Less Testing, More Learning MA Campaign

testing is not teachingCitizens for Public Schools, along with teachers, parents, and other community members, has launched a statewide campaign to roll back high-stakes testing in Massachusetts.

Our supporters in the legislature have filed bills for a moratorium on high-stakes testing and to affirm the right of parents to opt their children out of these tests. 

Legislation for the 2017-2018 Session that we support:

SD.1486 – “An Act strengthening and investing in our educators, students and communities – Sponsored by Senator Mike Rush and 102 other legislators. SD.1486. (Click here for the text of the bill):

  1. Updates the Foundation Budget (Chapter 70 Education Aid) formula based on the recommendations of the bi-partisan Foundation Budget Review Commission (2015). This overdue update of the formula, which dates to 1993, increases funding to help schools meet the needs of all students. Increases would take effect in 2019, after passage of the Fair Share Constitutional Amendment, which earmarks nearly $2 billion in new revenues for public education and transportation.
  1. Places a moratorium on the high stakes uses of state standardized tests, including rating teachers based on student performance. Standardized test overuse and misuse have hurt our most vulnerable students, focusing students on passing tests, rather than learning, educators on teaching to the test, rather than good teaching, and our schools on meeting state requirements that don’t measure what parents and communities value in education. The bill provides a three-year pause on the high-stakes use of standardized tests, while a broad-based Commission examines how to design an accountability and assessment system that supports, rather than undermines, struggling schools.
  1. Mandates daily recess for students K through 5th Grade, at least 20 minutes. Recess is one of many important programs that have been eliminated or reduced by over-testing.
  1. Supports English Language Learners by giving school districts flexibility to provide English language programs that fit their students best, rather than being limited to the one-size-fits-all sheltered English Immersion program mandated by current law.

HD.3426 – An Act clarifying parental rights in the administration of standardized tests. Sponsored by Rep. Liz Malia – Clarifies current law that parents have the right to opt their children out of certain testing requirements, and sets out protections to ensure that parents may exercise these important parental rights. Click here for the text of the bill.

SD.1905 – An Act modernizing the foundation budget for the 21st century, filed by Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz – Similar language to SD.1486 (above) on updating the foundation budget. Click here for the text of the bill.

HD.3587 – An Act to place a moratorium on high stakes testing, filed by Rep. Marjorie Decker. Similar language to SD.1486 (above) on a moratorium on high stakes testing. 

We have more information on at our page, CPS Priority Legislation 2017-18


Both state teachers unions, FairTest,  and the Black Educators Alliance of Massachusetts are part of our  campaign, along with parent groups, school committee members, superintendents, and principals.


Get Involved with our Campaigns!

  • Click here for a downloadable version of our Opt-Out House Party Guide!
  • Read about why it’s time to stop ‘high-stakes’ testing, here.
  • Download our fact sheet on opting out of testing, here. (For a Spanish language version, click here.)
  • Click here to read a fact check by CPS and FairTest of MA Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester’s claims about high-stakes standardized testing.
  • Sign our Less Testing, More Learning petition.
  • Like our Facebook page and ask your friends to like it.
  • Follow us on Twitter: LTML@MoreLearningMA.
  • If you can help organize a group in your community, lobby your legislator, speak at a hearing on our bills, write a letter to the editor, or help in other ways, email lesstestingmorelearning@gmail.com.
  • Find our Less Testing, More Learning flyer for downloading and printing, here.
  • Menos Exámenes, Más Aprendizaje, información en español, aqui. (Thanks to Christine Langhoff for translating.)
  • Join Cambridge, Worcester, Greenfield, Arlington and other communities in passing a resolution in support of a moratorium on high-stakes testing. For more information and a model resolution, click here.
  • Read “What Everyone Should Know About the Massachusetts’ High Stakes Testing Diploma Requirement,” here.

Additional Information

  • Massachusetts Professors, Researchers call for end to high-stakes testing. Read the statement here.
  • Jesse’s Journey: Watch CPS Board Member Louis Kruger’s documentary on the inspiring actions of Jesse Hagopian and other teachers in Seattle, who fought and won a battle against high-stakes testing. Click here to watch the video.
  • Want to learn about a better way to assess students? Watch this video from CPS’s conference on alternative assessments.
  • To see sample MCAS test items, visit this page 
  • More on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), here.
  • An Oakland teacher wrote about Pres. Obama’s comments on high-stakes testing in Education Week, here.