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PNS Weekend Newscast - September 23rd, 2017 


Here's a look at what we're covering: Senator John McCain says no to the GOP's health care plan, a new survey takes a look at how residents in one state feel about the effort to real Obamacare, and International Day of Peace is being celebrated this weekend.

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"Rethinking" MA High-Stakes Testing

Parents and educators who are concerned about high-stakes testing are expected to give their side to lawmakers at a hearing tomorrow (Tuesday) in Boston. (Pinterest)
Parents and educators who are concerned about high-stakes testing are expected to give their side to lawmakers at a hearing tomorrow (Tuesday) in Boston. (Pinterest)
September 11, 2017

BOSTON -- Educators, parents and others concerned about public education will be testifying before legislators Tuesday to show their support for a measure to curb high-stakes testing and increase investment in public schools.

The measure before lawmakers is being called "an act strengthening and investing in our educators, students and communities." Massachusetts Teachers Association President Barbara Madeloni will be among those addressing lawmakers Tuesday. She said curbing high-stakes testing is just part of the equation.

"It's time to not only rethink high stakes testing, but to fully fund our public schools, to develop legislation that actually allows teachers to do their job, and that allows us to teach to the whole child," Madeloni said.

She said the measure also promotes child development, because it mandates recess for students in grades K-5. The measure, S308, comes up for a hearing beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Gardner Auditorium.

Madeloni said voters made clear in the successful fight against raising the limit on charter schools that Bay Staters value public education, and she said lawmakers seem to be getting the message.

"The legislators understand that we are under-funding our public schools by almost $2 billion a year,” she said. "There's a lot of clarity about that, so I think the will is there more than it has been in the past."

Madeloni said polls show parents think the most valuable feedback on their child's performance comes from educators in the classroom - and that most don't favor high-stakes testing.

"So, I think we put a moratorium on it, and we go back to the community and the educators, and we have some discussions about 'What does meaningful assessment look like?’” Madeloni said. "And, I think people are ready to have that conversation."

The measure also maintains employment rights for teachers with professional status working in low-income districts with struggling students, ensuring that the most experienced and capable educators are in the classroom.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA