SECTION 1. (a) The department of elementary and secondary education shall, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, implement a 5-year pilot program to develop a process for granting educator certification that may be used as an alternative to the testing requirements in section 38G of chapter 71 of the General Laws. The program shall allow candidates for certification to earn an initial preliminary certification that may lead to permanent certification after 4 years of teaching experience during which the candidate for licensure demonstrates teacher proficiency as measured by student growth scores and other factors, as determined by the department.
(b) The alternative certification process may allow for waiver of not more than 1 of the 2 testing requirements pursuant to said section 38G of said chapter 71, per candidate, and shall include consideration of factors including, but not limited to, whether a candidate has: (i) obtained certification in another state approved by the department; (ii) demonstrated an impact on student growth when working as a certified educator outside the state; (iii) completed a satisfactory portfolio of items that may include student feedback or competency-based projects; or (iv) obtained a master’s degree or doctorate from an accredited institution, provided that the advanced degree relates to the content area for which the individual is seeking certification.
(c) The department shall limit the hiring of candidates alternatively certified pursuant to this section to those public school districts and charter schools that the department certified as having demonstrated 1 of the following characteristics: (i) a demographic disparity between the district’s student population and its teaching workforce; (ii) a shortage of teachers to serve English language learners; or (iii) a critical need, as defined by the department, to fill teacher vacancies. The department shall not allow any district to fill more than 10 per cent of its total teaching positions with educators alternatively certified.
(d) The department may use the results of the alternative assessment pilot authorized by subsection (e) of 603 CMR 7.04 to inform the development of the alternative licensure process required by this section.
(e) The department shall conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the pilot program and the use of the alternative certification process during the pilot period. The evaluation shall include: (i) a measurement of student impacts as measured by student growth and other factors; (ii) an assessment of progress made in diversifying the educator workforce, including data on the demographics of participants, hiring rates and demographics of the districts and schools where candidates were hired, aggregated evaluation ratings and retention rates; and (iii) an assessment of the impacts on candidates of diverse backgrounds.
SECTION 2. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, each school district, as defined in section 2 of chapter 70 of the General Laws, and each charter school, as defined in section 89 of chapter 71 of the General Laws, shall establish a diversity plan that conforms with the guidelines established by the department of elementary and secondary education pursuant to subsection (b). In establishing the guidelines, the department shall consult with organizations representing relevant stakeholders. Such plans shall set forth specific goals and timetables for achievement. The plans shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws and shall be updated after 3 years.
(b) To promote a racially and ethnically diverse educator workforce, the department of elementary and secondary education shall:
(i) establish guidelines for diversity plans that shall include, but not be limited to, the following goals: (A) identify and eliminate discriminatory barriers to hiring and learning in a school or district; (B) remedy the effects of past discriminatory practices; (D) identify, recruit and hire employees who are members of under-represented groups; (E) develop, promote and retain employees who are members of under-represented groups; and (F) ensure equal opportunity in employment for educators. In developing these guidelines, the department shall consult with experts and school leaders from public schools or school districts that have experienced significant increases in hiring and retaining racially and ethnically diverse educators;
(ii) establish a process for reviewing diversity plans based on clearly defined criteria. A public school district or charter school shall amend any plan deemed not to conform with the requirements of this section. A public school district or charter school 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 or in any other strategic plan developed by the district;
(iii) establish periodic reporting requirements for public school districts and charter schools concerning the implementation of their diversity 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 public school districts and charter schools in complying with their diversity plans and applicable federal and state laws; and
(v) require approved educator preparation programs to implement diversity 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.
(c) The board of elementary and secondary education shall review compliance with these diversity 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, each school district, as defined in section 2 of chapter 70 of the General Laws, and each charter school as defined in section 89 of chapter 71 of the General Laws, shall have a diversity, equity and inclusion officer or shall 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. Diversity officers and teams shall report directly to the superintendent. Diversity officers and teams shall coordinate their school district or school’s compliance with the requirements of this section and applicable federal and state laws.
(b) Each school district and charter school shall establish a process for advising the school committee or board of trustees on matters of diversity, equity and inclusion in the school district. The 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 team and the school committee or board of trustees. The school committee or board of trustees may appoint 1 of its members to serve as an ex-officio member of the educator diversity council.
(c) Pursuant to guidelines established by the department of elementary and secondary education, all superintendents, school committee members, boards of trustees, district leaders, principals and school district employees shall complete a diversity and implicit bias training course, the frequency of which shall be established by the department.
SECTION 5. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the department of elementary and secondary education shall set measurable educator diversity goals for the commonwealth and shall collect and report publicly statewide educator diversity data. The data shall be reported in an online dashboard established in consultation with the board of elementary and secondary education. The data shall include, but not be limited to, (i) the number of educators hired and retained who meet the department’s educator diversity goals; (ii) racial demographics of educators who complete Massachusetts state educator preparation programs, and (iii) teacher qualification data from school and district report cards. The department shall report on the success of the 5-year pilot program developed pursuant to section 1, diversity plans implemented pursuant to section 3 and the diversity, equity and inclusion officers or diversity teams implemented pursuant to section 4. 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 house of representatives and the senate not later than June 30.
(b) Each public school district and charter school 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 or board of trustees. The data reported pursuant to this paragraph shall include information regarding the achievement of goals set pursuant to clause (i) of subsection (b) of section 3.
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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