Massachusetts Organization for Educational Collaboratives

Challenge

The Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives (MOEC) is the professional organization representing the Commonwealth’s educational collaborative, serves as the voice of its members and works to develop a full appreciation for and understanding of educational collaboratives at the state, regional, and local levels.

Educational collaboratives have made a profound impact on the lives of students in every city and town in Massachusetts by providing school districts often struggling for professional development resources with the support they need.  Educational collaboratives are critical to special needs children and their families because they pool district resources to offer these students the best education possible, while offering schools districts significant cost savings. Recently, a scandal engulfed one of its members and the public outcry over the misappropriation of tax dollars caused the media and the legislature to assail the governance standards and best practices of educational collaboratives, some going so far as to question the existence of the entire system.

With this issue being widely covered in the news and Governor Patrick, Auditor Bump, and House and Senate leadership calling for greater oversight of educational collaboratives, MOEC engaged O'Neill and Associates for public relations and government relations services in order to act quickly to develop succinct and compelling messages, build relationships on Beacon Hill and tell the collaboratives’ success stories through the media. This allowed MOEC to reach its audience outside of the frame of scandal directly and provided coverage for elected officials by building support among their constituents.

Solution

O’Neill and Associates guided MOEC through numerous oversight hearings, navigated the extensive legislative process and gave them the opportunity to share with the administration and the legislature the important work collaboratives do. Through media outreach, statements and op-ed and letter to the editor placements, MOEC effectively demonstrated the excellent work the collaboratives do on behalf of students, parents, and school districts across the Commonwealth and provided documentation to their value, both monetary and practicality, to our school districts.

Results

Recently, Governor Patrick signed legislation that provides for greater oversight of collaboratives, but also strengthens their ability to serve students, parents, and school districts.  In fact, many of the new regulations were based on reforms that MOEC had been seeking and suggested as part of an education reform commission in 2010.  Collaboratives throughout the Commonwealth emerged from the process with a clear understanding of reporting expectations and are embracing the increased transparency and accountability that the legislation calls for.

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