Healey Administration Supports MCAS Graduation Requirement For Massachusetts High School Students

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2024/03/05/healey-administration-supports-mcas-graduation-requirement-for-massachusetts-high-school-students/

By Chris Lisinski
State House News Service

Count Governor Maura Healey and her education secretary among the opponents of a proposed ballot question that would allow Massachusetts students to graduate high school without achieving sufficient scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests.

Patrick Tutwiler, the state’s secretary of education, made clear in an interview that aired Sunday that he and Healey believe the measure backed by the powerful Massachusetts Teachers Association is the wrong approach, while leaving open the door to reforming the exams.

“I support the idea of there being a standard, a state standard for high school graduation,” Tutwiler said in an interview on WBZ’s Keller @ Large. “That question, if it passes, would deliver us to a place of no standard — essentially, 351 different standards for high school graduation. I don’t believe that is the direction to go. The governor does not believe that is the direction to go, so no, I do not support it.”

Tutwiler said the field is already flooded with “misinformation” about the proposal, stressing that it would not eliminate the MCAS altogether but would instead decouple results from high school graduation requirements.

Healey and Tutwiler waded into the debate one day before lawmakers kicked off their formal review of the measure. A legislative committee, the Special Join Committee on Initiative Petitions, met Monday afternoon, March 4 and heard arguments for and against ditching the MCAS graduation requirement, ahead of a May 1 deadline for lawmakers to approve the ballot question or propose a rewrite of it.

If the Legislature takes no action by that date, sponsors of each ballot question need to complete one more round of signature-gathering to secure a spot on the November 2024 ballot — and if the Massachusetts Teachers Association and their supporters succeed on that front, they will then need to convince voters to back a measure opposed by the governor.

While lawmakers consider whether to try to broker a compromise, Tutwiler signaled the administration could be on board with changing the tests.

“Could it be a different assessment? Absolutely. Should the assessment evolve and maybe look different ways? Absolutely, and I’m more than open to that conversation,” Tutwiler said. “But inasmuch as it relates to a standard, I believe there should be one.”


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