CPS Statement on Results of New MCAS-Based Accountability System

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“It may seem reassuring that Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeff Riley says that ‘the idea behind identifying schools for targeted assistance was not intended to be punitive, but rather was an attempt to provide the support they need so students can thrive.’ Yet we know that there are not adequate resources for the state and certainly not for the districts serving our most needy students. 

So we have a new, more “challenging” and “rigorous” test-based accountability system that has identified hundreds of schools as needing targeted assistance, but not the assistance or resources they need. Whether or not this is a good way of identifying which schools do or do not need assistance is another question.

It’s past time to fund our schools and fundamentally rethink our accountability system. This “new and improved” system remains too focused on standardized test results, which are largely driven by a school’s socioeconomics. 

No doubt Commissioner Riley knows that Lawrence Public Schools have some of the brightest, most motivated and hard-working students in the Commonwealth. But many of them must take the MCAS before they’ve fully learned the English language. As the commissioner has said, it would be like any of us being dropped in China and having to take a standardized test in Mandarin.

We need less testing, more resources, more learning!”