In a powerful display of grassroots activism, three local South Shore moms have teamed up with the Massachusetts Teachers Association to gather signatures in support of a ballot initiative that aims to put an end to high-stakes testing in Massachusetts public schools.
These mothers have personal stakes in this initiative as their children are special education students. They understand the immense pressure and unfair disadvantages that high-stakes testing places on students like theirs, and they are determined to make a change.
"As a mom, watching my child struggle through the MCAS, knowing full well the high-stakes test doesn’t capture his true potential, is heartbreaking."Hanover parent Adriana Mason
In September, the trio reached out to the MTA to find ways to support the union-backed ballot question. As of Sunday, the moms have collected more than 1,300 signatures on their own.
“As a mom, watching my child struggle through the MCAS, knowing full well the high-stakes test doesn’t capture his true potential, is heartbreaking,” said Adriana Mason, a Hanover parent whose son has autism and who is at risk of receiving a certificate of completion. “This ballot question is incredibly personal for us and our community. The stakes couldn’t be higher. We need to end high-stakes testing and the unfair graduation requirement tied to it, to ensure every child in Massachusetts has a fair chance to succeed and thrive. Our students deserve an education system that uplifts them, not one that holds them back based on a single test.”
“MTA educators are proud to stand with these courageous parent activists in their fight against high-stakes testing,” said MTA President Max Page. “All around the state, we’re hearing of similar stories and grassroot activism to get this question on next year’s ballot before voters.”
With a Nov. 22 deadline looming, the MTA is in a sprint to gather 75,000 signatures in support of the ballot initiative. The association has already gathered tens of thousands of signatures across Massachusetts at community events, outside grocery stores, coffee shops, school sports events, and at small businesses like Norwell's Press Juice Bar owned by Shannon Bruno, one of the South Shore moms involved.
This ballot question would align Massachusetts with the 42 states that don’t use a single, high-stakes test to deny diplomas to high school students. If approved by voters at the ballot box, students would still take the MCAS as required by federal and state law but passing the MCAS would no longer be a graduation requirement.