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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Parents, Educators Urge End to MCAS Graduation Requirement

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Monday, August 21, 2023   

Parents and educators in Massachusetts are joining forces to end the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) high school graduation requirement.

They're combining two ballot initiatives, which would require the state to replace the standardized exam with local certification of academic success to earn a degree.

Lexington public high school parent Shelley Scruggs said it would also work retroactively to ensure those denied their diploma for failing the test can attain one.

"This really is a mark against the student, and it's for the rest of their lives," said Scruggs. "I think it's really unfair."

A Massachusetts Teachers Association poll found 74% of poll respondents support a policy in which students would still take the tests, but wouldn't need a passing grade to graduate.

Introduced legislation entitled the Thrive Act would also allow school districts to use coursework to determine a student's mastery of English, math and science as required by state standards - rather than a one-time test.

Massachusetts Teachers Association Vice President Deb McCarthy said that would improve outcomes for historically disenfranchised students.

"The research shows us that there's a direct correlation between ZIP codes and the test scores," said McCarthy, "and it really is an opportunity gap, not an achievement gap."

Educators say standardized tests are especially difficult for students with Individualized Education Plans, English language learners, and students from low-income communities.

Massachusetts is one of only eight states requiring high school students to pass a test to receive their diploma.





Disclosure: Massachusetts Teachers Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Children's Issues, Civic Engagement, Education. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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