MCAS Critics Renew Campaign
By Jeremy Schwab
State House News Service
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
A coalition of civil rights and education groups have called for sweeping changes to the state's education system, including eliminating the use of the MCAS test as a high school graduation requirement.
At a press conference in Boston last week, members of the Alliance for the Education of the Whole Child said they plan to intensify their lobbying of Education Committee members to support measures overhauling the Board of Education, revamping the state's system of determining "underperforming" schools, and strengthening schooling for English language learners.
With the release of a 47-page report calling for a change in the direction of education reform, alliance members say they also plan to mobilize their members across the state to lobby their local legislators to support the bills. The alliance includes the state's two largest teachers unions, the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, and the Mass Association for Bilingual Education, among others.
Coalition members say the test is unfair to children in lower-income districts, special education students, English language learners and blacks and Latinos, groups whose members generally pass at lower rates. And they say current education policies are not closing achievement gaps between students in wealthier communities and those attending public schools in low-income neighborhoods.
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