October 20, 2021

Man Fine

The Fine Art Of Education

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Vocational Education Justice Coalition

BOSTON — New state regulations around vocational school admission policies are teed up for a Tuesday vote, and advocates are calling for changes before then to address what they see as shortcomings around access and equity.

Ahead of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education vote on the regulations, the Vocational Education Justice Coalition has been meeting with board members.

Barbara Fields of the Black Educators Alliance of Massachusetts said Thursday during a virtual press conference that the coalition is trying “to appeal to their sense of fairness and justice in their decision making,” and calling on them “to remove the discriminatory barriers that have a disparate impact on students of color and other marginalized groups.”

The proposed regulations, initially presented to the board in April and then updated after a public comment period, were developed after discussions and data analysis “made clear that applying a single set of state-prescribed admissions criteria is not in the best interests of students, families and vocational schools and programs,” according to a memo to the board from Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley.