CPS Report Looks at the Facts on MA Charter Schools

kids-chalkboardCPS’s June 2013 report, Twenty Years After Education Reform: Choosing a Path Forward To Equity and Excellence For All, includes a chapter devoted to the facts on charter schools in Massachusetts. Click here to download the full report. (See Chapter 4 for information on charter schools.) Click here to download the executive summary.    → Read More

Finnish Lessons: What We Learned from Pasi Sahlberg

Photo by Louis Kruger

By Lisa Guisbond

We all got a taste of Finnish education from Pasi Sahlberg Wednesday night, and boy did it taste good! In describing his country’s approach to school reform, the Finnish educator and author filled First Parish Church with hope and optimism by showing us “some new ideas about what is possible, not just about what is wrong.”

Pasi did not shy away from critiquing the ways U.S. education reform has gone astray. “You are testing your kids too much, it is too expensive, and it has negative consequences for students.” (According to Pasi, an expression I thought was a piece of American folk wisdom is also used in Finland: “Weighing the pig doesn’t make it fatter.” The difference is, in Finland, they take this to heart!)

Pasi described a system that spends less than the U.S. Nevertheless, it gives all schools equitable resources, has well-trained and highly respected teachers, little standardized testing, and recognizes children’s need for play and creative expression.   → Read More

CPS Presents Pasi Sahlberg, May 14 in Harvard Square

Pasi Sahlberg

We are excited to present a talk by Pasi Sahlberg, author of Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? and now a visiting lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Pasi has been a teacher, a teacher educator and educational coach and advisor for many years. He has become a global ambassador for Finland’s successful approach to school reform, one that is radically different from the test-driven, top-down reforms many of us have been resisting here in Massachusetts and across the United States.

You won’t want to miss this important event. Click here to register online today. Spread the word to your friends and colleagues. Click here for a downloadable flyer to post and share.    → Read More

Charter Cap Battle Boils Over

sonia chang diaz

Tempers flared and fingers stabbed out vitriolic editorials at the news that the Joint Education Committee wanted time to hear from voters and think about proposed charter cap and school turnaround legislation.

First, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz released a statement announcing the one-week extension. The statement was posted at the Blue Mass Group blog, prompting an interesting series of comments, including an excellent post by CPS member Shirley Kressel.

The Boston Herald then printed a vicious editorial attack on Senators Chang-Diaz and Jehlen, saying there should be “a special place in hell reserved for those who would deprive children of a way out of a failing school.”    → Read More

What We Know: Opting Out of PARCC Pilot Tests


1)    The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted this fall to begin pilot testing PARCC exams to see if we should move from our current MCAS tests to these new exams. The plan is to include 15% of the state’s students in approximately 2/3 of state schools. (For more, see our PARCC test fact sheet, here.)

2)    Is opting out an option? More and more parents, teachers, school committee members and superintendents believe parents should be able to decide whether their children participate in these trials.   → Read More