SECTION 1. Section 38G of chapter 71 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after paragraph 13, ending with the words “approved provisional educator preparation program”, the following paragraph:-
The department shall, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, develop an alternative process for granting educator licensure. This process shall include consideration of factors such as whether a candidate has: obtained certification in another state approved by the department; completed a satisfactory portfolio of items that may include student feedback, competency-based projects, or educator evaluations; or obtained a master’s degree or doctorate. The department may use the results of the alternative assessment pilot authorized by 603 CMR 7.04(e) to inform the development of the alternative licensure process required by this paragraph. The department shall conduct an annual evaluation of the alternative licensure process to determine its effects on candidates of diverse backgrounds. This section shall take effect no later than June 1, 2024.
SECTION 2. Said chapter 71 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 38G ½ the following section:-
Section 38G ¾ (a) There shall be established within the department of elementary and secondary education a Center for Strategic Initiatives, referred to in this section as the office, which shall be headed by a designee of the commissioner of elementary and secondary education, referred to in this section as the director. The director shall have the authority to:
(i) Establish guidelines for affirmative action and diversity plans to recruit, retain, and advance diverse candidates for teaching and staff positions. Each district and school committee shall set a corresponding policy and measurable goals that conform with the intent of the department's guidelines. A school district may satisfy the requirements of this subsection if it has prioritized teacher diversity in its 3-year plan required by section 1S of chapter 69 of the General Laws, as amended by chapter 132 of the acts of 2019, or in any other strategic plan developed by the school district.
(ii) Review all such plans and approve, amend, or deny them based on clearly defined criteria.
(iii) Establish periodic reporting requirements for school districts concerning the implementation of their plans and all actions taken to ensure compliance with this section and applicable state and federal laws.
(iv) Assist school districts in complying with their plans and applicable federal and state laws.
(b) The office shall promulgate guidelines establishing a complaint resolution process for individuals who allege noncompliance by school districts with applicable federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination. In instances where this process does not resolve the complaint, the director of the office may refer to the Massachusetts commission against discrimination or any information concerning conduct that the director believes may constitute a violation of the law.
(c) The Massachusetts commission against discrimination shall initiate investigations and, where necessary, file complaints against school districts or persons whom the commission has reason to believe are discriminating against public educator candidates based on race or ethnicity.
(d) In performing their responsibilities under this section, the office and the Massachusetts commission against discrimination shall have the full cooperation of all state agencies and school districts, including compliance with all requests for information.
(e) The board of elementary and secondary education shall review compliance with these plans and policies on a regular basis and will provide further recommendations to advance the educator diversity goals of the department.
SECTION 3: Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the department shall collect and report publicly statewide educator diversity data and set measurable educator diversity goals for the state. The data shall be reported in an online dashboard created in consultation with the board of elementary and secondary education and the educator diversity commission. The data shall include but not be limited to the hiring and retention of diverse educators, the racial demographics of educators who complete in state educator preparation programs, and teacher qualification data from school and district report cards. The department shall report annually to the board of elementary and secondary education on state educator diversity data and goals. The department shall also submit a report on the state of educator diversity to the clerks of the senate and house of representatives no later than June 30th on an annual basis. Each public school district shall report its educator diversity data and goals publicly and shall annually present both to the school committee.
SECTION 4: (a) Each school district shall appoint or hire a diversity, equity, and inclusion officer(s) or establish diversity teams, referred to in this section as diversity officers or teams. Diversity officers or teams shall report directly to the superintendent. Diversity officers or teams shall coordinate their school district’s compliance with the requirements of this section and applicable federal and state laws. Should the district have an individual diversity officer or team already in place, that shall satisfy the requirement of this section.
(b) Each school district shall develop and implement affirmative action and diversity plans and set measurable goals to: (1) identify and eliminate discriminatory barriers to hiring and learning in their school district; (2) remedy the effects of past discriminatory practices; (3) identify, recruit, hire, develop, promote, and retain employees who are members of under-represented groups; and (4) ensure diversity and equal opportunity in all facets, terms, and conditions of employment for educators. A district shall be deemed to have satisfied the requirements of this section if it has prioritized diversity in its 3-year plan required by section 1S of chapter 69 of the General Laws, as amended by chapter 132 of the acts of 2019, or in any other strategic plan developed by the district. Such plans shall set forth specific goals and timetables for achievement, shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws, and shall be updated, at a minimum, every 2 years.
(c) Each school district shall establish an educator diversity council which shall consist of educators, administrators, and students, who shall meet regularly with the Superintendent or the diversity officer or teams and will serve as an advisory council of the school committee to address matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the district. The school committee may appoint a member of the committee to serve as an ex-officio member of the educator diversity council.
(d) Through the diversity officers or teams, and in compliance with the reporting guidelines and requirements established by the Center for Strategic Initiatives, each school district shall submit periodic reports to the director of the office concerning the status and implementation of their affirmative action and diversity plans.
(e) Pursuant to guidelines established by the Center for Strategic Initiatives, all superintendents, school committee members, district leaders, principals and school district employees shall attend mandatory annual diversity training. Such training shall be mandatory for employees hired by a school district after the effective date of this act.
(f) To ensure that districts are using the best diversity enhancing strategies for hiring and promoting new leaders, all individuals involved in the hiring or promotion process shall receive implicit bias training prior to the commencement of the hiring or promotion process.
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