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 additional process for granting educator certification that may be used as an alternative to the testing requirements contained in this section. 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 or competency-based projects; or obtained a master’s degree or doctorate from an accredited institution. 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) To promote a diverse educator workforce, the department shall:
(i) Establish guidelines for plans to increase racial and ethnic diversity among teaching, administration and staff positions in public schools and districts. These guidelines shall include, at a minimum, recommended policies designed to help schools or districts: (1) identify and eliminate discriminatory barriers to hiring and learning in a school or district; (2) remedy the effects of past discriminatory practices; (3) identify, recruit, and hire employees who are members of under-represented groups; (4) develop, promote, and retain employees who are members of under-represented groups; and (5) ensure equal opportunity in employment for educators. In developing these guidelines, the department shall consult with experts and school leaders from public schools or districts that have experienced significant increases in hiring and retaining racially and ethnically diverse educators.
Each public school or district shall set a corresponding policy that conforms with the department's guidelines. 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 3 years.
(ii) Establish a process for reviewing plans based on clearly defined criteria. A public school or district shall amend any plan deemed not to conform with the requirements of this section. A public school or 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.
(iii) Establish periodic reporting requirements for schools and districts concerning the implementation of their plans and all actions taken to ensure compliance with this section and applicable state and federal laws. These reporting requirements shall be incorporated into existing reporting mechanisms and schedules where feasible.
(iv) Assist schools and districts in complying with their plans and applicable federal and state laws.
(v) Require approved educator preparation programs to implement plans to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of program completers. These plans shall be required as part of the educator preparation program approval process and the department shall make each program’s plan publicly available. The department shall establish guidelines for educator preparation program diversity plans.
(b) The board of elementary and secondary education shall review compliance with these plans and policies on a regular basis and may provide further recommendations regarding educator diversity.
SECTION 3. Section 18 of Chapter 74, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking the first paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-
The state board shall establish basic competency-based vocational-technical teacher training standards which shall serve as the fundamental, pedagogical requirements for beginning vocational-technical instructors. The board shall further require that all persons seeking to meet the board's requirements shall have successfully passed performance and written tests in areas as determined by the board or shall have satisfied alternative measures of proficiency established by the board and shall have successfully completed an approved seminar on teaching skills and methods.
SECTION 4. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the department shall set measurable educator diversity goals for the state and collect and report publicly statewide educator diversity data. The data shall be reported in an online dashboard created in consultation with the board of elementary and secondary education. The data shall include but not be limited to the hiring and retention of diverse educators, the racial demographics of educators who complete Massachusetts 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.
(b) Each public school or district shall collect and report educator diversity data publicly in a manner prescribed by the department; provided that the department shall utilize existing reporting mechanisms and schedules to collect educator diversity data and outcomes and shall annually present both to the school committee. The data reported pursuant to this paragraph shall include information regarding the achievement of goals set pursuant to subsection (a)(i) of section 38G ¾ of chapter 71 of the General Laws.
SECTION 5. (a) Each public school or district shall appoint or hire a diversity, equity, and inclusion officer(s) or establish a diversity team, referred to in this section as a diversity officer or team. The role and responsibilities of a diversity officer or team may be assigned to an existing school employee or existing school entity. A diversity officer or team 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 a district have a diversity officer or team already in place, that shall satisfy the requirement of this section.
(c) Each public school or district shall establish a process for advising the school committee or board of trustees on matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the school district. This process may include establishing an educator diversity council consisting of educators, administrators, and students, which shall meet regularly with the superintendent or the diversity officer or teams and the school committee or board of trustees. The school committee or board of trustees may appoint a member of the committee to serve as an ex-officio member of the educator diversity council.
(d) Pursuant to guidelines established by the department, all superintendents, school committee members, district leaders, principals and school district employees shall attend annual diversity and implicit bias training.
SECTION 6. The board of elementary and secondary education shall promulgate rules and regulations to implement the requirements of this act. Such regulations shall include a schedule for public schools and districts to meet the planning and reporting requirements of this act, provided that such schedule shall prioritize implementation for schools and districts that have significant disparities between educator and student demographics, according to race and ethnicity.
SECTION 7. The department of elementary and secondary education shall establish an educator diversity grant program, subject to appropriation, which shall provide grants to assist public schools and districts with the establishment of programs to increase educator diversity. Grant funds may be used for purposes including but not limited to the development, in collaboration with institutions of higher education, of in-house teacher residency programs or pathways focused on recruiting, developing, and supporting educators who are members of under-represented groups. This grant program will also support other promising practices to increase the recruitment and retention of diverse educators. The department shall periodically report to the joint committee on education and the house and senate committees on ways and means on the impact of the grant program, including the expenditure of funds by schools and an analysis of the types of programs or initiatives created by said funds.
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