MCAS grad test puts the squeeze on our students’ high school education 

MCAS defenders say the graduation requirement provides a standard, objective measure of achievement. 
Public education advocates say the MCAS graduation requirement distorts and narrows high school education. It leads to dull test prep instead of teaching students problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking, and real-world skills. 

MCAS defenders say MCAS shines a light on inequity.
Public education advocates say the ballot question doesn’t eliminate MCAS, just its use as a graduation requirement. MCAS scores are linked to parental income and education levels, opportunity gaps that educators and families already know exist. The MCAS graduation requirement has failed to address the unequal opportunities driving the test score gap. By disproportionately punishing high-needs students and schools, it widens educational gaps between the haves and have nots. 

MCAS defenders say we’re not doing students any favors by letting them graduate without passing a test.

Public education advocates say “low-stakes” testing — not tied to grades or the ability to graduate — is more effective for evaluating students and for identifying educational deficits.   → Read More

Join us to celebrate these Unsung Heroes of Public Education

Save the date and join us on Thursday, December 14, at 7pm by Zoom for Citizens for Public Schools’ Annual Meeting. Help us honor and celebrate three groups of Unsung Heroes of Public Education: the New Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools, the Concerned Educators of Color, and three extraordinary bloggers and podcasters – Jack Schneider, Jennifer Berkshire and Maurice Cunningham.

To register, learn more about our unsung heroes and see what’s on the agenda for our annual meeting, click here.   → Read More

The MCAS, Dropouts and Tortured Logic


Proponents of the MCAS graduation requirement have shared high school dropout data intended to show that the requirement is not a major obstacle to obtaining a diploma. However, they both omitted important data and erroneously interpreted other data. A clear-eyed review of a wider swath of evidence revealed a very different picture. This evidence indicated that (1) the graduation requirement has caused some historically underserved students to drop out; (2) students who failed the 10th grade MCAS were 17 times more likely to drop out than their peers who passed the exams; and (3) the dropout rate for students failing the MCAS has increased from 15 percent in 2015 to 18 percent in 2019.

Massachusetts goes to considerable expense and effort to collect data on MCAS results and dropout rates. Data can be used selectively to bolster or undermine a policy. So, what do the data actually show about the connection between the high-stakes MCAS and dropout rates?   → Read More

Come to a gala celebration of CPS’s 40+ years of education justice work!

Please register today and join us on Thursday, October 19, at 7pm (by Zoom), for a virtual party to celebrate more than 40 years of education justice work, to honor the many people who have been part of CPS, and to look ahead at our challenges and opportunities. Our special guest will be Congressman Jamaal Bowman, an educator and champion of education justice. Click on the button below to register and learn more about the event.

   → Read More

CPS testimony supporting H.525: “An Act to ensure educational rights are upheld for incarcerated youth”

Testimony to the Joint Committee on Education in Support of H.515

June 6, 2023 

Dear Chair Garlick, Chair Lewis, and members of the Joint Committee on Education,

Thank you for the opportunity to submit this testimony in support of “An Act to ensure educational rights are upheld for incarcerated youth” (H.515). I am Lisa Guisbond, Executive Director of Citizens for Public Schools, a statewide public education advocacy organization. CPS’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect public schools and public education. We also work to further education justice and to expose and dismantle barriers to educational opportunity and equity. 

On behalf of our Board of Directors, I am writing to enthusiastically support this bill’s goal of ensuring that youth, age 18-22, incarcerated in adult correctional facilities, have access to the educational services they need and to which they are legally entitled. This includes high school, special education, higher education and/or vocational education.    → Read More