Education

Standing up for undocumented students

Standing up for undocumented students

In wake of Trump DACA order, communities must make young people feel safe

OVER 8,000 young people in Massachusetts — and 800,000 nationally — now face an uncertain future as a result of the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Under DACA, undocumented immigrants who had come to the US before the age of 16, attended school or joined the(...)

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Our schools ignore US history at our peril

Our schools ignore US history at our peril

State must make good on requirement for history instruction and testing

ABOUT 25 YEARS AGO, as a member of the Massachusetts Senate, I co-authored the Massachusetts Education Reform Act. Drafting a complex bill with such far-reaching consequences requires significant compromise, but one thing my counterparts in the House of Representatives and then-Gov. Bill Weld all agreed upon was the importance of educating students about our nation’s history.(...)

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Harvard unveils plans for new Allston neighborhood

Harvard unveils plans for new Allston neighborhood

University starts small, with focus on 14 acres along Western Avenue

HARVARD UNIVERSITY unveiled some broad brush strokes of its plan to build a new neighborhood along Western Avenue on the edge of its campus in Allston. The project, dubbed variously as Allston North or the Enterprise Research Campus, is an attempt by the university to build a neighborhood that feeds off and reinforces the research(...)

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Editor’s note: Tang vs. Kerr

Editor’s note: Tang vs. Kerr

How much editorial license should opinion writers be given?

HERE AT COMMONWEALTH we are great believers in open debate; that’s why we run so many opinion pieces. But sometimes the debate becomes so spirited that people want us to step in and become referees. One such instance was the recent back and forth between Jessica Tang, the president of the Boston Teachers Union, and Liam Kerr,(...)

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What Level 3 schools need from the state

What Level 3 schools need from the state

The right approach could help struggling schools gain traction

THIS MONTH, families across Massachusetts got their children’s MCAS 2.0 scores in their mailboxes. According to Secretary of Education James Peyser this new, more difficult test was necessary because nearly one third of Massachusetts students need remedial classes once they enter college. In our state, all public schools are rated and assigned a level based(...)

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Oversight of Lawrence schools shifting to state-appointed board

Oversight of Lawrence schools shifting to state-appointed board

Riley leaving after six years, may seek state education commissioner’s post

EDUCATION OFFICIALS UNVEILED the next chapter in state oversight of the Lawrence schools on Wednesday with the announcement that the state receiver, Jeff Riley, will be stepping down at the end of the school year in June and new state-appointed board will oversee the district. The state took control of the city’s struggling school system(...)

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Boston teachers union attack fires blanks

Boston teachers union attack fires blanks

Tying DFER to Trump is lame substitute for actually addressing excess pool issue

LAST NOVEMBER, Democrats for Education Reform held our election night party at the same Boston hotel as the state Democratic Party and the anti-charter ballot campaign. I was one of the last to exit, and happened to leave at the same time as Jessica Tang, the incoming president of the Boston Teachers Union. With the(...)

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Boston teachers deserve to be respected, not disparaged

Boston teachers deserve to be respected, not disparaged

Democrats for Education Reform distorts facts on 'excess pool'

RECENTLY, BOSTON EDUCATORS ratified a new contract with the Boston Public School administration. Our schools are already reaping the rewards of that contract, which went into effect at the start of the school year. Boston Teachers Union members are proud of the significant improvements for Boston students and families that we’ve helped to usher in,(...)

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A disability shouldn’t be a handicap

A disability shouldn’t be a handicap

We need to ensure special needs students have a chance to succeed

“EXCUSE ME, DO you need that parking space? Because my 85-year-old mother does.” My sister, Maria, and I turned our heads to see a middle-aged woman scowling at us moments after we pulled into a handicapped parking space, at the front entrance of our local mall. Outraged, I said, “As a matter of fact, we(...)

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Scores drop on new, more rigorous MCAS

Scores drop on new, more rigorous MCAS

State officials say results highlight need to raise expectations

SCORES ON THE state’s revamped MCAS test took a big dip, but state officials say that’s because the test got harder, not because student performance got worse. About half of students statewide in 3rd through 8th grade were “meeting expectations” or “exceeding expectations,” the top two categories out of four used in the new English(...)

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