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[Susan notes: Don't let the Standardistos get you down. We need to call them on their lies every time. Write a letter, registering dissent. Here's a sample. ]

Published in Berkshire Eagle
11/18/2003

To the editor

William S. Edgerly, chairman emeritus of the State Street Corporation in Boston and a leader in the business group that backs MCAS stated last week, "MCAS is thoroughly established and accepted throughout the state. There's a very strong acceptance of MCAS." Mr. Edgerly is wrong.



Polls show that the broad public is still not persuaded that MCAS should be used for graduation. Equally important, those closest to the school systems, locally elected school committees, once again reaffirmed their strong opposition to the MCAS graduation requirement at the Massachusetts Association of School Committees' annual convention earlier this week. By a four-to-one margin, the delegates continued to vote for the anti-MCAS resolution. They affirmed that students are entitled to multiple measures of assessment, and the test should not punish those most vulnerable students: vocational, disabled, and limited English-speaking students.



Even more importantly, by a 119 to 2 vote, the delegates called for an independent study of MCAS's effect on the curriculum and the vulnerable student populations. It is well known that all schools are taking away valuable instructional time to drill for the MCAS. No district wants to come up short on the highly publicized exam. Yet, city schools spend much more time drilling for the MCAS than suburban schools.



So, when the DOE and its business roundtable give their positive spin of the universal acceptance of the MCAS, remember there are two sides to this issue. Even if the official pass rate were not inflated, it would not equate with a high quality education. School committee members understand this issue while the Department of Education would like you to believe otherwise.



Bravo and thanks to all our local school committee members for continuing to recognize the inequities of the MCAS system and demonstrating concern for all our students.



Joan Samuels Kaiser


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