Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester is abandoning his full support for PARCC, but today he has made it clear that he is seeking to continue the use of high-stakes testing in ways that are destructive to our schools and our communities.
Like PARCC itself, the proposed PARCC-infused “MCAS 2.0” is wrong for students, wrong for educators, and wrong for Massachusetts.
The fact that opposition to the national version of PARCC by MTA members and others appears to have stopped the system from being implemented in Massachusetts underscores the power of educators, parents and students when they raise their voices. But Chester’s proposal does not go nearly far enough.
Massachusetts parents and teachers have been quite clear: They believe we are overtesting our children and imposing high stakes on tests that were never designed to be high-stakes.
We demand a real conversation about what kind of assessments we truly need to help build the schools our children deserve – and we need a moratorium on all high-stakes testing while we have that conversation.
The MTA is supporting legislation that would achieve that goal and is determined to see the process through.
Educators, parents and community leaders know just how harmful standardized tests have been to Massachusetts students, and they understand that a modified version of PARCC is just more of the same.
They are also concerned about the massive amount of money that is devoted to standardized test development and administration – well over $30 million a year by the count of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
When the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education holds its hearing Monday on the commissioner’s proposal, we will do all we can to persuade the BESE that it is time to stop the testing madness and put the Commonwealth on a course that truly serves our students and our communities.