SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

January 2, 2013

Changing with the times

Mass. High Tech Council focuses on teacher training, lower taxes for small businesses

(Continued)

To reach that goal, the council is pushing for a system that allows school principals to base teacher pay on performance.

“It’s a K-12 system that employs proven innovative education delivery models, such as charter schools, and provides the chief education officer within each school with the fiscal autonomy and authority to assign and compensate personnel according to the needs and mission of the school,” Anderson said.

The council is also pushing for changes in the ways teachers are recruited and trained, starting with 2006 pilot programs at two underperforming schools in Springfield, Academy Middle School in Fitchburg and Boston English High School.

The council also is pushing extended-day programs, revised teaching standards, new elementary math and science programs, and access to additional teacher training.

“Teachers need professionally gratifying environments in which to work, and this includes access to meaningful and relevant professional development,” Anderson said.

The council has also taken a hand in seeking federal Race to the Top funding that awards states for their educational progress. Anderson sees raising the charter school cap as a route to that destination.

“Our efforts were to continue to support and fund a statewide ballot initiative that would eliminate all existing charter school caps in Massachusetts,” Anderson said.

Although Massachusetts did not win the Race to the Top grant, since 2010, Massachusetts has continuously showed growth. According to the Department of Education, students in nearly all grades showed improvement, with the exception of fifth grade, on the most recent statewide MCAS exam.

“The race to the top is a marathon, not a sprint,” Anderson said. “We have long-term and meaningful benefits for student and teachers.”

Anderson said he believes businesses should want to have a role in government. The council takes on huge responsibilities for the local and state government.

The council still lists tax reform as a priority, focusing on local and state taxes for property owners and investors. The council is producing a State Tax Competitiveness Study, to identify areas where the commonwealth stands in areas such as retaining employees and attracting new opportunities for work and investment.

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