Senate lawmakers set to debate on future of MCAS

BOSTON — As school districts across the state finalize re-entry plans for students and educators, Senate lawmakers are set to debate whether the MCAS requirement should be considered in those plans.

“If we truly have a trauma informed lens to our work, suspending the MCAS which is truly a school accountability measure, more than a students accountability measure, is the wisest thing to do right now,” said Malden teacher, Jessica Gold Boots.

Lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Education accepted written testimony on a bill that would suspend state standardized testing requirements for four years.

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Bill author, Northampton Senator Joanne Comerford told Boston 25 the measure would suspend the ”high stakes use” of standardized test scores as a condition for high school graduation, educator assessment and school accountability.

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It would also ask the state dept of education to apply for a federal waiver so federal money connected to testing wouldn’t be jeopardized.

”In so many ways it’s a very pragmatic bill. Right? It says of course we need federal money and simply we don’t need added burden at a really overly burdened time,“” said Comerford.

Under the bill, starting in the fall of 2020, MCAS scores could not be used as a condition for high school graduation, educator assessment or school accountability.

Educators and parents tell Boston 25 it’s unfair to require students take the test while the state is still figuring out what learning will look like in the fall and argue, students are still dealing with trauma from the pandemic.

”It’s not the front of mind thing for parents. Front of mind for parents right now is september and safety,“ said Boston parent Vernee Wilkinson.

The deadline for written testimony is 5 p.m. Monday.

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