Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education

Our Positions

Massachusetts employers rely on our public schools to prepare students to compete in our global economy. MBAE has been a leader in education reform over the past two decades, and although we are proud of our state’s progress, we recognize that there is still work to be done. MBAE continues to focus on improvements at the state level to raise student achievement, particularly in our most challenged and disadvantaged districts.

Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and Next Generation Assessments

On July 21, 2010, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to adopt the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to replace the 2001 Massachusetts English Language Arts Curriculum Framework and the 2000 Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework and their 2004 Supplements.  Committees of educators, working with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, augmented and customized the Common Core in a process that led to the development of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks that were approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education at their December 21, 2010 meeting.   MBAE supports this transition to college and career-ready standards and the development of assessments aligned to the standards.  Our position is that new assessments must be a true measure of readiness to succeed without the need for remediation in higher education, to train for whatever credential is necessary for a student’s chosen vocational or career path, and to be productive citizens.   MBAE will closely watch the results of 2014 field tests of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) and continue to advocate for accountability for meeting high standards of student achievement.

Common Core State Standards

MBAE has been a champion of the standards-based reforms approach reflected in the Education Reform Act of 1993 that we helped develop and have supported and monitored ever since. That approach is based on high standards for achievement, accountability for performance, and equitable funding for meeting these goals. After reviewing the rigorous, independent comparison between the Massachusetts and Common Core educational standards, the MBAE board voted to recommend that the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopt Common Core and that the Board exceed Common Core in areas where improvements can be made.

MORE…

Evaluation of Teachers and Administrators

MBAE is committed to ensuring that we attract, develop and retain talented educators so every child will be taught by a great teacher in every classroom, every year. The Race to the Top requirement that student achievement be a “significant factor” in the evaluation of teachers and administrators presents Massachusetts an unprecedented opportunity to overhaul an evaluation system that all agree does not serve teachers or students.

Representing the business community on the Task Force on Evaluation of Teachers and Administrators, MBAE advocated for creating a system that recognizes and rewards excellence.

Our position is that an effective new evaluation system must:

  • Make multiple measures of student achievement at least 50% of an educator’s evaluation;
  • Make results the centerpiece of the system, rejecting proposals to elevate process over outcomes; and
  • Institute a statewide system, not one that varies from district to districts.

We expressed our views at a meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on February 28 and in public comments at the Board’s meeting on March 22, 2011. MBAE also presented testimony when the Board voted on final regulations on June 28, 2011.

Municipal Health Care Reform

MBAE is in favor of granting cities and towns the authority to design employee health insurance plans outside of collective bargaining. This will provide local governments the opportunity to invest realized cost savings in education and other initiatives. Our position is based on our examination of the foundation budget, School Funding Reality: A Bargain Not Kept, which found that rising costs in school employee health insurance are crowding out spending on budget items that have the most significant impact on student learning. Controlling these health care costs has become the ultimate education issue.

MBAE is a member of Mass Reform First, a coalition of business groups led by Associated Industries of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation that supports giving municipalities control over health care plan design and other efforts geared towards efficient municipal government. On March 8, 2011, MBAE testified before the Joint Committee on Public Service to express our support for reform. Both the House and Senate budget plans for FY12 included reform proposals. On June 16, 2011, we joined business leaders in sending a letter to the Legislature’s Budget Conference Committee urging them to reach a meaningful municipal health care design plan. MBAE supports the House reform proposal. Recent editorials from leading Massachusetts newspapers criticized the Senate adopted health reform plan. MBAE is part of a coalition that has urged Governor Patrick to sign the budget with the fair and reasonable municipal health care reform passed by the House and Senate.

Proficiency for All Students – Support for MCAS

As we raise the bar to proficiency for all students, we must continue to evaluate our assessment system to be sure that our standards are the right ones, assessments are reliable and valid, and that targets are ambitious yet fair. MBAE supports development and use of value-added assessments, which will allow us to chart student achievement across grades and schools and provide an important tool for administrators, teachers, and others for determining what programs and approaches have the greatest impact on student learning. While considering new methods of assessment is important, any retreat from the MCAS requirements for a diploma would be a disservice to our students and an impediment to the continuous improvement of our schools.

MORE…

Charter Schools

The Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education supported the creation of charter public schools in the Education Reform Act of 1993 to increase educational opportunities for students and to promote educational and administrative innovation and improvements in public schools. It is clear that charter schools can be an effective tool in raising achievement and offering educational options to students and parents.

The current caps on charter schools should be substantially increased or eliminated. Any statewide cap on the number of charter schools should apply to the total number of Charter Schools without separate caps for Commonwealth and Horace Mann Charter Schools.

MBAE is committed to an innovative system that is accountable for improving student achievement and will lead to better schools for all students across the whole range of public education options.

Accountability

Our state’s system of academic standards and assessments must ensure that all students in all districts have the chance to develop and demonstrate core competencies that are essential for success in college and career. MBAE has consistently called for accountability standards that are based primarily on success in improving student achievement, but also evaluate the management and operational systems essential to facilitating quality teaching and learning.

MORE…

Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education