Showing posts from March, 2017

2017 Annual Town Meeting, 7:15 PM

About to get underway. Live blogging, updating as we go.

Town Moderator calls Town Meeting to order; into immediate recess for Diversity Award Presentation.

7:15 PM LPS Diversity Award Presentation
Superintendent Mary Czajkowski announces Tammy Darling, a social studies teacher at LHS as this year's award recipient. Among other things and good work, Tammy revived the "Race and Gender" course this year.
We will remain in recess for a few minutes.
Tonight's Town Meeting (TM) Agenda was prepared by the Town Moderator, in consultation with staff, boards and committees, article sponsors.
This post is not an official record of the Annual Town Meeting proceedings; it is offered as information to interested persons by a member of Town Meeting.
And we're back in session.
Testing our electronic voting devices.

Article 2 - Capital Expenditures Committee Report: Receive the report of the CEC.
Unanimous - the report is received and placed on file.
Jill Hai, CEC Chair, speaks to the r…

LegCon Update to Board Colleagues

Always a challenge - and an opportunity! - to re-cap and synthesize a national conference, especially a legislative conference as dense as NASBE's, for BESE colleagues. Here goes. 

Take-aways from NASBE's 2017 Legislative Conference: Leading in a Time of Change

This was my second NASBE LegCon (and fifth NASBE conference overall) since my appointment to BESE. The focus: federal education issues affecting states, with ESSA taking center stage. Each session offered insight into emerging issues under ESSA and strategies to connect policy with practice while advancing equity and excellence in education in times of change. As always, it's most gratifying to connect and learn from other State Board Members: the change that's happening in education is creating unprecedented opportunity for State leadership to shape education policy.
Following an orientation session for new board members, Sunday's Quarterly Board of Director's Meeting (the Board is charged with setting al…

Protect federal online privacy rules

Cross-posting the latest from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), because it's the best round of posts on this issue, plus a CTA, HERE. Ars Technica has also been covering this well, HERE.

Senator Markey was harshly critical of the GOP proposal to roll back protections on broadband privacy. New York Times News Services covered it when the vote was taken last Thursday and picked it up HERE; TruthDig reported out Saturday, HERE.

The vote passed straight down party lines, 50-48 (2 GOP/MoCs absent) on a CRA resolution to repeal the FCC's privacy rules and the resolution is in the House, awaiting a scheduled vote tomorrow - Tuesday, March 28.

If the proposal passes in the House it will dismantle our legal rights to privacy - rights we haven't had to think about for more than twenty years. Upshot? We're one vote away from a world where "your ISP can track your every move online and sell that information to the highest bidder".

Don't let Congres…

Hill Visits with Congresswoman Clark's + Senator Warren's Legislative Staff

At the end of NASBE's Legislative Policy Conference, Student Representative Nathan Moore and I visited with legislative staff in Congresswoman Katherine Clark's and Senator Elizabeth Warren's DC offices. We shared concerns about the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (CTE), E-rate + Lifeline Programs, and FY17 and FY18 Budgets.

Perkins CTE Recent studies have shown that CTE dual enrollment programming may be a particularly effective high school and college completion strategy. The House reauthorized CTE last year, following on a bill introduced by Congresswoman Katherine Clark and Congressman Glenn Thompson.
There's broad, bi-partisan support for career and technical education and House and Senate education committees are working again this year to update the law.Although it's not expected Congress will change the law significantly, the reauthorization process offers an opportunity to address key State Board recommendations for improving the quality of CTE pr…

NASBE: General Session with Congressman Todd Rokita

NASBE President/CEO, Kris Amundson, welcomes members. NASBE New Member Representative on the Board of Directors, Byron Ernest introduces his Congressman, Todd Rokita (R-IN). Congressman Rokita is the Vice Chair of the House Budget Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. As a member of the US House of Representatives, he co-authored ESSA.

Congressman Rokita: thanks SBEs for their honest feedback on ESSA, shares thoughts on ESSA. Says, "accountability is a good thing; it's up to states to decide what that looks like". Explains some of the disagreements over accountability rulemaking under ESSA; US/ED still has rulemaking authority. Focus will shift to Higher Education Act next (HEA).

Amundson: Concerned that the new template has now "unwound" some of the intent of ESSA on stakeholder engagement - further than the law allows - we will have some more to say about this.

Rokita: Says he will support NASBE on th…

NASBE: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Happy spring! DC cherry blossoms have not yet popped, but the air is full of anticipation!

Below, the schedule for today. Looks as though I'll be attending all sessions. May have to cut the lunch session short, as Nathan and I have scheduled hill visits this afternoon with Congresswoman Katherine Clark and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Area Meeting Breakfasts NASBE members will meet with others in their area to discuss common concerns and issues. Area Directors will also share information from the NASBE Board of Directors meeting.

General Session
NASBE Board of Directors Chair Jay Barth and NASBE President/CEO Kristen Amundson will provide opening remarks and introduce Congressman Todd Rokita. As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education and a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Rep. Rokita will share the direction his committees will take on key education issues coming before Congress.

General Session: Career Readine…

NASBE: Last General Session for today

Live-blogging, updating as we go.

Questions Boards should ask about their ESSA plans

Panelists: Kris Amundson, NASBE President/CEO;
John King, Former US Secretary of Education, The Education Trust
Michael Magee, Chiefs for Change;
Sandy Boyd, Achieve (moderator)

Boyd: Talk a little bit about where we are currently at. ESSA changed things. Since then, a number of things: regulations rescinded. What are states to make of that?

King: Great to be with all of you again. Thanks to Kris again for her leadership. Where I think we are, in the absence of regs, greater urgency for kids. Use flexibility to close gaps. Arts. Computer Science. Focused attention on districts that aren't providing opps. Clear commitment for stakeholder engagement - - will ensure success of the law. Relies on State leadership and that is why you are here.

Magee: Thanks to all on SBEs. Chiefs for Change is membership org supporting State Superintendents. Incredible education for us to support them. Chiefs are taking se…

NASBE: Relentless Pursuit of Equity in Education

I'm in the Montpelier Room with panelists Peter Cookson (AIR); Guy Johnson (Partners for each and every child); Dr. Estela Lopez (CT Board of Education); and Kimberly Charis (NASBE) for a session on the relentless pursuit of equity in education policy*. Live-blogging, updating as we go.

Panelists introduce themselves.

Peter Cookson: DeVos has given us a danger and and opportunity". The Opportunity is in 4 parts in ESSA: 1). Higher Order skills for all students 2). multiple measures for assessing schools and performance 3). resource equity and 4). equitable strategies. Linda Darling-Hammond calls these the four pillars necessary for equitable success in this century. The transformation is going to be huge.
Higher Order thinking skills: 21st c curriculum, ability to work in groups, solve problems, create a thinking person who is a life-long learner. Standards and learning goals. What are they?Assessments: Never been a fan of multiple choice testing. ESSA allows for portfolios, le…

Exploring Options for Parents: Innovation & Alternatives in Schooling

So, Nathan and I are tag-teaming the concurrent sessions - he's attending the session "Beyond the Test", which he thought appropriate for "the student", hence, this session for "the parent". Live-blogging, updating as we go

The panel is moderated by Paige Kowalski of the Data Quality Campaign. Panelists: Todd Ziebarth, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools; Robin Lake, Center for Reinventing Public Education; Todd Mann, Magnet Schools of America 

Todd Z: National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is an advocacy organization for public charter schools here in DC, represent on The Hill, partner with states (just began connecting with Kentucky, the 44th state about to enact charter schools). Lots of myths around public charter schools. Many think they are private entities.

Robin: research and policy center, we're different in that we try to stay grounded in "effective schools and effective classrooms". Biggest myth: charter schools…

Opening Night: Annual Town Meeting

Below, the expected schedule for opening night of Lexington's Annual Town Meeting, as forwarded from Madam Moderator:

Monday, March 20, 2017 - 7:30 PM
Opening ceremoniesCall to order Annual Town Meeting 2017 (ATM)Introductory remarks and instructionsAdjourn ATM and call to order Special Town Meeting 2017-1 (STM1)STM1 Article 1 - Reports of Town Boards, Officers & CommitteesSTM1 Article 2 - Design Funds for Fire StationSTM1 Article 3 - Design Funds for Fire Station Swing SpaceSTM1 Article 4 - Design Funds for Lexington Children’s Place/20 Pelham RdSTM1 Article 5 - Bond and Note Premiums to Pay Project CostsDissolve STM1Call back to order Annual Town Meeting (ATM)Time permitting:ATM Article 3 - Cary Lecture SeriesATM Article 37 - Amend Bylaws: TreesATM Article 33 - Amend Bylaws: Scenic RoadsATM Article 35 - Amend Bylaws: NCD Technical ChangesATM Article 36 - Amend Bylaws: Municipal Modernization ActATM Article 38 - Amend Bylaws: Revolving Funds

NASBE: Continuing with the Opening General Session

Stephen Wright, Connecticut State Board of Education, introduces Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). 

Senator Murphy: Proud product of public school system. Received graduate degree at public university. Our two kids attend public schools. I'm just so proud of this country, this innovative idea to provide public education. It's an agile system - may not feel that way - but I'm reminded, in my mind, it's rooted in the work that you and our teachers do. NCLB sucked the joy out of teaching and learning. Hopeful about ESSA to change that. Felt that the Department of Education was going to help schools, districts. "Untested idea" about what Departments can do regarding regulations. But, the law is still the law. Choose to be bold. You have discretion. Up to you as to what you choose. Challenge your schools. Look at non-academic measures that can be measured. Not like NCLB that the federal govt is going to tell you what you will do. the challenge is about the future potent…

NASBE: Conference Session with Secretary Betsy DeVos

Live blogging, updating as we go...

Kris Amundson, NASBE President/CEO, welcomes attendees, introduces Jay Barth, NASBE Board Chair.

Secretary DeVos is on-site, awaiting her introduction.

Amundson: Excited to introduce our first speaker at this conference. NASBE has always had a relationship with the Secretary of Education. We are among the first to hear from the new Secretary.

DeVos: Thank you all for the warm introduction. Especially great to see folks from Michigan. Thank you all for what you do on behalf of children. I know you're all anticipating a discussion of ESSA, but I want to talk with you about my background. Shares her personal story about getting involved in her son's education in kindergarten, how, "as a mom", she could make decisions about the best school for her child. Wants to break the "bad habit" of Department of Education being in your way. The President's Budget reflects this. Says the Budget also supports our most vulnerable. Budget…

NASBE: Monday, March 20 2017

Speaking to Board members at the quarterly meeting yesterday, "It's been a very active period", said President/CEO Kristen Amundson, "NASBE is on the verge of hosting the largest-ever (or largest-in-a-long-time) Legislative Conference, featuring not one but TWO current [Betsy DeVos] or former [John B. King] Secretaries of Education, a former Governor [Bob Wise, WV], a sitting Senator [Chris Murphy, D-CT, Senate HELP Committee] and a House member [Todd Rokita, R-IN] who is the chair of a critical education subcommittee [Subcommittee on Early Education, Elementary, and Secondary Education]."

Below, the schedule for today. I plan to blog the general sessions, when possible, beginning with the Opener. Sessions I plan to attend are indicated with an "*". Now that BESE Student Rep, Nathan Moore is on site, perhaps we'll be able to tag-team it through a couple of those afternoon sessions.

* Networking Breakfast A chance for state board members to connect w…

NASBE: 2017 Legislative Conference

Today is Opening Day of NASBE's 2017 Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, which kicks off with an orientation session for new Board members: Over breakfast and through the morning, newly elected and appointed members of the NASBE Board of Directors will meet to learn more about the organization and about their role as board members. (Having attended this orientation last year, I've got the morning to myself.)

At lunch, all Board members will join for the Board of Directors quarterly business meeting - the Board is charged with setting all policy for the association. We'll be briefed by staff and members of the leadership team on NASBE's activities that support the Board's strategic plan. Parenthetically, a couple of us have been asked to share "impressions" from a survey that went out to NASBE members and non-member State Boards last summer and fall; it's not a formal presentation, or anything, but a small number of takeaways from a few of us abo…