added, "They are taking the MCAS and putting it on steroids." 
With two versions of the test given in one school year — though districts will have the option to administer up to four versions in a year — teachers will get initial feedback from a late year test before the comprehensive final exam, providing them with, as Edwards put it, "just in time intervention." 
To prepare for PARCC testing, districts have to make sure they have the infrastructure to administer the test (for those that do not, the state will offer a pencil and pen version) and continue fusing their curriculum with the Common Core.
When you read "the infrastructure required" what they really mean to say is the computer systems the student will used to take the test.

Read more:

For more information on the collaboration of the 24 states visit

For information from the MA Dept of Elementary and Secondary Education visit

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Inflation and operating costs have far outpaced state spending on education

Inflation and operating costs have far outpaced state spending on education, putting intense financial pressure on a broad spectrum of school districts across the state, according to a preliminary report released yesterday.

The report, by the Massachusetts Department of Education, found that while healthcare, salaries, and special education program costs have escalated sharply, state funding has remained stagnant since 2003. As a result, cities and towns have had to shoulder a greater portion of the burden, raising property taxes and instituting fees for once-standard services, such as bus transportation and athletics, in order to make ends meet.

The increased costs also mean that school districts are spending a smaller percentage of their budgets on student instruction and salaries for teachers, guidance counselors, and other employees who have direct contact with students, according to the report. On average, districts spent just 51 percent of their budgets on instruction, a decrease of 6 percentage points since 2002.

Read the full article in today's Boston Globe