The proposed regulations governing K-12 public school and district accountability and assistance in Massachusetts have been under review for several months by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and include some significant shifts. The most salient is abandoning the five level pyramid that ranked schools, and thereby districts, from 1 to 5 with the pinnacle being number 1. The proposed system would have three categories, with two of these being further subdivided for a total of 6 levels.
This shift is of sufficient concern that in submitted comments we urged BESE to amend the new regulations to clarify and better define the new categories for classifying schools and districts and determining improvement targets schools will have to meet. Our objective is a fair and valid system for holding schools accountable and accurately informing our parents and community about school performance.
Our comments also commended the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for including information beyond test scores in the criteria the state uses to measure performance, while continuing to prioritize measurable student achievement. While other measures can inform instruction and guide school direction, it is achievement that matters in assessing whether our students are performing at grade level, on track for postsecondary success.
MBAE was joined by nine of our Affiliates (the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, Springfield Regional Chamber, SouthCoast Chamber, Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce, Mass. High Technology Council, Retailers Association of Massachusetts, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce) in raising these points to ensure that our accountability system continues to recognize and replicate excellence as well as drive improvements in our schools.
Public comments on the regulations were due on May 18 and are on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s agenda for June 26th.