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Mass. legislators oppose education board proposal requiring higher MCAS scores for graduation

Standardized test photo.
Nguyen Dang Hoang
Standardized test photo.

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is recommending a proposal that seeks to raise the scores needed on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test for high school students to graduate. But nearly 100 state lawmakers oppose it.

State Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, along with two other legislators, helped initiate a letter citing concerns lawmakers have with the proposal.

Comerford believes students hit hardest by COVID-19 will be disproportionately affected by the tougher graduation requirements.

"Why make the same students who struggle bear the burden of the state's long time failure to invest adequate resources in struggling public schools," Comerford said. "Why take away a kid's diploma when it is the state's decision to do that, not a federal mandate."

In an April memo, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Jeff Riley, said there is evidence showing students who barely meet the current minimum scores will not attend or succeed in college.

A board spokesperson said the vote, originally scheduled for June 28, will be pushed to a later date due to a packed agenda.

Nirvani Williams covers socioeconomic disparities for New England Public Media, joining the news team in June 2021 through Report for America.