Patrick convenes education working groups

The Deval Patrick/Tim Murray transition team has created 15 working groups, including one focused on higher education and one on K-12 education, to help shape the new administration's policy agenda as it prepares to take office on Jan. 4. These working groups are holding a series of community meetings across the state at which citizen input is welcome. The meeting times and locations are listed at right.

Education Working Group Meetings

Tuesday, December 5
Joint Civic Engagement and PreK through 12 Community Meeting
7 to 9 p.m.
Millbury High School
Millbury

Wednesday, December 6
Higher Education Community Meeting
8:30 to 10 a.m.
UMass-Boston Alumni Lounge, 2nd Floor
Campus Center, 100 Morrissey Blvd, Boston

Wednesday, December 6
Joint Education (PreK through 12) and Higher Education Community Meeting
4 to 6 p.m.
Newton North High School
380 Lowell Ave, Newton

Monday, December 11
Pre-K through 12 Community Meeting
7 to 9 p.m.
Butler Middle School
Lowell

Tuesday, December 12
Community Meeting
4 to 6 p.m.
Central High School
1840 Roosevelt Avenue
Springfield

Wednesday, December 13
Community Meeting (Joint CM with the Higher Education Working Group)
4 to 6 p.m.
Veteran's Hall
Ellison Campus Center
Salem State College
352 Lafayette Street
Salem

 

MTA members are urged to participate in these meetings to provide the education working groups with the educators' perspectives on key issues. Both oral and written testimony will be accepted.

Here is a list of possible topics to address at the working group meetings.

PreK-12 Topics

  • Teacher Quality/Attracting and Retaining Teachers: What changes are needed in teacher preparation, mentoring and induction, and ongoing professional development? How should we work to stem the tide of teachers leaving the profession and improve our ability to attract and retain teachers?
  • Class Size: Is this a problem in your district? If so, describe it. If it is not a problem in your district, talk about the benefits of smaller class sizes in inspiring student success.
  • Achievement Gaps: Address the gaps in performance between children of different income levels and different ethnic and racial backgrounds. What are some key strategies for narrowing the achievement gaps?
  • Funding and Resources: Funding is needed to restore services cut in recent years and improve the resources available to help students succeed. Choose examples to illustrate the benefits that additional state funding could provide for your school district (smaller class sizes, MCAS remediation, full-day kindergarten and other programs that narrow the achievement gaps and help in other ways).
  • Early Childhood Education: If your district has it, what are the benefits? If not, why is it needed?
  • Full-Day Kindergarten: If your district has full-day kindergarten, talk about the benefits you have seen for students; if not, address why it is needed in your district and throughout the state.
  • MCAS: What other measures should be considered along with MCAS? How has the focus on standardized test scores affected art, music, foreign languages, physical education and other programs that contribute to a well-rounded education? Also, if the cuts in MCAS remediation have been felt in your district, explain the impact.
  • Charter Schools: If the current funding system has adversely affected your district, explain how and advocate for a formula that will stop draining resources from public school districts.
  • Extended Learning Time: Would a longer school day be helpful for some or all of the students in your district? If so, what should a program look like, and how should educators be compensated for participating? What components should it include? What is needed to implement such a program, and what barriers exist?

Higher Education

  • Funding: How has your institution been affected by funding cuts? If funding were restored, how would students benefit? Talk about the need for the state to enact a legislative proposal that would provide $400 million to public higher education over the next seven years.
  • Affordability: How have increases in tuition and fees in public higher education affected access for students? What should the state do to address them?
  • Full-time faculty: Has your institution replaced full-time faculty with adjunct faculty in recent years? If so, what impact is this having on education and campus life
  • Facilities: Is your institution in need of greater maintenance or facilities improvements? If so, describe what they are and how students would benefit. Address the need for infrastructure to be improved through a long-term funding plan that will not take away from improvements in other areas, such as those cited above.

Tips on Speaking:

1. Oral testimony should be no longer than two minutes. This testimony should hit on the high points and encourage participants to pay close attention to the more detailed written comments.

2. When you introduce yourself, briefly describe who you are, including where, what and how long you've been teaching.

3. Any really specific or technical points should be included in written testimony only.

4. Compelling real-life examples are good to illustrate a point, but only if they can be incorporated into the time limit and are directly relevant to your point. Examples that take too long to explain should be included in the written testimony only.

5. Sign up to speak early so that you have a good chance of delivering your testimony as early as possible, while the working group members are still fresh.