Showing posts from April, 2016

Update to BESE on NASBE Legislative Conference

My comments to BESE at yesterday's meeting.

This marked the third NASBE Conference I've attended since last July. Each has been of high quality, with respect to both relevant content and presenters. I hope some others from BESE will consider attending the Annual Conference in Kansas City KS, October 19-22.

In the week before the conference,
Education Week ran a cover story about the urgency of the work of State Boards of Education (SBEs) under new ESEA reauthorization - ESSA.

LegCon was focused on the reauthorization, looking at four key areas: assessments, accountability, effective teachers, and high school turnarounds.

At the Board Meeting Sunday afternoon Indiana SBE member Gordon Hendry shared information about their new law to fund a teacher scholarship program to lead top students into teaching in an effort "to curb persistent teacher shortages".

NASBE Board members and staff joined "the chiefs" at dinner Sunday night, where I met up briefly with the C…

Article 10: Appropriate for Municipal Capital Projects and Equipment

TMod asks Selectmen to move the entire Article (contains 19 sub-parts, a-s

TM will take three votes: on part g; on those parts requiring a simple majority; on those parts requiring a two-thirds majority Good representation of public to address 10g (traffic lights or not, among other things)

Capital Expenditures Committee member (CEC) asks for separate vote on 10p: parking meters; Selectmen: no objection (simple majority) So, that will be a fourth vote on Article 10 Total funds requested: $10,348,960 (unofficial)

For a description of the proposed projects see Section XI: Capital Investment section of the FY2017 Town Manager's Preliminary Budget and Financing Plan dated January 11, 2016 and found at 
Selectmen MOVE 10g: Massachusetts Avenue - Three Intersections Improvements and Easements

Board of Selectmen: 3-1 in favor (one Selectman is an abutter and will not vote)

CEC: unanimously in favor

Appropriation Committee (AC): unanimously in favor

Planning Bo…

Special Town Meeting-2

TMod calls STM-2 back into order

Selectmen move to adjourn STM-2 until Monday, May 9, 7:30 PM

MOTION PASSES by voice vote

STM is adjourned until Monday, May 9

Article 43: Banking & Real Estate Service

Meeting called to order Sound checking the new sound system Attendance tonight (now): 140/198 Town Moderator (TMod) calls a brief recess so that Town Meeting Members' Association (TMMA) can make a few announcements Three TMMs are acknowledged for
their service to the Town as elected representatives for 30 yrs or more: Janet Perry, Shirley Stoltz, and Ed Grant. Each receives a certificate and Seal of Lexington pin. Meeting is back in session Meeting is open on Article 2: Reports of Boards and Committees Richard Canale for the Planning Board: Moves amended Article 43; TM approves Meeting is now open on Article 43: Banking & Real Estate Service. This article would delete the sections of the bylaw related to the banking moratorium established by the 2015 Annual Town Meeting while proposing a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to establish, move, or expand banking and real estate service business in center storefronts in the Center Business (CB) District. Seven criteria f…

Town Meeting Tonight: Article 34 - Assault Weapons and Guns

Meeting in Margery Milne Battin Hall, Isaac Cary Memorial Building, 1605 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington MA This is the sixth meeting of the 2016 Annual Town Meeting Article 34: Assault Weapons & Guns Resolution is offered by Town Meeting Member (TMM) Robert Rothberg: RESOLVED that Town Meeting requests the Board of Selectmen to inform the Great and General Court of its concern that existing Massachusetts laws regarding assault weapons (M.G.L. c. 140, § 131M) may not sufficiently protect citizens of the Commonwealth, and Lexington. Town Meeting asks the Selectmen to initiate a town-wide discussion about assault weapons and gun violence that would lead to fully considered proposals (to be conveyed to the Great and General Court) for a strengthening of those laws. Town Moderator (TMod) calls 6th session to order, introduces herself, and welcomes the many visitors in the balcony tonight - the hall seats 800+ and is quite full Tonight's vote will be on a non-binding resolution Electronic…

ED Secretary John King talks with NASBE

Tuesday morning, last day of the NASBE Legislative Conference. US Secretary of Education, John King has come to meet with NASBE members, first with an address, then to sit with Jim McNiece (NASBE President) for a conversation, followed by a Q&A. The Secretary thanks Jim for his years  as educator and state board member (Kansas) Thanks Kris [Amundson, NASBE Executive Director] for her leadership and strong voice for NASBE Lots to celebrate in US: highest grad rate; fewer drop outs More students accessing HQ preK Most diverse class just graduating from college ESSA presents an opportunity to redefine what excellent education means We know there is much more that we want from a well-rounded education, for people prepared to engage in civic discourse, including science, soc studies, arts, SEL Opps to define what excellent schooling means; talk to people you know in neighborhoods, states Move away from one size interventions of NCLB NCLB interventions didn't match specific challenges - there…

Notes from Charlotte Danielson

Using Your State Teacher Evaluation System to Promote Teaching and Learning

"Oprah Set-up" Conversation between Kris Amundson and Charlotte Danielson

Kris Amundson: You've observed that ESSA creates opportunity. Please say more about that.

Charlotte Danielson: We know that the quality of the teacher impacts learning tremendously. Common notion is that if there's a challenge with learning, must be "the teacher" (this is not lost on teachers...) and it isn't a very realistic way of thinking about quality. Evaluation is "quality assurance" (using public dollars, need for accountability). There are state laws around improving teacher has been focused on the 5-6% of teachers that need improvement. Most eval systems are for those 5-6%, and not for the 94%. We have to move the curve (on teacher effectiveness) so that the "results" are focused on teacher practice. What is the VISION. Teachers need to be able to teach in a way that…

Notes from Keynote: Stephan Turnipseed

Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Destination Imagination & Board Member and Former Chair, Partnership for 21st Century Learning

KNOWLEDGE: making sense out of the world (NOT acquisition); how to understand experiences; HOW you learn, not WHAT you learn

SKILLS: 4Cs...creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, collaboration
Creativity: what is new, valuable, and unique (we're
born with it, need to try not to lose it); keeping kids creative (from imagination to innovation at DI...point is you need to foster creativity for kids in schools...

Critical thinking & problem solving: the 4 seasons...DOVE, DEER, DUCK, TURKEY; one of the best ways to do that is through PBL; make a rectangle

Collaboration: Heart of collaboration is respect; Mind of collaboration is sharing; recognize what can be accomplished, doesn't matter who gets the credit; how do we as a nation, an economy, how do we foster those ideas

Communicate: a uniquely human thing; Two ears, one mouth -…

Notes from "Supporting State Board Leadership for all Students"

Kris Amundson, NASBE Executive Director

Life under ESSA

"With great power comes great responsibility" ~ Spiderman movie

"Be careful what you wish for..." ~ Kris' mom

ESSA: Accountability, Assessments, Turnarounds, Teachers

Under NCLB was largely based on the single summative test, Key requirements: disaggregated by school, by sub group

New legislation:
set long-term goalsEach state targets sets its own goalsFeds are not in any way halting its commitment for all kids, but is now saying that it's up to states to make it happen In Virginia, SBE wants to know what content knowledge, community engagement, work experience, they want for students - ->then develop their accountability system

What do people [in MA] value?
What's important?
How can we use that accountability system to move kids THERE? - ->THEN, develop metrics. DON'T RUSH.

You can make change fast - or you can make change last

ESSA was a compromise bill
Every kid,…

NASBE Board of Directors Meeting

Tweeting and trying out live-blogging from a meeting room at The Liaison Capitol Hill, Washington DC

NASBE Sr. New Member Representative, Gordon Hendry shares new Indiana Law granting scholarship to Hoosier Educators: HB 1002

President Jim McNiece stuck somewhere over Kentucky ... unable to attend today ... Jay Barth (pres-elect NASBE, Arkansas SBE) chairing the meeting
Combo of things from January when the meeting was snowed out followed by NASBE Regular business meeting Immediate past president, Mary Lord provides engaging history of NASBE
NASBE recommitted to equity for allScott Johnson, Treasurer, NASBE Board, updating on financials
NASBE exists to serve and strengthen State Boards of Education (SBEs) in their pursuit of high levels of academic achievement for all students (from Scott, also NASBE mission statement) Overview of NASBE's work - presentation of programs and services from Robert Hull
NASBE's focus is on delivering Equity & Excellence:What edu systems do (current…

PDM's Issues Conference

I was part of the team that organized Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts' Issues Conference on March 19. The event featured two plenary sessions - one on Climate Change and the other on Funding Public Education.

Joining for Climate Change were Representative Paul Mark (2nd Berkshire), Joel Wool (Clean Water Action & Mass Power Forward), and Cathy Buckley (Massachusetts Sierra Club)The session on Funding Public Education featured Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (2nd Suffolk), Superintendent Dr. Mary Bourque (Chelsea PUblic Schools), Tracy Novick (blogger, Field Director MASC), Colin Jones (Policy Analyst, MassBudget), and Kevin Murray (Executive Director, The Program for Human Rights and the Global Economy)
In between the two sessions, we had an "issues speed dating" segment. Nine presenters, each hosted three 15-minute quick takes on 9 issues: Eric Shupin on Affordable Housing, Mark Breslow on Carbon Pricing, Lew Finfer on Worker's Rights, Josh Beardsley on Criminal …

Transgender Rights

Below,, my letter  sent to Governor Baker, copying Lexington's legislators. The letter was sent via the contact form offered on Governor Charles D. Baker IV, Office of the Governor, Room 280, Boston 02133 April 1, 2016 Governor Baker, Only recently did I learn about the Transgender Rights Bill (SB 735/HB 1577). I was astonished to learn that under current Massachusetts law, there are not explicit protections (protections you and I probably take for granted) ensuring that transgender people can’t be turned away from a hotel, or denied service at a restaurant, simply because of who they are. I also learned that our Commonwealth is behind in this regard, as 18 other states plus Washington DC have already passed similar legislation: CA - CO - CT - DC - DE - HI - IA - IL - ME - MD - MN - NJ - NM - NV - NY - OR - RI - VT & WA! Massachusetts has always shone like a beacon in supporting equal rights and this is not the time to diminish our radiance. The bill is stalled in the Joint J…