Receivership: Latinx Schools in the Crosshairs

Save April 27, 7 to 8:30pm for a CPS event with Dr. Domingo Morel, by Zoom.

Join us to hear Domingo Morel, Ph.D., describe the ways state policies such as receivership help expand or diminish political inequality among historically marginalized populations.

Dr. Domingo Morel is the author of Takeover: Race, Education, and American Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2018), which won the W.E.B. Du Bois Distinguished Book Award. He is also co-editor, with Marion Orr, of Latino Mayors: Power and Political Change in the Postindustrial City (Temple University Press, 2018).   → Read More

MCAS graduation test puts immigrant high school students at risk

The decision by state education officials to reinstate the MCAS graduation test in the midst of the pandemic may have jeopardized the futures of thousands of Massachusetts immigrant students, according to an analysis by a retired Northeastern University professor and Citizens for Public Schools board member.

Professor Emeritus Louis Kruger, working with data from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, found that only about one quarter of English learners in 10th grade passed both the English and math MCAS tests last spring. 

In Massachusetts, students must pass both tests to get their diplomas. State officials canceled the requirement for the classes of 2021 and 2022 because of the pandemic, but reinstated it for students in the class of 2023, who were scheduled to take the graduation tests as sophomores in the spring of 2021.

“In this stressful and educationally compromised environment, it is unconscionable for state officials to cling to the MCAS graduation requirement,” said Kruger.   → Read More

What’s New in Bad Ideas from MA DESE? 

With confidence in standardized tests at a low ebb, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) proposes paying kids to care about MCAS. On Friday, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) will consider a Student Achievement Award Program, including a $25 gift certificate for high MCAS scores. This proposal has us in the field shaking our collective heads, wondering what incentive might encourage those who dreamed this up to consider the perspective of actual high-needs students. A $26 gift certificate, perhaps? 

Of the many obstacles to academic success faced by students with disabilities, English Learners, Black and Latinx students, and economically disadvantaged students, the lack of a $25 gift certificate is not on the list. In the context of the unprecedented trauma and dislocation many students have experienced and continue to experience during the pandemic, this proposal is tone deaf.

Tim Wise, a writer and parent of three Cambridge Public School graduates, asks how class dynamics will be affected when one high-scoring kid doesn’t get the recognition and cash while her classmate does because they are a SWD, economically disadvantaged, or an English learner.   → Read More

Concerns about the validity of the Spring 2021 MCAS Results

We write to communicate our concerns about the data shared by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education from the Spring 2021 MCAS testing.

Teachers, School Committees and school superintendents told state leaders last year that spring 2021 MCAS tests would be a waste of time because nothing could be learned from the scores that wasn’t already obvious. 

However, state officials insisted that it was critical to measure exactly how much learning loss COVID has inflicted on our children, and how big the famous “gaps” among groups of students have grown.Now that the scores are out, we can see that the tests failed to reach even those limited goals. Several thousand 10th grade students didn’t take the tests, along with a few thousand middle school students at each grade level. The groups most likely to skip the tests were those that scored low in the past. Those were precisely the groups that state officials said they were eager to track.   → Read More

Public Education and Race: The African American Experience

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our series “Public Education and Race: The African American Experience.” The series began with Dr. Jarvis Givens on September 30, speaking on “Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching.” Dr. Givens was followed by Dr. Theresa Perry on Saturday, October 16, on “Looking Back to Look Forward: Towards the Theory and Practice of Achievement for African American Students.” And the last lecture in the series was on October 26, with Dr. Colin Rose, creator of the Culturally Responsive Practices Leadership Academy for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). If you missed the series, you can view a recording of Dr. Givens’ presentation here and Dr. Rose’s presentation here.    → Read More