What Red Tape Would You Like to Cut?

Give the governor and DESE your concerns with DDMs and regulations that tie the hands of educators

MTA President Barbara Madeloni issued the following statement urging MTA members to share views on DDMs and other state regulations on Wednesday, Jan. 6:

red tape

Do you believe that some of the regulations that affect public education are “confusing, unnecessary, inconsistent and redundant” — to quote from Governor Charlie Baker’s Executive Order 562: “To Reduce Unnecessary Regulatory Burden”?

Might “confusing and unnecessary” be a good description of some of the regulations governing the educator evaluation system (including District-Determined Measures), licensure requirements, the inscrutable school and district accountability system and other mandates of the education bureaucracy?

MTA members who are concerned about unhelpful mandates have an opportunity to let state officials know which tangles of red tape they would like to cut. There is no guarantee that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education or the Baker administration will make any of the changes that educators ask for, but identifying problems and speaking out are critical first steps in organizing for change.

While much of the language associated with the executive order suggests that the primary focus is on reducing business regulations — a practice that we and others in the labor movement believe is being used to favor business interests over the health and well-being of working people — there is an explicit reference to regulations that affect education. This winter, members of the public are being invited to comment on regulations that affect them. The only "listening session” on education regulations was scheduled on Jan. 12 in Springfield.

Comments posted by name or anonymously are also being accepted online here. For your comments to be considered in the upcoming regulatory review, submit them by the end of February.

Let’s add many comments to the site so Baker and the DESE can’t claim that educators have no problem with DDMs or the other regulations that tie the hands of educators.

Now is a good time to address these issues. When Congress replaced No Child Left Behind with the Every Student Succeeds Act in December, states were given the freedom to get rid of some of the unhelpful regulations that had been foisted on them by the federal government. Two key examples: the federal government no longer requires that student test scores be part of the educator evaluation system and no longer mandates specific turnaround strategies for so-called underperforming schools.

MTA comments on the regulations and other documents that members may find helpful will also be posted on our website, but it is important that members who are commenting use their own words, write from their own experiences and address specific ways that the regulations they are critiquing are confusing, unnecessary, inconsistent or redundant.

For more information, contact MTA’s Center for Education Policy and Practice at regulations@massteacher.org.