Teachers suggested that a reason for a more than 75 percent drop in participation was that “after we have been heard, life continues much the same,” despite the courage it may take to stand up and express views opposite those of the administration.
Next year’s total cost for out-of-district tuition for special education students is expected to rise $2.5 million, to $14 million, and the assistant superintendent in charge has admitted there’s no handle on why the need for the program is going up.
Of 27 parents speaking at a School Committee budget hearing, most asked for more help in supporting diverse classrooms in terms of ability, race, income and needs, including classes that have been shaken by social-emotional behavior issues.
The education budget “gap” for next year has dropped to $3 million from $5 million, but a Tuesday discussion raised many more questions about guidelines for immediate concerns and goals for the future.
Cambridge can do a better job of meeting children’s needs for unstructured, outdoor play and exercise. If more money is needed to make this possible, we ask that money be allotted for this purpose in the budget.
Administration members signaled cautious optimism that although the gap is relatively high, they will be able to bring the numbers closer.
Cambridge schools have been told they will be “held harmless” for their first set of PARCC results, but it’s not clear if the amount of testing to which our children will be subjected will be “harmless” in their education.
The newly sworn-in School Committee held its first meeting, spending considerable time discussing issues related to student testing, leading to motions to convene a “community discussion” in February and to reverse a vote okaying use of the PARCC test.
The new School Committee was sworn in Monday evening and, with the swift election of E. Denise Simmons as mayor at that morning’s City Council inaugural meeting, made Cambridge history in having five of its seven members being women.
The School Committee voted 4-3 on Tuesday to switch to the PARCC test within three months, surprising many after a unanimous vote in May to halt its implementation and proceed “with a community-wide forum” on standardized testing that never took place.