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Education Laws and Regulations

Chapter 260 of the Acts of 1998

SECTION 3.

Chapter 10 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1996 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 35R the following section:-

Section 35S. There shall be established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a separate fund, to be administered by the commissioner of education, which shall be known as the Teacher Quality Endowment Fund. Said fund shall consist of all revenues from public and private sources as appropriations, gifts, grants, donations and from the federal government as reimbursements, grants-in-aid or other receipts to further the purposes of said fund in accordance with the provisions of sections 19B and 19C of chapter 15A. All revenues credited to said fund under this section shall remain in said fund and shall be expended without further appropriation for applications pursuant to said sections 19B and 19C of said chapter 15A. The state treasurer shall deposit and invest monies in said fund in accordance with the provisions of sections 34, 34A and 38 of chapter 29 in such a manner as to secure the highest rate of return available consistent with the safety of the fund. Said fund shall be expended only for the purposes stated in said sections 19B and 19C of said chapter 15A at the direction of the commissioner of education. The state treasurer shall structure expenditures from said fund to ensure that not less than $60,000,000 or the total dollar value of funds appropriated or transferred into said fund by the general court, whichever is greater, remains in said fund at all times. On February 1 of each year, the state treasurer shall notify the commissioner of education of the projected investment earnings available for expenditure from said fund for the upcoming fiscal year. Not more than 50 per cent of the projected investment earnings of said fund shall be expended for the purposes stated in said section 19C of said chapter 15A in each fiscal year.

SECTION 4.

Chapter 15A of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after section 19A the following three sections:-

Section 19B. There shall be an incoming teacher signing bonus program to be administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the purpose of encouraging the best and brightest candidates to teach in the public schools. The goal of such program shall be to encourage high achieving candidates to enter the profession who would otherwise not consider a career in teaching. Funding for such program shall be subject to the provisions of section 35S of chapter 10.

The board of education shall promulgate regulations, where necessary, for the effective implementation of such program. Such regulations shall include the following provisions:

  1. On an annual basis, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall select the best and brightest teaching prospects based on objective measures such as test scores, grade point average or class rank and such other criteria as the department may determine. The department shall establish a system for receiving a limited number of recommendations for outstanding candidates for such bonuses from institutions of higher education across the nation. In selecting bonus recipients, the department shall consider such recommendations.
  2. In a given year, the department may target awards to attract teachers for those subject matter areas most needed in the commonwealth; provided, however, that such subject matter areas shall be included in the core subjects as described in section 1D of chapter 69.
  3. In a given year, the department shall award bonuses only to those deserving candidates rather than providing a set number of bonuses.
  4. Recipients shall receive a $20,000 signing bonus over at least three years with at least $8,000 distributed in the first year of the bonus.
  5. Such recipients shall be eligible for each year's bonus payment only if they are certified to teach in the commonwealth and are employed as a teacher by a public school in the commonwealth.
  6. The department shall select and notify bonus recipients by April 1 of each year. Eligible recipients shall receive their annual bonus payments by the subsequent October 1 of each year.
  7. The name of an individual recipient of such bonus shall remain confidential unless recipient waives such confidentiality in writing.
  8. The department shall aggressively market the existence of the program to encourage the best and brightest candidates in the nation to come to the commonwealth to teach. Such marketing shall focus on candidates who would otherwise not consider a career in teaching.
  9. The program shall set forth an outreach plan to attract underrepresented populations to the teaching profession.

Section 19C. There shall be Massachusetts master teacher corps program for the purpose of building a group of recognized teachers of high achievement in the profession who shall serve to mentor incoming apprentice teachers and further the goals of the education reform act, so-called. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall administer this program. Funding for said program shall be subject to the provisions of section 35S of chapter 10.

The board of education shall promulgate regulations, where necessary, for the effective implementation of such program. Such regulations shall include the following provisions:

  1. The department may select master teachers who achieve master teacher status through certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, pass a challenging content test, and agree to mentor apprentice teachers. The department may develop and include alternatives to the NBPTS program provided such alternatives maintain equivalent or higher standards of excellence in teaching.
  2. The department may provide master teachers with partial or full reimbursement for the assessment costs of said NBPTS certification. The department shall provide master teachers with ongoing salary bonuses for such master teachers. Such ongoing salary bonuses shall be limited to $5,000 per year. Within said $5,000 limit, the department may authorize a nominal payment to the school district of such master teachers to facilitate time for the master teacher to engage in mentoring activity.
  3. Teachers with master teacher status shall have full parity in certification and compensation with teachers who earn a master's degrees from approved higher education institutions, notwithstanding the provisions of section 38G of chapter 71, or chapter 150E.
  4. The program shall set forth an outreach plan to attract underrepresented populations to the teaching profession.

Section 19D. There shall be a scholarship program to be administered by the board of higher education, which shall be known as the tomorrow's teachers program, for the purpose of encouraging outstanding high school students to teach in the public schools by providing qualified high school students with scholarships for tuition and fees for a four-year bachelor's degree program at a public college or university in the commonwealth. The program shall be subject to appropriation.

The board of higher education shall promulgate guidelines governing the tomorrow's teachers program. The guidelines shall include the following provisions:

  1. Eligibility for the program shall be limited to students who graduated in the top quarter of their high school classes, who agree to complete a four-year bachelor's degree program in a public college or university in the commonwealth and who commit to and actually teach for four years in a public school in the commonwealth upon successful completion of a bachelor's degree from the college or university and the appropriate certification in accordance with said section 38G of said chapter 71.
  2. The program shall set forth an outreach plan to attract underrepresented populations to the teaching profession.
  3. Persons who participate in the program but do not complete their college education within six years of entering college or who fail to complete their four-year teaching commitment within six years following graduation from college shall be obligated to repay the commonwealth the tuition and fees advanced to them, with interest, as determined by the board of higher education.

SECTION 5.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall develop and submit to the joint committee on education not later than December 31, 1998, the so-called "12-62 Plan for Strengthening Massachusetts Future Teaching Force." Such plan may include such legislative, regulatory, financial and other policy initiatives necessary as to attract, train, retain, mentor and develop out top teachers into masters of their profession; provided, that a schedule of projected costs and funding sources therefor shall accompany each such initiative that said department proposes in such plan.

One goal of the plan shall be to attract the best and brightest individuals in the nation to teach in the commonwealth's public schools. Elements of the plan may include: (1) establishing so-called "Future Teachers of America Clubs" in every middle and high school to excite students of diverse backgrounds about the nobility of the teaching profession; (2) implementing the program of signing bonuses for the best and brightest new teachers established by section 19B of chapter 15A of the General Laws; (3) enhancing the Attracting Excellence to Teaching Program to increase the loan forgiveness packages to the best and brightest college graduates; (4) implementing the program funded in item 7077-1000 of this act which provides scholarships at state colleges and universities to top performing high school students who commit to a career in teaching; and (5) taking such actions as may be necessary to remove costly and time-consuming barriers and create greater flexibility to entry into teaching and to full certification.

A further goal of the plan shall be to establish a professional life cycle for teachers. Elements of the plan may include: (1) implementing the Massachusetts master teacher corps program established by section 19C of chapter 15A of the General Laws; (2) establishing a low cost district based certification path for apprentice teachers who are mentored by master teachers; (3) amending the recertification regulations to ensure that all educators retain mastery of their subject matter and are held accountable to the highest standards of professional performance; and (4) making such changes as may be necessary to the statutes, regulations and operations of the teachers' retirement board to encourage school districts to provide teachers who are entering the profession, re-entering the profession, or scaling back their time commitment to the profession with opportunities for part-time and job-sharing arrangements.

SECTION 6.

Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law to the contrary, the state treasurer shall credit and transfer $60,000,000 from the general fund to the Teacher Quality Endowment Fund established pursuant to the provisions of section 35S of chapter 10 of the General Laws as of June 30, 1998; provided, however, that the general court may make supplemental transfers, appropriations or deposits into said Teacher Quality Endowment Fund in future fiscal years; provided, further, that no funds shall be expended from the teacher quality endowment fund until the board of education promulgates regulations pursuant to sections 19B and 19C of chapter 15A.

N.B. — This section has been vetoed by the Lieutenant-Governor, Acting Governor

SECTION 6A.

Except for emergency regulations adopted pursuant to section 2 of chapter 30A, any regulation as defined in section 1 of said chapter 30A or any amendment or repeal of any such regulation adopted by the board of education pursuant to this act, shall, after compliance with all applicable provisions of said chapter 30A, except section 5, be submitted to the general court. Said board shall file the proposed regulation, amendment or repeal with the clerk of the house of representatives, together with a statement that the pertinent provisions of said chapter 30A, except section 5, have been complied with. The clerk of the house of representatives, with the approval of the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives, shall refer such regulations to the joint committee on education, arts and humanities. Within 30 days after such referral, said committee may hold a public hearing on the regulations and shall issue a report to said board. Said report shall contain any proposed changes to the regulations voted upon by the committee. The board shall review said report and shall adopt final regulations as deemed appropriate in view of said report and shall file with the chairmen of said education, arts and humanities committee its final regulations. If the final regulations do not contain the changes proposed by the committee, the board shall send a letter to the committee accompanying the final regulations stating the reasons why such proposed changes were not adopted. Not earlier than 45 days after the filing of such letter and final regulations with the said committee, said board shall file the final regulations with the state secretary as provided in section 5 of said chapter 30A and said regulations shall thereupon take effect.

If no such proposed changes to the regulations are made to the board within 60 days of the initial filing of the proposed regulation or any amendment or a repeal of such regulation with the clerk of the house of representatives, the board may file the final regulations with the state secretary as provided in section 5 of said chapter 30A and said regulations shall thereupon take effect.



Last Updated: January 1, 1998
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