U.S. House extends tax deduction for educators' classroom purchases
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that revives the $250 tax credit for K-12 educators who spend their own money on classroom supplies and instructional materials.
Massachusetts educators turn back licensure threat
The past month has been a tumultuous one for Massachusetts educators as teaching licenses came under threat by an onerous new proposal from the state's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. But due to pressure from educators, the department withdrew the proposal, designed by private vendors at a taxpayer cost of $550,000.
The law requires all public and private preK-12 school employees in Massachusetts, as well as early childhood educators, to submit to fingerprint-based national and state criminal background checks. Specifically, all school-related personnel with the potential for direct and unmonitored contact with children will be subject to national and state fingerprint-based criminal background checks.
When do I have to submit to a fingerprint check? School employees and others (who might have direct and unmonitored contact with children) who began service for their school employer prior to July 1, 2013, shall submit fingerprints for national and state criminal background checks before the start of the 2016-2017 school year, on a phased-in basis and according to a schedule established by DESE.
Where will the fingerprinting take place?Fingerprinting will take place at sites to be identified around the state.
Please note the MorphoTrust USA? fingerprinting location in Plymouth, MA has moved. The
new location is 385 Court Street Suite 305/306, Plymouth, MA 02360. The hours of operation
are Tuesday and Thursday 9:00A-5:30P, Wednesday 10:00A-7:00P, Saturday 8:00A-2:00P.
How much does it cost? The law provides that the fee shall be $55 for employees who are certified pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 71, section 38G, and shall be $35 for employees who are not certified pursuant to section 38G. The law provides that the secretary of administration and finance, in consultation with the secretary of public safety and security and the commissioner of education, may increase the fee accordingly if the FBI increases the fee for its fingerprint background check service.
Many people have asked about the difference in the fee. This fee was set by the legislators and part of the law. Do I have to have my finger prints taken. No, but you will not be employable in a public school setting.
- Non-Medicare eligible retirees' status was not changed. Those hired before 1986 may fall into this category - please call the Benefits office to see if you are in this group. These retirees may be eligible for Medicare through a spouse, or will have access to Blue Choice or Blue Care Elect in retirement.
Student and Staff Feedback in Educator Evaluation- Administration has agreed that there will be no system wide feedback process for this year!
DESE Regulation 603 CMR 35.07 identifies 3 categories of evidence to be used in the course of an educator's 5-step evaluation cycle. These include:
1. Products of Practice
2. Multiple Measures of Student Learning, Growth and Achievement
3. Other Evidence rated to Standards of Practice
The third category of evidence includes the use of student feedback. Beginning 2014-2015 school year, the school districts are to collect feedback from students for use in the educator evaluation. Administrators will be required to collect feedback from staff for use in their educator evaluation.
DESE does not require a particular instrument, however, they have published suggested surveys. Click the link here.
EAPC Negotiations will focus on these key concepts:
Feedback should be meaningful and actionable.
Feedback collection can take many forms-and does not have to include DESE's forms
Feedback can be introduced to inform any part of the evaluation cycle
No specific weights or formulas are connected in the use of feedback.