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Commissioner's Weekly Update - February 22, 2013

Update on Sequestration:

March 1 is the current deadline for Congress to act to avoid the automatic spending cuts under sequestration, although few will be surprised if the federal budget debate extends into spring and summer. If sequestration occurs, it has been suggested that federal K-12 education spending might be cut in the range of six percent. It is too early to tell how that would translate into individual district allotments for individual programs. Any cuts to education spending won't have an impact until July 1 at the earliest. We urge districts to take a conservative approach in estimating federal grant revenues as you continue your work on Fiscal Year 2014 budgets.

AP Participation and Performance Continues to Rise:

Over the last decade, the number of Massachusetts public high school graduates taking an Advanced Placement (AP) exam has increased by 89 percent and the number scoring a 3 or higher - a solid predictive indicator of college readiness - on at least one exam has increased by 85 percent. New results from the College Board show that 39.1 percent of MA public high school students in the class of 2012 took at least one AP exam in high school, and 27.9 percent scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school. Congratulations to Chelsea Public Schools for being named an AP District of the Year, and to the 46 MA public school districts named to the 2012 AP District Honor Roll. For more info on this year's AP results, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/news/news.aspx?id=7265.

RETELL Update:

Beginning next week, the first cohort of 3,000 academic teachers of English language learners will begin participating in graduate-level Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) training. To learn more, read the commissioner's Feb. 15 memo to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education at http://www.doe.mass.edu/boe/docs/2013-02/item9.html.

Three New Data Sets - Now Available:

ESE has recently added the following three new data sets to School/District Profiles:

  • 2012-13 Enrollment: New district and school reports to reflect 2012-13 enrollment include enrollment by grade, race/gender, and selected populations.
  • Attrition: This data set looks at attrition across school years. Users can filter the data by school year, district or school levels, and various subgroups. Clicking on an individual district or school will show all of the subgroups for that entity. To view the data, go to http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/state_report/attrition.aspx.
  • MassCore Completion: This data set reflects the percent of graduates who have completed the MassCore curriculum as reported by districts. While we acknowledge there are data quality issues within this data set, by publishing the data, we expect the quality of the reporting will improve. In future years, ESE will use its own course scheduling data collection to supplement the district-reported data. The data are online at http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/state_report/masscore.aspx.

For Your Info:

  • The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet on Feb. 25 and 26 in Malden. The agenda is posted online at http://www.doe.mass.edu/boe/docs/2013-02/.
  • Science Education Supplies and Equipment: The state's Laboratory Supplies and Minor Equipment Contract (HSP34) has a new category for science education supplies and equipment specifically designed for K-12 schools. For more information, refer to the Contract User Guide on the Operational Services Division website at http://www.mass.gov/anf/docs/osd/uguide/hsp34-10-09-12.pdf.
  • "What's New in Curriculum? Exploring Two Model Curriculum Units": ESE, in partnership with the Governor's Readiness Centers, will make five regional presentations in March to provide an overview of the Model Curriculum Units project and illustrate the shifts and alignment to the new literacy and mathematics standards. We encourage literacy and mathematics curriculum teams, including coordinators, coaches, specialists, and department heads, to attend.

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Last Updated: February 22, 2013
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