This post is a summary of the answers to this question that came out during a forum in Belmont in March with Commisioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mitchell Chester.
Among these recommendations, I am particularly focused on implementing the first. But I would be very willing to add others to my agenda based on comments from professionals and parents.
- Develop the implications of Clayton Christiansen’s book, Disrupting Class — allow districts to credit kids with school time for independent learning using emerging technology.
- Reduce the paperwork burdens on districts
- Eliminate redundant certification requirements
- During the fiscal crisis apply a moratorium to paperwork
- Reduce regulation of districts more generally– Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Executive Director, Glenn Koocher distributed an inventory of all the unfunded or partially funded mandates on districts (this link leads to a package of several documents which includes the inventory)
- Encourage district consolidation (there was push back on this idea — possibliity of bad marriages)
- Eliminate or reduce the role of MCAS (there was push back on this idea — value of MCAS in encouraging attention to all students)
- Bring more of special education teaching back within school districts — make it more feasible to reduce out of district placements (while preserving instructional quality); support collaborative solutions for hard to handle cases