Showing posts with label standards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label standards. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

495/MetroWest Partnership: New PFAS Drinking Water Standard: Presentation and Q&A with MassDEP

The 495/MetroWest Partnership will host representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for a presentation regarding the Commonwealth's new PFAS drinking water standard, to be followed by a Question & Answer period.

Presenters will include:

  • Kathleen M. Baskin, P.E., Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Water Resources
  • Damon Guterman, Senior Analyst, Drinking Water Program

This event will take place virtually via Zoom on Wednesday, October 21st, at 8:30 AM.  Click here to register:


In January 2019, DEP announced its intention to initiate the process to develop a drinking water standard, known as a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), for a group of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). 

On December 27th, 2019, proposed revisions to the drinking water regulations were published in the Massachusetts Register, marking the start of the formal public comment period.  

The revised PFAS regulation was published on October 2nd, 2020:

Click here to access a redlined version, highlighting changes implemented since the draft regulations were released in 2019

For more background information regarding DEP's development of a PFAS drinking water standard, click here

495/MetroWest Partnership: New PFAS Drinking Water Standard: Presentation and Q&A with MassDEP
495/MetroWest Partnership: New PFAS Drinking Water Standard: Presentation and Q&A with MassDEP

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Gov. Baker outlines a 4-phase reopening strategy

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"Reopening swaths of public life in Massachusetts will play out across four distinct phases and involve new widespread and mandatory safety regulations for all businesses.

The approach, announced by the Baker administration on Monday, could launch as as soon as next week with an initial phase applying to businesses that are best able to limit the type of person-to-person contacts that have fueled the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The broad-stroke framework that Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito outlined would ease forced shutdowns of non-essential businesses gradually over a timeline yet to be determined, building up to a “new normal” once a vaccine or other treatment for the highly infectious disease is available.

Many details about the process are still in the works and will depend on the recommendations an advisory panel will file in one week and on the trajectory of trends in the state’s COVID-19 outbreak. If public health data shows a new spike in cases or increased risks, the administration could order a return to an earlier phase."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

4-phase reopening strategy
4-phase reopening strategy
The 4 phase overview

The mandatory workplace standards for Phase 1

Video link =

Monday, October 26, 2015

What will the DESE do with MCAS, PARCC or the new option 'Door #3'?

At the Tuesday meeting (Oct 20, 2015) of the state Board of Elementary and Higher Education where the latest standardized test scores were released, those scores weren’t the main topic of the day. Instead, talk focused on a new twist in the ongoing discussion of whether to keep using the MCAS test or switch to PARCC: How about neither one? 
Mitchell Chester, commissioner of elementary and secondary education, is due to make his recommendation on the tests to the board before its Nov. 17 vote. In a special meeting Monday, he told the board that he was now weighing a third possibility, or “Door No. 3,” as he put it: a so-called “MCAS 2.0,” which could use elements of the new PARCC tests to build a state-specific assessment.

You can continue to read the article online here:

State Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester, left, and Education Secretary Jim Peyser speak with reporters following the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting on Tuesday.
State Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester, left, and Education Secretary Jim Peyser speak with reporters following the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting on Tuesday. (image from CommonWealth Magazine)

“None of the above” now looks like the correct answer to that test question. 
What looked like an either-or choice between retaining the state’s MCAS exam or scrapping it in favor of the new Common Core-aligned PARCC test has taken an unexpected turn and landed on a compromise plan to develop a revamped state test being billed “MCAS 2.0,” which would include a lot of content from the PARCC test. 
State Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester made it clear on Tuesday that he won’t recommend formal adoption of the PARCC test, developed by a multistate consortium of education leaders, but will instead seek to have the state retain control of the standardized test it administers to public school students while at the same time drawing from the new PARCC test to upgrade MCAS.
You can continue to read the article online here:

Monday, May 11, 2015

Should there be High Stakes Testing for Kindergarteners???

Reminder: there is a forum for parents with current kindergarteners or those with children coming into kindergarten in September. 
This meeting will happen at the Alumni Restaurant (Function Room) 391 East Central Street Franklin MA from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Childcare will be provided. 
You can sign up for childcare with the information here

Related to this meeting, John Oliver does his thing on standardized testing! 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Voices of Franklin: Future PARCC MA Community Meetings + Flier "Do you know what Common Core is?"

Good Morning, Steve! 
Went to one of the MA DOE PARCC meetings last night (Tuesday) at the Framingham State Univ.  A two hour presentation and Q&A ran to three hours plus.  Attendees were interested/concerned parents just trying to learn more about Common Core and PARCC field tests that will be starting this April. Teachers (from K-12), school committee officials and college professors.  I would say about two dozen attendees.  Ran into some Medway educators and learned about a meeting Medway is holding next week which may be of interest to Franklin parents/educators/school committee members. 
In addition below is the link to MA DOE website with listing (below) of future PARCC MA Community Meetings run by Bob Bickerton, Senior Associate Commissioner and/or Maureen LaCroix, Special Assistant to Deputy Commissioner. 
I picked up an extra copy of Power Point presentation, if you would like it to provide to readers, it's 12 pages long. 
Thank you 
Sandra Fredrick

Good links for background information:

PARCC Community Meeting Dates and Locations

*Additional dates and locations may be added. Registration is not required, but recommended so that we can better plan the events.

-March 20, 3:00-5:00 and 6:30-8:30--Holyoke High School, 500 Beech St., Holyoke, MA 01040

-March 20, 7:00-9:00--Medford High School, Caron Theater, 489 Winthrop St., Medford, MA 02155

-March 26, 6:30-8:30--Tahanto Regional Middle/High School, 1001 Main St., Boylston, MA 01505

-March 31, 3:00-5:00--Berkshire Community College, Campus Cafeteria, 1350 West St., Pittsfield, MA 01201

-April 1, 6:00-8:00--Springfield Central High School, 1840 Roosevelt Ave., Springfield, MA 01109 

Flyer for Medway meeting on Mar 27th

Monday, March 17, 2014

"the ones who have their developmental needs met, they do much better"

The article on kindergarten development has raised the issue of common core and standardized testing. The Boston Globe Ideas section has an article on another aspect of the current education situation.
“What the study underscored is the tremendous amount of potential here—they’re a national resource,” Lubinski says. “But it’s hard to separate the findings of this study from what we know about gifted kids in general. The genuine concern is, we know we’re not identifying all of this population. We’re not getting nearly enough, and we’re losing them.” 
To people more worried about kids who are falling through the cracks altogether, doing slightly less than we could for the most gifted might not seem like a pressing problem. But if the study is right that exceptional youthful ability really does correlate directly with exceptional adult achievement, then these talented young kids aren’t just a challenge for schools and parents: they’re also demonstrably important to America’s future. And it means that if, in education, we focus on steering all extra money and attention toward kids who are struggling academically, or even just to the average student, we risk shortchanging the country in a different way. 
“We are in a talent war, and we’re living in a global economy now,” Lubinski says. “These are the people who are going to figure out all the riddles. Schizophrenia, cancer—they’re going to fight terrorism, they’re going to create patents and the scientific innovations that drive our economy. But they are not given a lot of opportunities in schools that are designed for typically developing kids.”

 Read the full article in the Boston Globe   (subscription maybe required)

This topic has come up during prior budget sessions and school committee meetings. With the focus on no child left behind and the legal requirements for those with special needs, the students at the high end and in the middle are getting squeezed.

What do we want for our children's education?

Horace Mann Middle School, Oak St Elementary School
Horace Mann Middle School, Oak St Elementary School 

Disclosure - yes, my wife happens to be a kindergarten teacher here in Franklin. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

"warnings went unheeded"

On the education front, the growth of the common core and standardized testing should be discussed. 
A new University of Virginia study found that kindergarten changed in disturbing ways from 1999-2006. There was a marked decline in exposure to social studies, science, music, art and physical education and an increased emphasis on reading instruction. Teachers reported spending as much time on reading as all other subjects combined. 
The time spent in child-selected activity dropped by more than one-third. Direct instruction and testing increased. Moreover, more teachers reported holding all children to the same standard. 
Is this drastic shift in kindergarten the result of a transformation in the way children learn? 
No. A 2011 nationwide study by the Gesell Institute for Child Development found that the ages at which children reach developmental milestones have not changed in 100 years.
What I find interesting is that the Univ of Virginia study covered the period 1999-2006. The trend they noticed has only increased since 2006. If one follows that logic, then we are worse off because of this.

Oak St/Horace Mann school complex
Oak St/Horace Mann school complex

Disclosure - yes, my wife happens to be a kindergarten teacher here in Franklin. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

State implements new early childhood rating system

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Scott O'Connell/Daily News staff on 2/11/11

This month the state debuted a new rating system for early education programs with the aim of closing achievement gaps in Massachusetts.

Things you can do from here:

The  web site with additional information on the standards and rating system can be found here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ditch the standards!

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, which is appointed by the governor but operates independently, will decide today whether to postpone the vote, state education officials said. Reville said he could not predict if board members would comply with the request.
State education officials have been exploring the possibility of adopting the national standards for more than a year, a controversial proposition for a state known to have some of the most rigorous academic standards in the nation.
The national standards, which Massachusetts officials helped to develop, specify what material should be taught in English and math at every grade level. The voluntary effort was spearheaded by associations representing the nation’s governors and state education leaders and has received the support of President Obama, who is now pushing states to adopt the standards by offering financial incentives.
Read the full article in the Boston Globe here:

The Franklin School Committee blog posted on this earlier and you can read that here:

Picking up on the creativity idea in Jeff Roy's posting, I encourage you to read through the Newsweek article he references.

I would rather see us ditch the standards, which end up requiring schools to teach to the test and go for more creative approaches. A TED Talk video I posted here in June makes great points on this subject:

Franklin, MA

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Common Core Standards - open for review

“Our message all along has been clear and consistent: Massachusetts will only adopt the Common Core standards if they match or surpass our current expectations for students,” said Education Secretary Paul Reville. “Even if the Board votes to adopt, the Commonwealth would still maintain the opportunity to add to the standards, personalize them to Massachusetts and build them out in a way that will allow our educators to propel our students to the next level of learning.”
“Our goal is to provide every student in the Commonwealth with the best possible schools, teachers, curriculum and opportunities they need to be successful in school, college, careers and in life,” Chester said. “We will take the time to evaluate the Common Core Standards before making a decision, and if we ultimately find that the final product represents a decline in expectations from our state standards, we will not hesitate to walk away.”
The Common Core State Standards and survey can be viewed by clicking here
Read the full posting on the School Committee blog here:

Franklin, MA

Monday, January 7, 2008

Educational Quality Accountability results coming 1/22/08

From the Franklin School Committee blog:

In April and May 2007, the Massachusetts Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (EQA) conducted an independent examination of the Franklin Public Schools for the period of 2004–2006. The EQA analyzed Franklin students’ performance on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests and identified how students in general and in subgroups were performing. The EQA examined critical factors that affected student performance in six major areas: leadership, governance, and communication; curriculum and instruction; assessment and evaluation; human resource management and professional development; access, participation, and student academic support; and financial and asset management.

On Tuesday, January 22, 2008, the audit report will be presented to the School Committee.


The state report finds that, on average, three-fourths of all students in Franklin attained proficiency on the 2006 MCAS tests, much more than that statewide. More than four-fifths of Franklin students attained proficiency in English language arts (ELA), more than two-thirds of Franklin students attained proficiency in math, and nearly two-thirds of Franklin students attained proficiency in science and technology/engineering (STE). Ninety-seven percent of the Class of 2006 attained a Competency Determination.

The report also pointed to shortfalls in school funding, which was “insufficient” to fully fund costs associated with increased enrollment, additional special-education teachers, contractual salary increases, and utilities. But the report praised Franklin for passing a $2.7 million property tax increase last spring, which “solidified the community’s commitment to the school district and the educational needs of the children in Franklin.”


The EQA was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in July of 2000, to provide independent and objective programmatic and financial audits of the 350-plus school districts which serve the cities and towns of Massachusetts. The agency is the accountability component of the Education Reform Act of 1993, and was envisioned in that legislation. The complete standards can be read by clicking here.

The full 28 page EQA report on Franklin can be read by clicking here.

Mark your calendar for the Jan 22nd meeting!