Mayor Walsh urges “no” on Question 2

Vote ‘no’ on Question 2


AS A FOUNDING board member of the Neighborhood House Charter School in Dorchester, I’m a longtime supporter of Boston’s charter schools. Last year, as mayor, I proposed state legislation to raise the cap on charter school growth while also giving charter schools access to state building funds for the first time.

It may surprise some, then, that I am voting “no” on ballot Question 2 — and urging everyone in the Commonwealth to do the same.

My reasons are clear. Question 2 does not just raise the cap. Over time, it would radically destabilize school governance in Massachusetts — not in any planned way, but by super-sizing an already broken funding system to a scale that would have a disastrous impact on students, their schools, and the cities and towns that fund them.


Constructing Model State Systems to Replace Testing Overkill

Assessment Matters: Constructing Model State Systems to Replace Testing Overkill

This report describes how states can overhaul their assessment systems under the Innovative Assessment pilot program in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  It shows policymakers how to:

  • develop assessment systems that minimize standardized testing;
  • enhance classroom-based, teacher-controlled, student-focused assessing;
  • diminish state and federal micro-control of education;
  • provide tools to markedly improve learning outcomes; and
  • generate sufficient data for evaluating schools in order to provide support and interventions where needed.

This report begins by describing the core components of a model assessment system that meets the requirements of ESSA. It then reports on New Hampshire’s Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) project. Part III profiles other examples of high-quality performance assessments. The report concludes with a set of principles for assessment systems.

Report Contents: 

Full Report

Preface and Executive Summary 

Part I: A Model Assessment System for High-Quality Learning

Part II: New Hampshire PACE

Part III: Performance Assessment Examples


Vermont tries school evaluations by teams of educators rather than by standardized tests

September 27, 2016

School Inspections Offer a Diagnostic Look at Quality

Aiming to get beyond just spreadsheets and test scores, Vermont and other states experiment with inspections to scope out schools' strengths and weaknesses

Educators have gotten used to poring over spreadsheets filled with test scores to get a sense of their students'—and schools'—strengths and weaknesses.

What they don't often see: feedback from other teachers, administrators, and students who can offer a fresh perspective on where a school stands when it comes to instruction, resources, climate, financial efficiency, and more.

A handful of states—including, recently, Vermont—have worked to change that, using a model borrowed from other countries and known in Great Britain as "school inspections," in which a team of experts or educators visits a school and offers objective feedback on teaching, learning, management and more.

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