Massachusetts Teachers Union Chief Says More Testing Threatens “Hope for Democracy”

NewBostonPost, Evan Lips, December 20, 2016

MALDEN — Standardized tests present a threat to democracy and shouldn’t be expanded, the state teachers union president told the state’s education board today.

Barbara Madeloni, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, spoke out against several new high school testing proposals at Tuesday’s monthly meeting of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting.

“As both a high school English teacher and a teacher-educator, I’m deeply aware of the ways that high-stakes testing takes away from the idealism and hope, the possibility of imagination, the creativity and the hope for democracy,” Madeloni told board members.

Madeloni, during her reelection campaign last spring to retain her top spot as union honcho, vowed to fight in favor of a moratorium on all new standardized testing proposals. On Tuesday she described the new proposals as “profoundly bureaucratic and technocratic views of what it means to educate and learn.”

Board members, however, appeared enthusiastic after being briefed on the subject by Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester.

The board already voted earlier this year to develop a new standardized test combining aspects of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (known as MCAS) and the newer PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) exams, with students enrolled in grades three through eight slated to begin taking the new unofficial “MCAS 2.0” English and language arts and math tests in the spring.

Massachusetts high school students are currently required pass standardized tests in English, math, and science in order to graduate.

Most recently, Chester in a memo outlined plans to add history and social science tests as graduation requirements.

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