What Ever Happened to Recess?

On November 1, the Alliance for Brookline Schools (of which CPS is a member) sponsored “What ever happened to recess?” with author and educator Peter Gray. Professor Gray spoke on “Play Deficit Disorder: A National Crisis and How to Solve it Locally.” 
 
For those who couldn’t join us, we are pleased to share two videos, one of Peter Gray’s talk, and the other of the panel discussion that followed, featuring Gray with Brookline teachers and a member of the Brookline School Committee. The panel was moderated by Adam Weiner, co-president of the Brookline Parents Organization
 
Click here to view the video of Gray’s talk, and here to view the panel discussion.    → Read More

Questions about Yesterday’s Release of Next-Generation MCAS Results

Statement from Citizens for Public Schools/Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance regarding today’s release of next-generation MCAS results:

(Courtesy of timlewisnm/Flickr)

(Courtesy of timlewisnm/Flickr)

 

Results from the next-generation MCAS exam show that, in most grades and subjects, more than half of Massachusetts students scored below the new “meeting expectations” level.  The likely result of this will be more pressure to focus narrowly on increasing test scores, which will further narrow our curriculum and harm our students.

These results raise important questions that we hope will be asked and answered in the coming days and weeks:

1) A 2015 Mathematica study commissioned by Secretary James Peyser showed that neither the legacy MCAS nor PARCC measured college readiness accurately (scores accounted for only 5% to 18% of the variation in first-year college grades). Why should we expect that this new test will get any more accurate results?

2) DESE reports that Massachusetts students are first in the nation and perform at world-class levels based on a number of measures.

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What a Night for Public Education!

 

Panelists Matt Damon and Luis Navarro before the Backpack Full of Cash screening. Below, Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang, Matt Damon, Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Luis Navarro. (All photos by Louis Kruger)

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make last night’s Backpack Full of Cash event such a huge success, including all the CPS volunteers, board members and staff who pitched in.   

Filmmakers Vera Aronow and Sarah Mondale did a magnificent job. Our panelists Matt Damon, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Jessica Tang and Luis Navarro did just what I had hoped they would. They connected the powerful film’s message to what’s happening here on the ground in Massachusetts.
 
Of course, we all love Cambridge native Matt Damon, our favorite public education advocate (and the secret sauce who helped us fill the house), but our friend and ally Jessica Tang got the evening’s biggest round of applause!   → Read More

Join CPS and Matt Damon Sept. 13 for Backpack Full of Cash documentary

Please join us on Wednesday, September 13 at 7 pm at the Wheelock Family Theater (200 Riverway, Boston) for the Boston premiere of the acclaimed documentary Backpack Full of Cash, about the threat of privatization to our public schools.
 
The event is free and open to the public – No Tickets Required – Seating on a First Come, First Served basis.  Click here to RSVP and Share on Facebook. Click here to view the trailer.    → Read More

Life and Learning in MA Turnaround Schools

On Tuesday, June 13, Senator Pat Jehlen hosted a powerful State House briefing featuring eyewitness accounts from a student, a parent and teachers about what it actually looks and feels like to be in a Level 4 “turnaround” school. 

It was clear that the current system is not helping but is causing harm and dislocation to black and brown communities, especially those with large populations of recent immigrants and English language learners. It is also clear that, under the current federal education law, it doesn’t have to be this way. 
 
I urge those who couldn’t be there to watch at least some of the recording, including the powerful testimonies of Brighton High teacher (and finalist for MA Teacher of the Year) Martha Boisselle and Excel High School student Trinity Kelly, which come in the first 15 minutes of the video. Click here to watch. 
   → Read More