2021-2022 CPS Accomplishments

CPS helped win significant victories in coalition with our allies, as we promoted, preserved & protected public education in three critical priority areas:

  • Citizens for Public Schools (CPS) was proud to participate in significant victories for justice, equity and education over the past two years.
  • CPS has three working groups: one focused on Testing, one on School Funding and a third on Eliminating Barriers, which is devoted to racial justice & equity and eliminating barriers to access for all students. 
  • On the testing front, we were outraged (but not surprised) that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), instead of recognizing the harm done by the MCAS graduation requirement, doubled down on this antiquated policy by raising the passing scores on the high school MCAS exams. 
  • CPS members protested this move, and we supported legislative allies – Senators Comerford and Jehlen and Rep. Hawkins – who gathered signatures on a letter to BESE and Commissioner Riley opposing this move. Though our collective efforts did not prevent BESE members from voting to make a bad policy worse, the legislative sign-on letter collected signatures from half the legislature in a matter of days. 
  • The BESE’s vote drew widespread condemnation and outrage. In its wake, CPS has expanded our Testing Working Group. With CPS Board Member Ricardo Rosa helping us lead this expanded coalition, we are working to finalize and implement a coordinated statewide campaign, with new legislation, forums, rallies, petitions, and various forms of direct action. 
  • To help answer the question, what would we do if we got rid of the high-stakes MCAS, CPS hosted a workshop in March called “Building a Better Measure of School Quality,” with Jack Schneider and Melanie Pavao of the Beyond Test Scores project. The project assists districts and schools to build fairer and more accurate, comprehensive measures of school quality and student learning. 
  • In addition to MCAS testing and the grad requirement, there’s the problem of the state accountability system, and the state’s ability to threaten and/or take over districts and schools based on MCAS scores. With the success of the Our City, Our Schools campaign to stop the state from taking over Boston Schools, the focus has shifted to the overall state takeover policy. CPS has been and will continue to work with our MA Ed Justice Alliance partners and others in the efforts to end failed state takeover policy. 
  • The Eliminating barriers working group focuses in part on the way systemic racism harms public education.
  • We host an ongoing series called Race and Public Education. Last year, we presented a three-part series on African American education. This year, the focus turned to Latinx education, including an event focused on the impact of state receivership on districts with large Latinx communities, featuring the Professor Domingo Morel. 
  • In December, we hosted the first in a three-part series on Asian Americans in Public Education. The panel of speakers offered powerful, moving and thought-provoking testimony. (Parts II and III of the series will come early in 2023.)
  • We also worked with the Vocational Education Justice Coalition, to monitor and pressure the BESE and eliminate the discriminatory student admissions policies to Massachusetts Regional Technical Vocational schools. 
  • Other ongoing areas of focus are pushing to end harsh discipline and police in schools and supporting Concerned Educators of Color in their efforts to expose and hold BPS accountable fortargeting administrators of color has promoted a district culture of silence and fear of speaking out.
  • The School Funding working group’s primary focus was engaging our members in the Fair Share campaign. Now the focus shifts to implementation and ensuring that state education funding is equitable and adequate to the vast and growing needs of our students and educators.