The tyrany of low expectations: Massachusetts’ Teachers Union Ballot initiative to eliminate high school graduation requirement

James Vaznis:

The ballot initiative would allow students to graduate “by satisfactorily completing coursework that has been certified by the student’s district as showing mastery of the skills, competencies, and knowledge contained in the state academic standards and curriculum frameworks in the areas measured by the MCAS high school tests.”

A small group of union activists, parents, and high school graduates filed a ballot initiative Wednesday, with the backing of the state’s largest teachers union, that would end a state provision requiring students to pass the MCAS tests to graduate, setting up a potentially costly election fight.

Currently, high school students must pass Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exams in English, math, and science to graduate. More than 700 high school students a year typically don’t receive a diploma because they didn’t meet that requirement, according to state data. Instead, they received “certificates of attainment,” which are given to students who only satisfied local graduation requirements. However, many educators say a number of students who don’t pass MCAS ultimately drop out.

The ballot question is the MTA’s latest effort to end the graduation requirement. Earlier this year, the MTA and other unions had legislation introduced on Beacon Hill that would end the graduation requirement.

Groups, such as the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, have been aggressively fighting the unions’ efforts.

“MCAS is a crucial instrument for measuring students’ vital signs to make sure they’re getting the education they deserve and that they need to be successful after high school,” the business alliance said in a statement.

Notes and links on MTEL.

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?