Public School Community Raises Red Flag on Regulatory Overload

At the June 27th hearing of the Joint Committee on Education, MassPartners for Public Schools will plead the case that teachers, students and taxpayers deserve a comprehensive analysis of the true costs of excess state regulations and paperwork.

According to Mary Ann Stewart, Chair of the MassPartners Board of Directors, the public school community wants to keep the focus on effective teaching – NOT on expensive or unnecessary regulations and paperwork. “We want the public to understand the true costs of current state regulatory practices and mandates, which are wasting taxpayer dollars and taking resources away from classrooms,” she said.

The public school community is calling for an analysis of all state initiatives and reporting requirements – and for necessary corrective action to improve learning and reduce costs. MassPartners supports Joint Committee Chair Alice Peisch, Representative James Dwyer, Representative Chris Walsh, and former Representative Martha Walz, who filed House Bills 459, 375, 512, and 528 respectively; each requires a review of state mandates followed by legislative recommendations for correcting duplicative, cost-inhibitive or unnecessary requirements.

In 2012, the Taunton Public Schools estimated that state initiatives cost that district $6.7 million out of a $78 million budget.  The statewide coalition of education organizations cites an example of the kinds of things that require review: between 2009 and today, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) posted 5,382 listings on its website on the topic of regulations or an average of 1,077 each year. In all of the thirteen years prior, there were 4,055 postings or an annual average of 312.  A content search under educator evaluation reveals 4,972 postings between 2009 and today or an average of 995 each year and 4,023 in the prior thirteen years or an annual average of 310.

To keep the focus on education – not regulations and paperwork – schools are asking for a review of all the rules, regulations and reporting requirements at play in PreK-12 education. The review would be rolled into legislative and policy changes and a strategic plan that defines timelines, projects costs, and coordinates all of the disparate initiatives.

MassPartners Board member Thomas Scott, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents said, “The education community sees tremendous value in current education initiatives, and we want to do a good job on the work that’s been laid out. But excess mandates and reporting requirements without a game plan could derail these good programs.”


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PITTSFIELD — Public school districts are feeling regulatory overload from the state, and on Thursday morning, a number of school principals, superintendents, representatives of teacher and other education groups spoke out on Beacon Hill and proposed a new solution.

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MassPartners for Public Schools

MassPartners represents a long-term commitment by the major education organizations to revolutionize the way members work together to support the public school community throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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