The following statement was released by MTA President Merrie Najimy on today’s announced changes to MCAS administration.
Changes to the administration of MCAS tests announced today are a step in the right direction, but they fall far short of what the MTA and all the other major education groups in the state are calling for this year — canceling the tests altogether.
Instead of just ending the MCAS graduation requirement for this year’s juniors as well as seniors, the MTA is urging the Legislature to abolish the requirement, as all but 11 states have done.
In addition, parents and guardians should be informed of their right to opt their children out of high-stakes standardized testing. While federal and state officials have decided that the tests must be administered, there is nothing in state law that requires students in grades three to eight to take them. Local education officials should inform families of their opt-out rights, and pledge to give non-tested students meaningful activities to do during the testing periods.
Administering the MCAS tests this year would be nothing but a bureaucratic exercise in compliance that would take time and resources away from teaching and supporting students. It would add stress to an already disrupted year without providing educators or parents with any valid or useful information.
We wholeheartedly agree with Richard Carranza, former chancellor of the New York City Public Schools, who said in February, “So as an educator, I would say to parents, there is an opt-out and if there is ever a time for parents to consider whether that opt-out makes sense for you, this is the time.”