Tag Archives: Stand for Children

A message from Stand for Children

Below is a statement from Jason Williams, Executive Director of Stand for Children in Massachusetts, following the recent announcement from the Massachusetts  Secretary of State that 81,117 certified signatures of registered voters to quality An Act to Promote Excellence in Public Schools´were allowed, and that the initiative will be submitted on January 4, 2012, to the state legislature for consideration:

“We are pleased that, with today’s announcement, lawmakers will now have a chance to weigh in on An Act to Promote Excellence in Public Schools when they return in January. The proposed changes to state law in the Act will bring Massachusetts one step closer to creating great schools statewide, where all students, regardless of their background or zip code have a chance to do well. As a former classroom teacher in one of our nation’s toughest school districts, I’ve seen firsthand the impact the achievement gap is having on so many of our children. Having been born and raised in Fall River, I find it alarming that the achievement gap remains wide in Massachusetts. One of the best things we can do to make sure no child is short-changed is to ensure there is a teacher who gets results in every classroom. This initiative does this by putting performance first when deciding which teachers to retain, which, according to a UMASS Amherst poll released last week, 85% of registered Massachusetts voters support.  Massachusetts is a state that values education and together we can live up to that value for all of our students.  I invite teachers, parents, school leaders and community members to get involved in the Great Teachers Great Schools campaign at www.greatteachersgreatschools.org so no child spends another minute in a classroom where they are not learning. “

Sam Castañeda Holdren, MSW

Stand for Children

Governor Patrick visits Worcester’s Woodland Academy, a state Innovation School

Stand for Children supports parent advocates in Innovation School transformation!

WORCESTER: Governor Patrick visited Woodland Academy this morning to meet with staff and tour the school, which will reopen as an Innovation School this fall.

Jabián Gutiérrez, Central and Western Massachusetts Director with Stand for Children said, “All members of the Woodland Academy community have come together to make changes that are going to benefit kids starting next year. Superintendent Boone, Principal Padilla, teachers, and parents have advocated together to become an Innovation School so that they can exercise increased autonomy and flexibility, which will help them improve outcomes for students.”

Stand for Children member and Woodland Academy parent Diana Renteria is pleased to see Woodland becoming an Innovation School because of the flexibility it will provide with hiring decisions. “Becoming an Innovation School allows the Instructional Leadership Team to conduct an in-depth interview process to choose teachers that are the best fit for the school and the students.”

On May 5, 2011, the Worcester School Committee voted unanimously to approve five Innovation Schools in Worcester next year. In 2010, Stand for Children members supported An Act Relative to the Achievement Gap, which allowed for the creation of Innovation Schools. The schools, which must be authorized by local School Committees, enjoy more autonomy and flexibility than traditional public schools in the areas of curriculum, budget, schedule and calendar, staffing, professional development, and district policies.

Despite increased autonomy, Innovation Schools are held accountable for achieving annual student learning and performance goals. Additionally, Superintendent Boone has outlined ambitious student achievement goals in the Worcester Compact, and the tools afforded by Innovation Schools including increased community partnerships, may help the schools reach those benchmarks. Principal Patricia Padilla commented, “Innovation Schools have united the entire school community in support of high levels of achievement and college and career readiness.”

Jason Williams, Executive Director for Stand for Children said, “We are excited to see plans for Innovations Schools come to fruition. By increasing ownership and flexibility for teachers and school leaders, Innovation Schools will be able to make critical changes that will benefit kids.”

Stand for Children is the state’s grassroots advocacy group committed to public education and closing the achievement gap.

Stand for Children supports student outcomes in teacher evaluations

Stand for Children provided testimony recently at the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s monthly meeting in Malden to share their recommendations for Massachusetts’ educator evaluation guidelines. Stand for Children Executive Director Jason Williams and member Trisha Perez Kennealy spoke at the meeting and presented the Board with written testimony from parents, teachers, and administrators from across the Commonwealth.

“My lifelong work in public education has consistently shown that all students can achieve at high levels academically regardless of socioeconomic background,” stated Jason Williams. “Having an effective teacher greatly influences student learning and Stand for Children members are committed to ensuring that the state’s guidelines prioritize student outcomes as the most significant factor in a teacher’s evaluation.”

Stand for Children is advocating for Massachusetts’ teacher evaluation guidelines to prioritize evidence of student learning as the most significant factor, and up to 50%, of a teacher’s evaluation.

Student outcomes need to be taken into account using multiple measures, including but not limited to students’ growth scores on standardized tests. Additional changes to the current teacher evaluation system should include the use of an evaluation tool based on four categories to distinguish between varying skill levels, as well as more frequent self and peer-based evaluation cycles.

“As a Puerto Rican woman, I know that education is an equalizer. When I hear the drop-out rates in the Latino community, I cannot sit on the sidelines,” said Stand member Trisha Perez Kennealy. “I have to advocate for effective tools that will keep students engaged and keep them in school and one of those tools is an effective evaluation system for teachers.”

Some updates: Worcester City Council passes resolution in support of CAP Act and Stand for Children testifies in support of Health Benefit reform

WCCA TV 13, on behalf of EPG channels everywhere, expresses gratitude to the members of Worcester City Council for passing a resolution in support of the Community Access Preservation Act (CAP Act).

The resolution was co-sponsored by Mayor Joseph O’Brien and City Councilor Barbara Haller.

The resolution was adopted unanimously, after I spoke before the council last night, March 8, 2011, and explained, in brief, detail about the dangerous impact state issued franchise licenses have had upon PEG channels and what the CAP Act will accomplish.

The resolution illustrates to our Federal and State Legislators that the City of Worcester stands with the Public Access [PEG] Community and other community media organizations in support of changes to the Telecommunication Act to protect and guarantee assurances for the advancement of PEG.

We thank the City of Worcester for recognizing the importance and value of PEG community access and also thank the many WCCA TV members who petitioned on behalf of localism and PEG community media access everywhere.

– Mauro DePasquale, Executive Director
WCCA TV, “The People’s Channel”



Framingham Teacher Speaks Out in Support of Health Benefit Reform

BOSTON: Stand for Children testified in support of Municipal Health Benefit Reform to the Joint Committee on Public Service at the State House today. As skyrocketing health care costs continue to strain municipal budgets, Stand for Children is advocating for provisions that will ameliorate the financial burden on cities and towns and ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are being invested where they can make the most difference – in the classroom.

Stand for Children’s recommendations will allow cities and towns to direct at least $136 to $151 million towards saving educators’ jobs and protecting valuable community services across the Commonwealth. Included are provisions implementing good-faith bargaining measures to negotiate health care design, moving eligible municipal employees into Medicare, and transitioning to a system of global payment. These provisions would significantly lower health care costs in municipal budgets while still providing excellent benefits to municipal workers.

“Mitigating the skyrocketing cost of insuring municipal employees is an urgent issue that directly affects teachers’ jobs,” stated Jason Williams, Executive Director of Stand for Children. “Stand for Children supports this common-sense solution and legislators need to act now to help keep teachers in the classroom because our kids can’t afford to wait.”

“As a teacher in Framingham Public Schools, I believe Stand for Children’s recommendations are amenable to both parents and teachers,” stated Rosangela Caixa, a Stand for Children member and first grade teacher at the Potter Road School. “We need to pass health benefit reform now to help protect the jobs of teachers across the Commonwealth and to ensure that education is a viable career choice for the next generation of teachers.”

“Stand for Children’s recommendations will allow a greater proportion of education funding to support teachers and the important work they do in the classroom,” stated Jim Stockless, a Stand for Children member in Framingham. “Cities and towns are spending too much money on skyrocketing health insurance costs and we need to start spending this money on protecting teachers’ jobs and investing in our children.”

“Stand for Children’s recommendations reflect a vested interest in collective bargaining and provide both management and labor with a voice at the negotiating table,” stated Juli Brazile, a Stand for Children member in Arlington. “We need to retain teachers’ jobs and critical school services, but this will be impossible if we don’t address the soaring cost of health care now.”