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    Mass Students Refuse to Take MCAS
    Think of these words of Henry David Thoreau, and then look at the headline below that the Boston Herald put on the story of student resistance. Did Thoreau refuses to pay taxes because he was 'tax adverse?'

    I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically.
    --Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau

    MCAS-averse Sophomores Snub Exam in Brookline

    To prove the point that she'd prefer not to graduate than take the MCAS test, Brookline sophomore Sara Skvirsky left school yesterday rather than take the exam.

    Skvirsky and three classmates turned their backs on the high-stakes test yesterday to the cheers of a crowd of demonstrators outside Brookline High School.

    ``We all got handed the test, and when they said you may begin, we got up, handed the test back and walked out of the building,'' she said.

    Students across the state were given the essay portion of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System yesterday.

    Along with the Brookline demonstration, scattered pockets of students across the state took up the cause by refusing to take it, said Jackie King, a Cambridge organizer with the anti-test group MassCARE.

    ``It calls attention to the problem, and it demonstrates how deeply a number of families in the commonwealth feel about this misguided policy,'' she said.

    Brookline school officials did not return phone calls, but Skvirsky said no action was taken against those who walked out.

    What is most daunting to Skvirsky, though, is knowing she won't graduate without taking and passing the test. Beginning this year Bay State students must pass the 10th-grade MCAS test to graduate.

    ``Suspension was not one of our worries. It's definitely the diploma thing,'' she said.

    Her mom, Mary Keber, supported the act of MCAS disobedience, but acknowledged being a little worried her daughter was no longer on track to graduate.

    ``Every parent wants their kid to have a high school diploma, but I think we really support Sara in her feeling the high school diploma should not be reduced to taking one particular test or not,'' Keber said.

    Helping organize Brookline's boycott were seniors who have refused to take the test. Some of those seniors have been accepted to Dartmouth, Middlebury, Hampshire and other prestigious colleges, Skvirsky said.

    — Kevin Rothstein
    MCAS-averse sophomores snub exam in Brookline
    Boston Herald
    April 11, 2003


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