Progress! Boston Moves toward Racial Justice & Equity, Changes Boston Exam School Admissions

On October 21, in a step toward racial and educational justice, the Boston School Committee voted unanimously in favor of a proposal to drop the entrance exam used for admission to the district’s three selective public schools. NAACP Boston Branch President Tanisha Sullivan, who helped draft the proposal, read from a statement by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Kendi wrote, “…we know a policy is creating more equal opportunity if it is closing racial and economic inequity. We know a policy is not creating equal opportunity if it is maintaining racial and economic inequity. And the data is indisputable on the effects of this plan: it will close racial and economic gaps.” (Dr. Kendi’s entire statement is powerful, illuminating and worth reading!)

CPS was proud to join with 12 civil rights, education justice, and community organizations in support of the Exam School Admission Criteria Working Group’s admissions proposal for the 2021-2022 school year.   → Read More

Ask your legislators to support MCAS moratorium legislation

Enough is enough: NOW is the time for a moratorium on the high-stakes MCAS!

With widespread protests against racist policies and institutions, it’s time to face how MCAS worsens education inequities. MCAS has not furthered equity and racial justice in our public schools. Instead, the record shows that many students and schools have been deeply harmed by MCAS testing.

Help us end high-stakes MCAS testing in Massachusetts so we can focus on students’ real needs, including racial justice, health, well being and a whole child education! We can and must do better than a system that has done nothing to improve school quality or close gaps in opportunity after more than 20 years. On the contrary, many students and schools have been deeply harmed by the racially biased MCAS. (To learn more about why it’s time for an MCAS moratorium, read our new report, MCAS is the Wrong Answer.   → Read More

CPS Report: MCAS is the Wrong Answer

The Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 (MERA) substantially increased state financial contributions to public education in exchange for increased state control. It brought a narrow student assessment system based upon a single set of standardized tests. The tests were used as the foundation of an accountability system for evaluating students, schools and districts.

In the years since, the Massachusetts’ accountability system has been hailed a success. But are the claims valid? Our comprehensive review of a wide array of evidence shows that the MCAS has failed to advance equity and racial justice in our public schools, and instead has been associated with several major disadvantages for historically underserved groups. This issue has particular urgency because of the potential of the COVID-19 pandemic to further exacerbate inequities that already exist in our state’s public education system.

Our conclusions and the evidence for them can be found in our new report, MCAS is the Wrong Answer: Six Ways High-Stakes Testing Has Failed Students and What to Do Now.   → Read More

Healing our Students and Schools: A Community Conversation to Resist High-Stakes Testing and Reclaim Public Education

We are enormously grateful to our wonderful speakers and everyone who was able to join us and participate in our Virtual Town Hall Wednesday, June 10. We know not everyone who registered was able to attend, so we are glad to provide the recording, which includes the powerful presentations of Moderator Drew King, Ricardo Rosa, Ayesha Wilson, Beth Kontos and Freddie Fernandez. (Speaker Natalia Cuadra-Saez was unfortunately unable to join us.)

Click here to read the full text of Ricardo Rosa’s comments, “How high-stakes testing is like domestic abuse.”

   → Read More

From grief and rage to action against systemic racism

We of Citizens for Public Schools share an overwhelming grief and rage at the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. These feelings are layered on top of our grief and rage for all those men and women of color before them who have died or been brutalized by police officers. We stand with our Black brothers and sisters and those of every race and creed who are raising their voices, rallying, marching and standing vigil to say, again and again, that Black Lives Matter

We join in the rising chorus of “Not one more!”

And we know that if we are going to make Black Lives Matter once and for all, we must address the systemic racism and white supremacy that infects and sickens all our institutions. We support demands and efforts to end police brutality and the injustices in the criminal justice system that result in wholesale warehousing of Black men and women in our prisons.    → Read More

Healing Our Students and Schools: A Community Conversation to Resist High-Stakes Testing and Reclaim Public Education

Wednesday, June 10th, 7pm, by Zoom

For nearly 30 years, we have lived under an MCAS-driven education system that ignores child development, narrows the curriculum, is harmful to student health and wellness, and most reliably tells about students’ wealth and address. With the COVID-19 crisis, public education is at a crossroads, with privatizers and testing companies vying to capitalize on this crisis to reinvent public schools in their own image. 

Meanwhile, students, teachers, school nurses, guidance counselors, parents, and school board members are uniting to reclaim our schools. We are working toward a just recovery in education that halts the damaging high-stakes standardized tests, emphasizes racial justice, and puts the health, happiness, and well-being of every child at the center of learning now and in the post-pandemic era. 

   → Read More

In Memory of José Soler

Our dear friend and CPS board member Jose Soler passed away last night. My heart is heavy with this news, but I am grateful to have had the privilege to know and work with Jose for all these years.

Jose had a huge heart, a vigorous mind and a wide-ranging vision that allowed him to work fiercely and effectively in his community of New Bedford while also making connections to national and global struggles, including and especially in his beloved Puerto Rico.

What this pandemic has made so achingly clear is that when one of us is hurting, we are all hurting. Jose always knew that in his heart and soul, and he crafted his life based on that knowledge.

He will be missed by CPS, in New Bedford, by his fellow activists across the U.S., in his beloved Puerto Rico and by the world. Rest in power, dear Jose. – Lisa Guisbond   → Read More

Information for families and educators during the COVID-19 Shutdown

Food for families during the school shutdown

  • Project Bread and the Department of Early and Secondary Education have partnered to map and share information on what different school districts are doing in terms of meal options for students. Read more here.

General education and distance learning links

  • MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Remote Learning Guidance, released March 26, 2020 and supported by teachers unions, administrators, school committees and charter schools. Read more here.
  • The MA Department of elementary and Secondary Education has compiled links to educational resources for families to continue learning while schools are closed. They include resources on English, math, science, social studies, arts, as well as links geared to English language learners and students with disabilities. Read more here.
  • WGBH distance learning center offers information for educators and families aligned with the PBS LearningMedia resources: Read more here.
  • Also from PBS, distance learning tips from one teacher to another.
   → Read More