Showing posts from January, 2016

Federal FY17 Budget

With his final State of the Union address presented earlier this month, President Obama's FY17 budget request to Congress is expected *around* the first Monday in February (though it could be issued anytime between the first Monday in January and the first Monday in February).

Since it's the final budget request of his administration, the President's request is important in at least two ways:
As a policy document, it signals what's most valued by the administration; andwe can expect to see some clarity around implementing ESSA The federal fiscal year is the 12-month period beginning October 1, ending September 30.

Highlights of the NASBE Board of Directors virtual meeting 1.1*

With Washington DC and the Mid-Atlantic bracing for an epic snowstorm, NASBE's first Board meeting of 2016 took place virtually, in lieu of the scheduled F2F meeting in Alexandria VA. This was my first meeting as newly elected Northeast Area Director (January 2016-December 2018). Taking the helm as NASBE's new President was Jim McNiece of Kansas City KS. Jim called the meeting to order at 11:00 AM. With a quorum present, Minutes and Agenda were quickly approved.

I. The Government Affairs Committee update was presented by Reg Leichty, Founding Partner at Foresight Law + Policy in Washington DC:
Relevant issues before Congress, including:Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA);Targeted changes to Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) - to align standards more closely with HEA;Regulations for Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) by the US Dept of Ed, which are due 12 months from now before a new administration takes office next January. NASBE is asking for clarity on …

Special BESE Meeting in Southbridge

special meeting of the Board will be in Southbridge this Monday, January 25 (4:30-7:30 PM). It's the opportunity for BESE to hear from members of the public on the question of whether to designate Southbridge Public Schools as a chronically underperforming ("Level 5") district - - as per the Board's Regulations on School and District Accountability and Assistance, 603 CMR 2.06(1)(f):
School district and municipal officials, including the school committee, as well as the local teachers' union or association president or designee, a representative of the local parent organization, and members of the public, shall have an opportunity to be heard by the Board before final action by the Board to place the district in Level 5.It's expected that no votes will be taken at the special meeting.

I look forward to reading written comments (email or hard copy - contacts for both are provided on this page, at right). To date, no hard copy letters on the issue have been rec…


Looking back to last March and April

Public Hearing on the Fair Share Constitutional Amendment

The Joint Committee on Revenue meets at 10:30 AM today for a public hearing on the Fair Share Constitutional Amendment (H3933) - room B-1 at the State House. I'll be providing one minute of testimony as part of an education panel. Here are my thoughts:

Honorable Co-Chairs and Members of the Committee:

Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of the Fair Share Constitutional Amendment. I’m Mary Ann Stewart, from Lexington, parent representative on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), speaking for myself, not for the Board.

I’ve been deeply involved in education from a number of local, statewide, and national perspectives. Students need a well-rounded education that’s based on a rich and varied curriculum that includes music, art, and athletics - but, many of these programs were eliminated or severely eroded in many communities during the recession years.

To provide a sound future for our children and our Commonwealth, we must ensure that all children get a…