Revisiting Springfield, Massachusetts

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NCTQ recently undertook a follow-up study of teacher policies of Springfield (Massachusetts) Public Schools in at the request of the Springfield Business Leaders for Education. Our original study was a soup-to-nuts teacher policy study. This revisit focuses on the collective bargaining agreement ratified in May 2013 between the Springfield Education Association and the Springfield School Committee. 

First the good news The district and the teachers union should be commended for their commitment to improving teacher quality. The new contract highlights significant changes in the areas of compensation and work schedule, many of which are in line with previous NCTQ recommendations. Since our original study in the fall of 2011, Springfield has also benefited from changes at the state level in teacher evaluation. Similarly, state policy changes to layoffs scheduled for 2016 will also move the district forward. 

And the rest Springfield's contract, while a significant step forward, still leaves some opportunities for the future, as well as work that must be done to ensure that the new policies play out effectively. In some cases, especially those related to changes in state poilcy, it's too soon to tell whether or not changes will result in the desired outcomes. To that end, NCTQ provides revised recommendations, including recommendations on how to monitor progress of positive changes. 

Overall, we revisit 15 recommendations from our 2011 study in this paper. To see our full analysis, check out the report here.