Accountability in Massachusetts’ Remote Learning Regulations
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has solicited public comment on pandemic-related revisions to its important “Learning Time” regulation, 603 CMR 27.00. 1 This policy brief constitutes the comments of Pioneer Institute.
The revisions establish baseline procedural and substantive requirements for in-person, hybrid, and remote learning. Appreciating that the regulation is meant to set forth only the most fundamental mat- ters, with many other matters contained in parallel guidance documents, Pioneer nonetheless strongly believes that the regulation should be supplemented and clarified in key areas.
For example, the revised regulation states that remote learning must be “aligned to state standards.” The intent of that statement is laudable, but in the present environment it should be strengthened to send a crystal-clear message that remote learning does not mean dilution of substantive curriculum, grading, and testing requirements, which are the result of years of study and progress, and which are crucial to meaningful student learning, and meaningful educator accountability.
Pioneer suggests this instead:
“Remote academic work shall be aligned to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and other applicable standards; shall advance the curriculum to the same extent as in-person education; and, also to the same extent as in-person education, shall prepare students for Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System testing.”
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