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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

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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