Education

3 finalists named for state education commissioner

3 finalists named for state education commissioner

Field narrowed to Lawrence schools receiver and state officials from New York and Texas

THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT announced three finalists in the search for a new commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education today, tapping a well-known Massachusetts educator and two out of state candidates. Jeff Riley, the state-appointed receiver for the Lawrence schools, Angelica Infante-Green, a deputy commissioner in the New York state education department, and Penny Schwinn,(...)

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A birthday reckoning

A birthday reckoning

The state's landmark ed reform bill turns 25 this year. It launched Mass. to the top of the class -- but has not been the 'great equalizer' some hoped for.

Illustration by Kyle Webster THIS YEAR MARKS a significant milestone in the state’s rich history of leadership in education. It was 25 years ago that Massachusetts officials came together to pass the landmark Education Reform Act of 1993. With a huge infusion of new funding, much of it directed at districts educating lots of students(...)

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Mayor of firsts

Mayor of firsts

Yvonne Spicer says she’s undaunted by new challenges—a good trait for the first person to serve as mayor of Framingham.

Photographs by Frank Curran YVONNE SPICER, like a  lot of her fellow Framingham residents, freely admits that she voted against the charter question to make the state’s biggest town a mid-sized city. But once the measure passed by the thinnest of margins, the former teacher and vice president of the Museum of Science did what(...)

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UMass Boston’s Dr. Evil

UMass Boston’s Dr. Evil

Interim chancellor acknowledged controversial cuts

“I AM NOW Dr. Evil,” said Barry Mills after it was reported that he planned to shut down the daycare center at the University of Massachusetts Boston as part of an effort to rein in costs at the campus. Brought in as interim chancellor to right the university’s finances, Mills made the comment in an(...)

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The real art of the deal 

The real art of the deal 

Former education commissioner David Driscoll offers sound lessons in leadership

Commitment and Commonsense: Leading Education Reform in Massachusetts By David P. Driscoll Cambridge: Harvard Education Press 256 pages BOOKS ABOUT THE ins and outs about how laws are implemented do not tend to keep you up reading late into the night. That’s a shame, because what happens at the ground level once a law is(...)

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Diversity lessons

Diversity lessons

A well-integrated Massachusetts public school is a rare commodity. We’re making a virtue of that for our students and families.

IN A CITY with a difficult history of race relations, one of the most important strengths schools can give our students is the ability to communicate across racial lines. Boston Collegiate Charter School, located in Dorchester and with a student body that mirrors the demographics of a changing city, has had to navigate difficult conversations(...)

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Pool teachers not unwanted, just underutilized

Pool teachers not unwanted, just underutilized

Any suggestion we don’t teach is blatantly false

I’VE BEEN AN EDUCATOR IN BOSTON public schools for more than 30 years. I am a high school biology teacher, who holds a graduate degree from Harvard. I spent three years as a new teacher developer, one of 12 chosen from across the school district to mentor first-year educators. What has kept me motivated over(...)

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Testing isn’t punishment, it’s a matter of social justice

Testing isn’t punishment, it’s a matter of social justice

Moratorium on high-stakes assessments would set back minority and low-income students

LAST YEAR WHILE CASUALLY asking my son about taking his first MCAS exam as a third grader, he responded with an adverse physical reaction at the mere mention of the word MCAS. He literally flinched with fear. Now, I did sign many forms at the beginning of the school year, but I don’t recall the(...)

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Mitchell Chester set bar high for next ed commissioner

Mitchell Chester set bar high for next ed commissioner

Search should look for a leader with his commitment to principled leadership

AS THE Board of Elementary and Secondary Education embarks on its search for a new commissioner following the death in June of Mitchell Chester, I’ve been reflecting on how Commissioner Chester became an accomplished educational leader. I co-produced a tribute video about him this fall and gained insights about him during the many interviews I(...)

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We cannot test and punish our way to better schools

We cannot test and punish our way to better schools

Time to pause on high-stakes exams and take different approach

THE CLOSER THEY ARE to actual public-school classrooms, the more Massachusetts residents understand it’s time to abandon the failed test-and-punish approach to school improvement. For two decades, we’ve seen how high-stakes standardized testing hurts students and fails to prepare them well for life. Now, there’s a growing realization that it’s time to pause, look at(...)

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