MASSACHUSETTS — The following is a statement from Maureen Lynch, President-Elect of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators and Whittier Tech Superintendent regarding proposed amendments to vocational technical education regulations, specifically admissions practices, made by Commissioner of Education Jeffrey Riley.
“Equity, access and diversity are values closely linked to the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators and its membership. As educators and administrators in career and technical education (CTE) we know the value of vocational education. Our members have worked hard to share and discuss best practices for admissions policies that are equitable and that promote diversity and inclusion. We have also valued the opportunity to have a dialogue regarding these matters with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
“The proposed policy amendments by DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley are part of a multifaceted, ongoing effort by all stakeholders involved in CTE to ensure every student, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, or any other demographic, who wants to attend a career and technical education program has equal access and the opportunity to do so.
“We value the commissioner’s specification in his memorandum regarding these amendments that districts should be able to develop their own, data-informed admissions policies promoting equitable access while still being held fully accountable to DESE, as our districts, programs, resources and sending communities vary widely and each district needs the autonomy to determine how it can best serve those communities.
“DESE and the Baker-Polito Administration have been tremendously supportive of expanding CTE opportunities in Massachusetts, which we believe is another crucial aspect of ensuring equity– there aren’t enough seats in our schools and programs to begin with.
“We also look forward to building and accelerating local partnerships to inform parents about opportunities in our schools and engage industry leaders to identify more avenues for students to gain experience, learn and potentially seek job placement.
“This is a nuanced, complex issue that continues to evolve and we look forward to next week’s Board of Education meeting and continuing these critical conversations in each district’s community so that we can work together on behalf of all young people in the Commonwealth.”
Commissioner Riley will present the amendment to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on Tuesday, April 20. To view the agenda and Commissioner Riley’s amendment, click here.