Commissioner's Weekly Update - July 11, 2014
NEA Recognizes Gov. Patrick as "Greatest Education Governor":
The National Education Association (NEA) recently honored Governor Deval Patrick by awarding him the group's "America's Greatest Education Governor Award." The award, which the NEA established in 2008, annually recognizes governors who have made major strides in their states to improve public schools. For more information, go to http://www.nea.org/home/59601.htm.
Gov. Patrick Signs the FY 2015 State Budget:
On Friday, Governor Patrick signed the Commonwealth's Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 General Appropriations Act into law. The $36.5 billion spending law contains $5.01 billion for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, which is an increase of $107 million above the Department's FY 2014 budget. Highlights of the final budget include a $99.5 million increase for Chapter 70 state aid to $4.4 billion, a $5 million increase in the Special Education Circuit Breaker program to $257.5 million, and a $18.73 million increase for regional school transportation costs to $70.25 million.
The Department has posted the final Chapter 70 minimum local contributions on its school finance page at http://www.doe.mass.edu/finance/chapter70/chapter_15.html. Please remember that the cherry sheet numbers provided by the Department of Revenue (DOR) for charter school tuition, school choice tuition, and transportation reimbursements are only estimates. The Department will calculate actual receipts and assessments next year following submission of final information from districts.
Grant Assurances Document:
The Department has posted the Fiscal Year 2015 Grant Assurances Document, which covers the requirements for the following three programs: the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act (Perkins). Applicants must sign and submit the assurances document to Elizabeth Celata at the Department by Monday, July 28, 2014 in order to receive funds from ESEA, IDEA, and/or Perkins. To learn more and to access the document, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/grants/2015/assurance15.html.
Hardship Waivers – New Requirement:
Effective July 1, 2014, a superintendent, charter school leader, collaborative leader, and/or director of a private special education school who seeks an additional year waiver on behalf of an educator employed under a hardship waiver must verify that the educator has received an evaluation rating of "Needs Improvement" or higher in the preceding school year. For more information on this policy and how the Department measures continuous progress for an additional waiver, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/news/news.aspx?id=10341.
For Your Info:
- ESE Research Update: The Department has published a brief of a study that examines the relationship between self-reported non-cognitive skills (conscientiousness, self-control, grit, and growth mindset) and student outcomes in grade 8 students attending public schools in Boston. The study finds that higher non-cognitive skills correlate with better attendance, behavior, and test score gains. However, students attending over-subscribed charter schools with higher average test score gains score lower on these scales than do students attending district schools, and charter schools appear to have a negative causal impact on non-cognitive skills. These paradoxical results appear driven by reference bias, or the tendency for social context to influence survey responses. To view the brief, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/research/reports/2014/07EdLines-Non-Cognitive.pdf.
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