CPS Calls on DESE to Hold 10th Graders Harmless from Flawed MCAS Exam Results

CPS Executive Director Lisa Guisbond’s public comments, delivered at the April 23, 2019 Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Meeting.

An MCAS question on the 10th grade ELA exam caused enough consternation and trauma to students of color (and other students) that some students and teachers courageously spoke up, despite a gag rule put in place to protect the tests, not the students.

Commissioner Riley, to his credit, withdrew the question when it came to light (again, thanks to the students), but more needs to be done.

After all, research shows that when faced with a racially biased question, students of color are likely to be thrown off and do worse on the whole test than they would otherwise have done.

According to the American Psychological Association, researchers Steele, Aronson, and Spencer, found that even passing reminders that someone belongs to one group or another, such as a group stereotyped as inferior in academics, can wreak havoc with test performance.   → Read More

CPS Calls on MA DESE to Remove Misleading Information on MCAS Participation Immediately

With MCAS testing season upon us, Citizens for Public Schools calls on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to immediately delete misinformation on its web site and provide clear, consistent and accurate information to parents who choose to refuse testing for their children and to school officials charged with administering the test.

Specifically, we demand that DESE remove language falsely implying that it is illegal for students and/or their parents to refuse to participate in MCAS testing. On a page titled Participation Requirements for Students in Grades 3-8 and 10, it says: “The 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Law, state law M. G. L. Chapter 69, section 1I, mandates that all students in the tested grades who are educated with Massachusetts public funds participate in MCAS.”

This is not accurate.

The law requires the state to administer the test. There is no mention of students being mandated to take it.   → Read More

CPS Honors Three Champions of Education Justice

Congratulations to our honorees! Champions for Education Justice: Rev. Willie Bodrick II, Catari Giglio, Barbara Madeloni. And thanks to all the CPS members and friends who joined us last night at the 2019 CPS Annual Meeting to help us honor them. It was truly an inspiring and energizing night to fuel our spirits for the Fund Our Future fight ahead!   → Read More

It’s Time to Fund Our Future!

I was thrilled to join students, parents, educators and civil rights leaders to officially launch the campaign to #FundOurFuture on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at the Massachusetts State House. 

CPS is part of a new and growing coalition with a simple, clear message: It’s time for Governor Baker and the legislature to make it their top priority to reinvest $1.5 billion a year in public education, from pre-K through higher education. We expect this coalition to expand; founding members include American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, Boston Teachers Union, Citizens for Public Schools, FairTest, Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance, Massachusetts Jobs With Justice, Massachusetts Teachers Association, NAACP New England Area Conference, and PHENOM (Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts).

As I told Masslive, “We’re basically just calling on legislators to keep their promise to cherish our public schools and fund them adequately.”

Click here to read summaries of the two Fund Our Future-backed bills, one for K-12 and the other for higher education.   → Read More

Do you know where the two candidates for governor stand on education?

The next governor of Massachusetts will have great influence on the health and well being of our public schools through choices on funding, privatization, assessment and accountability. He will also influence K-12 policy through appointments to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.


He will also make appointments to the Supreme Judicial Court. The court’s ruling that the state’s system of funding schools was unconstitutional forced a major increase in state aid for low-income communities in 1993. A very different court this year kept the “millionaire’s tax” off the ballot.


Do you know where the two candidates stand on education? CPS considers it an important part of our mission to educate the public about public education, so we devote this edition of “News You Can Use About Our Schools” to summarizing the two candidates’ positions on three aspects of public education. (Note: CPS does not endorse candidates for public office.)   → Read More