Education

Testing isn’t punishment, it’s a matter of social justice

Testing isn’t punishment, it’s a matter of social justice

Moratorium on high-stakes assessments would set back minority and low-income students

LAST YEAR WHILE CASUALLY asking my son about taking his first MCAS exam as a third grader, he responded with an adverse physical reaction at the mere mention of the word MCAS. He literally flinched with fear. Now, I did sign many forms at the beginning of the school year, but I don’t recall the(...)

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Mitchell Chester set bar high for next ed commissioner

Mitchell Chester set bar high for next ed commissioner

Search should look for a leader with his commitment to principled leadership

AS THE Board of Elementary and Secondary Education embarks on its search for a new commissioner following the death in June of Mitchell Chester, I’ve been reflecting on how Commissioner Chester became an accomplished educational leader. I co-produced a tribute video about him this fall and gained insights about him during the many interviews I(...)

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We cannot test and punish our way to better schools

We cannot test and punish our way to better schools

Time to pause on high-stakes exams and take different approach

THE CLOSER THEY ARE to actual public-school classrooms, the more Massachusetts residents understand it’s time to abandon the failed test-and-punish approach to school improvement. For two decades, we’ve seen how high-stakes standardized testing hurts students and fails to prepare them well for life. Now, there’s a growing realization that it’s time to pause, look at(...)

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Standing up for undocumented students

Standing up for undocumented students

In wake of Trump DACA order, communities must make young people feel safe

OVER 8,000 young people in Massachusetts — and 800,000 nationally — now face an uncertain future as a result of the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Under DACA, undocumented immigrants who had come to the US before the age of 16, attended school or joined the(...)

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Our schools ignore US history at our peril

Our schools ignore US history at our peril

State must make good on requirement for history instruction and testing

ABOUT 25 YEARS AGO, as a member of the Massachusetts Senate, I co-authored the Massachusetts Education Reform Act. Drafting a complex bill with such far-reaching consequences requires significant compromise, but one thing my counterparts in the House of Representatives and then-Gov. Bill Weld all agreed upon was the importance of educating students about our nation’s history.(...)

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Harvard unveils plans for new Allston neighborhood

Harvard unveils plans for new Allston neighborhood

University starts small, with focus on 14 acres along Western Avenue

HARVARD UNIVERSITY unveiled some broad brush strokes of its plan to build a new neighborhood along Western Avenue on the edge of its campus in Allston. The project, dubbed variously as Allston North or the Enterprise Research Campus, is an attempt by the university to build a neighborhood that feeds off and reinforces the research(...)

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Editor’s note: Tang vs. Kerr

Editor’s note: Tang vs. Kerr

How much editorial license should opinion writers be given?

HERE AT COMMONWEALTH we are great believers in open debate; that’s why we run so many opinion pieces. But sometimes the debate becomes so spirited that people want us to step in and become referees. One such instance was the recent back and forth between Jessica Tang, the president of the Boston Teachers Union, and Liam Kerr,(...)

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What Level 3 schools need from the state

What Level 3 schools need from the state

The right approach could help struggling schools gain traction

THIS MONTH, families across Massachusetts got their children’s MCAS 2.0 scores in their mailboxes. According to Secretary of Education James Peyser this new, more difficult test was necessary because nearly one third of Massachusetts students need remedial classes once they enter college. In our state, all public schools are rated and assigned a level based(...)

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Oversight of Lawrence schools shifting to state-appointed board

Oversight of Lawrence schools shifting to state-appointed board

Riley leaving after six years, may seek state education commissioner’s post

EDUCATION OFFICIALS UNVEILED the next chapter in state oversight of the Lawrence schools on Wednesday with the announcement that the state receiver, Jeff Riley, will be stepping down at the end of the school year in June and new state-appointed board will oversee the district. The state took control of the city’s struggling school system(...)

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Boston teachers union attack fires blanks

Boston teachers union attack fires blanks

Tying DFER to Trump is lame substitute for actually addressing excess pool issue

LAST NOVEMBER, Democrats for Education Reform held our election night party at the same Boston hotel as the state Democratic Party and the anti-charter ballot campaign. I was one of the last to exit, and happened to leave at the same time as Jessica Tang, the incoming president of the Boston Teachers Union. With the(...)

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