Less Testing Group to Ed Commissioner: “Does Anti-Bullying Policy Still Stand?”

The Less Testing, More Learning coalition has called on Massachusetts Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester to denounce the bullying or punishing of students who opt out of the MCAS.

The coalition’s call followed a letter from Commissioner Chester to school leaders that struck a significantly different tone than was communicated by him on the same subject in January 2016.

Most notably absent from Chester’s recent letter was anti-bullying language that had been included in 2016 instructions to school leaders on the MCAS, saying that students should not be pressured or punished if they declined to take the test.

In 2016, Chester told superintendents to try to persuade students to take the MCAS, but if they refused, “We ask principals and test proctors to handle refusals with sensitivity. Students should not be pressured to take the test, nor should they be punished for not taking the test.” [The memo is here.]

This week, he sent new instructions for handling opt-outs.   → Read More

CPS Supports 2017-18 MA Bills to Fund Our Schools and Stop Overtesting Our Students

Citizens for Public Schools supports a number of bills filed for the 2017-18 Massachusetts legislative session that address school funding, high-stakes testing, accountability, privatization and other issues. Click here to read summaries of the bills we support and oppose.    → Read More

Postponed by Snow! New Date, Wed. March 15: The Schools Our Communities Deserve

I hope to see all of our Brookline friends and neighbors this Thursday at “The Schools Our Communities Deserve,” All Saints Church, 1773 Beacon St. (at Dean Road), 6:30 to 8:30 pm. It’s going to be an engaging and important conversation about public education in our community, with music, food and excellent speakers, including MTA President Barbara Madeloni and Ricardo Rosa, professor of education at University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth!   → Read More

Sharon Less Testing, More Learning Group Wins School Committee Support

10407784_666159553483801_8166055092140174334_nSharon Parents & Teachers for Less Testing, More Learning won the support of their School Committee for a resolution against tying teacher evaluation to student test scores. It’s posted on the CPS here. Ask your School Committee to pass a similar resolution! The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has scheduled a vote on this issue Feb. 28.

    → Read More

People Power Trounces Big, Dark Money, as Question 2 Suffers Decisive Defeat

By Lisa Guisbond

Question 2’s defeat was a victory for public education and for the power of educating the public about charter schools. The Save Our Public Schools campaign’s message, disseminated by an army of teachers, parents, grandparents and students, proved more compelling than the false narrative carried on a huge wave of out-of-state dark money, the most ever spent on a Massachusetts ballot initiative. The margin of defeat was a decisive 62 to 38 percent.

The yes side, backed by Wall Street, hedge funders and other wealthy backers of “education reform,” spent twice as much as the no side on TV ads. The “No on 2” team, in contrast, invested in building a grass roots movement that made more than 1.5 million voter contacts in doors knocked and phone calls made, as well as many other one-to-one conversations with family, friends and neighbors. All told, the yes side spent almost $26 million to the no side’s $14.5 million.   → Read More