Dozens slated to testify at hearing on high-stakes testing

Less Testing, More LearningEducators from across Massachusetts will be out in force on Thursday, June 11, as the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education holds a public hearing on House Bill 340, An Act Relative to a Moratorium on High-Stakes Testing and PARCC.

Educators will arrive at MTA headquarters as early as 7 a.m. on Thursday to meet with colleagues and hear MTA President Barbara Madeloni speak about the bill before heading over to the State House for the hearing.

Dozens of educators, students and social justice activists are scheduled to deliver testimony. Madeloni noted that a “great cross-section of our membership” has signed up to speak. The list includes retirees, middle school teachers, special education teachers and local presidents. They will be joined by members of AFT Massachusetts, parents, students and others.

Written testimony e-mailed by the end of the week to MTA lobbyist Kate Donaghey, at kdonaghey@masstacher.org, will also be delivered to the committee.

H.B. 340 would institute a three-year moratorium on the high-stakes use of testing and create a task force to study how the focus on testing is impacting education for students, educators, districts and communities.

The Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance, a recently formed coalition, organized the Week of Action to raise visibility about the issue. Along with the MTA and AFT Massachusetts, the coalition includes groups representing educators, parents, other labor organizations and social justice activists.

“Events this week have gone a long way toward informing the public about the damage that is caused by the high-stakes uses of testing,” said Madeloni.

“On Monday,” she continued, “thousands of educators, students and community members across Massachusetts wore stickers with the theme ‘Less Testing/More Learning.’ This simple action sparked many great conversations about the use of educators’ time, the narrowing of the curriculum, and how we can provide the schools that our students and our communities deserve.”

On Tuesday, educators built support for H. 340 by contacting their legislators, and on Wednesday, educators took their own stories about testing to social media. Wednesday evening, educators made their views known at a Board of Elementary and Secondary Education forum on PARCC at Bridgewater State University.

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