Supporters push for scrapping graduation requirement


The Thrive Act has garnered support from many students and teachers. Supporters of the legislation gathered at the State House on Wednesday.

Educators, parents and students gathered in Beacon Hill on Wednesday to advocate for legislation that would eliminate the use of MCAS test scores for high school graduation requirements and remove the ability to the state to take over local schools.

The legislation would also establish a new commission to create a “more authentic and accurate system of evaluating students, schools and school districts.”

The rally, which started at Church on the Hill and moved to State House, was organized by the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance. The group and its allies hope to get lawmakers to back the Thrive Act.

Proponents of the legislation argue that MCAS, a series of standardized tests administered to students each year, has an unfair and negative impact on students of color and those with Individual Education Plans. To graduate from high school, students must pass the MCAS English, Math, and Science, Technology, and Engineering tests.

MCAS testing would continue if the Thrive Act were passed, but it would no longer be used as a requirement for graduation. Instead, students are expected to demonstrate “mastery” of these skills by “satisfactorily completing coursework”.

Since 2010, the Department of Primary and Secondary Education has the capacity to support local schools and districts. Schools in Lawrence, Holyoke and Southbridge remain under state control, and DESE officials considered taking over Boston’s public schools last year. Mayor Michelle Wu and many other officials and advocates opposed the move.

An analysis of The Boston Globe last year found that the state receivership had done little to improve test scores, graduation rates, college enrollment and other measures.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association, the American Federation of Massachusetts Teachers, and the Boston Teachers Union all gave their support to the Thrive Act.

Opponents of the legislation say the state receivership is important because it puts pressure on struggling schools to take decisive action. Last year, DESE released a scathing report assessing the state of the BPS system.

“If you are the parent of a BPS student and your options are limited, wouldn’t you want your superintendent or commissioner to take action to fix your son’s or daughter’s failing school?” Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education executive director Ed Lambert told the World earlier this year.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button