To the Editor:
I applaud Deb McCarthy and the Cambridge educators who refused to administer the MCAS this spring. It’s long past time we get rid of standardized testing as a requirement for graduation and “measuring” a student.
News flash: All the MCAS will tell you about a student is how good they are at filling in bubbles.
I am a proud graduate of Hull Public Schools, and I was fortunate to have Mrs. McCarthy as a teacher when I was younger. I distinctly remembering how the mood of school changed after February break, the ominous cloud of MCAS settling in, and how everything in class time was now MCAS, MCAS, MCAS.
We didn’t know at that time, but we suffered for the intense focus on test-taking. While I was at middle school:
The full time social studies teachers in grades 6-8 were eliminated and replaced with having the other teachers (not social studies, mind you) attempt to teach the curriculum.
The secondary language (Spanish, French) teachers for 6-8 were also eliminated.
Band was eliminated for incoming freshmen (later thankfully reintroduced under the direction of Ian Barkon)
With all the strife and conflict in American society, I completely agree with McCarthy that public education, one of the bedrocks of our delicate democracy, needs to be available to teach, to help students cope with the trauma of the pandemic, and to prepare them to tackle the future challenges that await us (global warming, population decline), not having kids fill in bubbles in a meaningless test.
Justin E. Chafe