Sign CPS Petition to Stop History MCAS

Dear Governor Patrick and Secretary Reville,

As concerned parents, teachers, students and other members of the community, we the undersigned ask that you reconsider implementing the Social Studies MCAS graduation requirement recently endorsed by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Since the state education budget is being cut, the $ 2.5 million per year or more that it would cost to administer a Social Studies MCAS will have to come from something else. What does the state plan to cut in order to administer this test? The money should instead be allocated to serve real educational needs, such as well-trained and supported teachers and staff, up-to-date textbooks, libraries, well-maintained buildings and classrooms, and much more. What students do not need is one more standardized test.

We believe that the close vote on the Board, as well as the worsening budget crisis that compels us to make wise choices with scarce education dollars, strengthens our request that you overturn the decision to impose yet another test-based graduation requirement on our children. Indeed, our school districts face a much worse fiscal crisis now than in 2009, when it was decided to delay the history MCAS for budgetary reasons.

Most importantly, we believe history is a particularly difficult subject to assess adequately with a primarily multiple-choice exam. This exam will discourage thoughtful study in favor of test-prep drilling that has been shown to disengage students and undermine the quality of the curriculum. We want our children to learn research and critical thinking skills, be able to make meaning from history, and to have classes that will inspire them to study history after they graduate from high school.

This expensive test will not deepen the educational experience of public school students, nor prepare them for college and careers. And it will not move us toward equity and quality for every student. On the contrary, as we’ve seen with the science MCAS, each additional graduation test means that more students complete their high school course requirements but do not obtain a high school diploma.

We support a broad and deep education for all children, not only the most privileged. Rather than impose a new test, the state should help history/social studies teachers work together to improve curriculum, instruction and assessment.


Citizens for Public Schools

You can sign the petition here