BOSTON – The Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) voted unanimously in favor of a ballot issue that sought to abolish the MCAS or Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exam as a requirement for high school graduation.
The long exam forces teachers to prepare their classrooms for it.
“it was a tough week every time we had to do it,” says Reva Finley-Call, who teaches in Massachusetts.
“Working in a school and watching my students struggle or you get anxious because it’s a big thing and you have to pass to pass school. Even as a student I hated standardized tests,” said Finley-Call.
But that may not be the case anymore. On Sunday, just weeks before school starts, the MTA voted to pass a November ballot question that could change MCAS requirements.
“We are a union committed to fixing a major part of what is wrong in public schools, which is this over-reliance on high-stakes testing,” said MTA President Max Page.
“What students will be judged on is successfully passing the curriculum that shows they’ve mastered our state standards. Grades in courses,” Page said.
And the ballot measure wouldn’t eliminate the test altogether — it would just eliminate the requirement that someone must meet a certain score to earn a high school diploma.
“We know that the evaluation of educators who do this work every day, who raise our children, is the best reflection of how students have done in our courses,” Page said.
The MTA board doubled access to education by voting in support of a legislative campaign to pass the Cherish Act, which includes increasing state funding in higher public education and raising wages for teachers and staff.
The MTA has until November this year to collect about 75,000 signatures. They will then submit the ballot measure to the legislature, which could immediately approve it. If not, the measure will be voted on in November 2024.
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