Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Citizens for Public Schools applauds the Cambridge teachers who have announced that, as a matter of conscience, they object to administering MCAS exams this pandemic school year and requested their administrators to allow them to not participate.

They are taking great personal risks in their effort to stop harm to their students and students across the state.

It would be so much easier to go along with the state edict, grit their teeth and give the test. But these educators are putting their students ahead of their own interests and challenging orders that they know to be wrong and hurtful to their children.

Educators are almost unanimous in saying MCAS this spring can produce no useful information and will only make it harder to recover from a disastrous year. Nearly every Massachusetts education stakeholder group has released a statement calling for tests to be canceled, including the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, the Massachusetts School Administrators Association and more than 500 education researchers. Cambridge Superintendent Kenneth Salim was among the many superintendents who have called for canceling the tests.

Beyond this year, the evidence put together by Citizens for Public Schools and by impartial science organizations such as the National Resource Council proves that high-stakes standardized testing has failed to improve overall education or shrink ethnic and racial differences in test scores.

We hope the Cambridge teachers’ action will finally move state officials to put aside their attachment to the philosophy of test-and-punish, and start responding to the needs of the children in our schools.

Lisa Guisbond, Citizens for Public Schools

Lisa Guisbond is executive director of the Boston-based Citizens for Public Schools.