In this edition of News You Can Use About Our Schools:

  • Thank you to everyone who came and supported our 40th anniversary (plus) gala! We definitely felt the love and appreciate the support. Read more below.
  • The MCAS, Dropouts and Tortured Logic. Professor Emeritus Louis Kruger digs into the dropout data, raising questions about the conclusions drawn by MCAS graduation requirement supporters. Read more here.
  • Congratulations to our CPS Board Members! Roberto Jiménez Rivera has won a seat on the Chelsea City Council, and Andrew King is ahead in his race for Cambridge School Committee. Read more below.
  • Update on MCAS Graduation Test Ballot Campaign. The signatures have been rolling in, showing widespread support for ending the MCAS graduation requirement. Read more below.
  • Please donate what you can to keep CPS speaking out and fighting for education justice.

Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate 40+ years of CPS

Oh what a night! Thanks to everyone who joined us and/or contributed to making CPS's 40th Anniversary Gala such a heart-warming celebration of our members, friends and work. Our special guest Congressman Jamaal Bowman, a former teacher and principal, inspired us to keep pushing for the kind of education that supports and nurtures the whole child, every child. And we took the opportunity to recognize all the people whose passion and hard work helped us notch important victories and raise essential issues about public education in Massachusetts. If you weren't able to join us, watch the opening slideshow (created by CPS Board Member Suleika Soto) to get a feeling for the event.

The MCAS, dropouts and

tortured logic

Proponents of the MCAS graduation requirement have shared high school dropout data intended to show that the requirement is not a major obstacle to obtaining a diploma. However, MCAS proponents such as Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Vice Chair Matt Hills omitted important data and erroneously interpreted other data. A clear-eyed review of a wider swath of evidence revealed a very different picture. This evidence indicated that (1) the graduation requirement has caused some historically underserved students to drop out; (2) students who failed the 10th grade MCAS were 17 times more likely to drop out than their peers who passed the exams; and (3) the dropout rate for students failing the MCAS has increased from 15 percent in 2015 to 18 percent in 2019.

Read Professor Emeritus Louis Kruger's full analysis here.

We love it when public education advocates run and win elections

CPS Board Members Roberto Jiménez Rivera, left, and Andrew King, right

There are two more reasons to celebrate this week, with CPS Board Members and public education activists coming out on top in their electoral races. Roberto Jiménez Rivera won his race for Chelsea City Council, and Andrew King is currently ahead in his race for the Cambridge School Committee.

With all but overseas, absentee, and provisional votes counted, King is ahead by three votes. We have our fingers crossed that he will sustain his lead and win a school committee seat when the final votes have been counted. Commenting on Instagram, King wrote, "I am honored to be part of the growing education justice movement of families, students, and educators we are building in Cambridge!"

Commenting on his victory, Jiménez Rivera said, "Chelsea has the capacity to be a blueprint for sustainable growth, where community success does not come at the expense of those who have less or live on the margins. I am excited for the opportunity we now have to create a Chelsea that works for all."

We congratulate them both and look forward to see what they accomplish in their new roles.

MCAS grad requirement ballot campaign steams ahead

The response to the campaign for a ballot question to end the MCAS graduation requirement has been enthusiastic, with more than 100,000 signatures gathered so far. We can confirm the enthusiasm from participating in signature gathering ourselves and from talking to others who have taken part.

When we go out to gather signatures and talk to parents and teachers (and some students), it's clear that many voters understand that using MCAS as a barrier to graduation distorts and narrows high school education, hurting all students, not just those at risk of failing the test.

With the deadline for turning in signatures fast approaching, we look forward to sharing the outcome with all of you, so stay tuned. And thanks to everyone who has participated in the campaign so far. If you would like to help add to the total, email Lisa Guisbond here.

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Citizens for Public Schools is a 501(c)(3) organization. A voice for public education since 1982.