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Education Committee hearing January 31

On Tuesday, January 31, beginning at 1 p.m. in Room B-2 at the State House in Boston, the Joint Committee on Education will be hearing the following bills of interest to MTA members:

H. 1073 – Amending Certain Provisions of the English Immersion Law

Filed by Rep. Alice Wolf (D-Cambridge) for the MTA.  This bill repeals the provision of the English immersion law that allows teachers and local school officials to be personally sued for violations of the new law; and, the bill allows any child to be part of an alternative course of language study, if the child's principal and teachers believe the alternative course would be better for the child.

H. 1199 – Improving Quality Physical Education

Filed by Rep. Stephen LeDuc (D-Marlborough). This bill would reestablish physical education as a required subject in grades K-12, providing that physical education shall not be less than 150 minutes per week at the elementary level and 225 minutes per week in middle and high school.  Coursework would be regulated under the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and all courses would be required to be taught by certified physical education teachers.

H. 1219 – Establishing the Massachusetts Wireless Learning Project in the Commonwealth Schools

Filed by former Representative Peter Larkin (D-Pittsfield).  This bill, filed by the B.E.S.T. (Business and Education for Schools and Technology) coalition, of which MTA is a member, will bring wireless learning devices to every teacher and student in 15 middle schools around the state over several years.  Proposed amendments to the bill would add requirements for better professional development for the initiative, as well as maintenance, technical and instructional support, and coordination.  The bill is considered to be a first step for a statewide wireless learning initiative.

H. 1641  - Providing Health Education in Schools

Filed by Rep. Alice Wolf (D-Cambridge).

S. 102 – Providing Health Education in Schools

Filed by Senator Joan Menard (D-Somerset). These bills, which are identical in language, would include health education as part of the core curriculum.  This simple change would ensure that all students in every public school in the Commonwealth would have access to a comprehensive health education, as defined by the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework.  For more information about these bills or if you are interested in testifying at the hearing, please contact Julie Johnson, MTA's Governmental Services Division, jjohnson@massteacher.org, or 617-878-8315.