State’s largest union surpassed the signatures required for ballot question to appear in 2024
In a significant demonstration of public support, the Massachusetts Teachers Association proudly announced today that it has far exceeded its target by collecting more than 130,000 signatures in support of a ballot initiative aimed at ending the controversial graduation requirement tied to the MCAS exam.
In mid-October, the MTA achieved the milestone of 75,000 signatures, a figure that, as of today, has soared past 130,000 signatures. Additional increases are expected as we continue to collect signatures before submitting the petitions to town and city clerks for verification.
MTA President Max Page noted that the surplus of signatures underscores a growing discontent with the current educational assessment system and a collective call for change.
“With over 130,000 signatures, the public’s voice is loud and clear: They stand with educators against high-stakes testing,” said Page. “Our stance against an accountability system solely based on high-stakes testing resonates with the community, highlighting the need for change in how we evaluate student achievement. It’s time to move past a 30-year-old system that narrows learning and fails to address diverse student needs.”
Signature-gathering over the past few months was driven not just by educators but also by parents, community activists, small business owners, and other public education allies. Signatures are submitted to the local election officials for certification, as required by state election law.
“The powerful partnership between parents and educators fighting for the public schools our children deserve has grown substantially during the ballot initiative campaign,” said MTA Vice President Deb McCarthy. “It’s clear that the community supports this initiative of eliminating the tying of a one-time test score to the attainment of a diploma. The people are letting us know that all students deserve an education that is well-rounded and focused on students – not scores.”
McCarthy, a Hull fifth-grade teacher of more than 25 years before beginning her vice presidency at the MTA, saw firsthand the harms of the MCAS exam, as the test did not help close achievement gaps. McCarthy said the high-stakes nature of the test has turned schools into testing warehouses and eliminated essential personnel such as librarians, as well as band programs in her district.
"The people are letting us know that all students deserve an education that is well-rounded and focused on students – not scores."MTA Vice President Deb McCarthy
The ballot initiative saw volunteers and supporters gather signatures in a variety of community spaces, including grocery stores, coffee shops, juice bars, school sporting events, and local businesses, emphasizing the widespread support for the initiative.