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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in US, global migratory fish populations.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial, while both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Public Supports Changes to High-Stakes Testing for MA Students

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Monday, March 20, 2023   

As educators across Massachusetts prepare to administer high-stakes tests for students this spring, new polling shows the public supports changes to the often stressful graduation requirement.

Seventy-four percent of poll respondents support a policy in which students would still take the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests, but wouldn't need a passing grade to graduate.

Massachusetts Teachers Association vice president Deb McCarthy said the tests fail to reflect the depth and diversity of students' intelligence and learning styles.

"The score," said McCarthy, "is simply a measure of who is a good test taker."

McCarthy said recently introduced legislation - entitled the Thrive Act - would allow school districts to use coursework to determine a student's mastery of English, math, and science as required by state standards - rather than a one-time standardized test.

Massachusetts is one of only eight states requiring high school students to pass a test to receive their diploma.

Educators say standardized tests are especially difficult for students with Individualized Education Plans, English language learners, and students from low-income communities.

McCarthy said removing the pressure of high-stakes testing would improve outcomes for historically disenfranchised students.

"The research shows us that there's a direct correlation between the test scores and the ZIP codes," said McCarthy, "and it really is an opportunity gap, not an achievement gap."

The Thrive Act would also eliminate the state's power to take over underperforming schools, which tend to be located in some of the poorest communities with lower MCAS scores.

Backers of the legislation say it would give students, parents, and educators a greater say in how their schools are run.





Disclosure: Massachusetts Teachers Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Children's Issues, Civic Engagement, Education. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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