Deval Drops MCAS in Favor of "An MCAS"
There was a debate in Western Mass Thursday night, with new tape to peruse in hopes of finding an answer to the question - Does Deval Patrick have a conscience?
As I've mentioned before, studying the Massachusetts governor as he deliberately deceives the people is a fascinating vocation. Over the past few years, he has schemed to dismantle the education standards that have made Massachusetts tops in the nation, and in the past several months, he's succeeded.
Asked about the importance of high-stakes testing, Charlie Baker said the MCAS has raised student achievement. He described closing the gap between low-income or minority students and white, wealthier counterparts would be the next front for education policymakers.
Deval Patrick said he supports "an MCAS," calling it "an appropriate high-stakes measure," and he defended his record on education, describing "record investment" despite a troubled economy.
While Charlie is clear regarding the importance of MCAS, Deval speaks of "an MCAS." What is "an MCAS," as opposed to "MCAS?" This is the sort of code the Governor uses to cloak his intent from voters, while simultanously sending conspiratorial messages to the people for whom the destruction of education is pursued, the teachers unions - the number 1 partners of the Democrats - who fear accountability above all else.
State education officials insist MCAS will only be supplanted or supplemented by new tests now under development if those tests are at least as rigorous as MCAS. Yet, the state’s application for federal “Race to the Top” funds stated: “In four years we will be prepared to administer this assessment in place of our current state assessments in those subjects."
Yup - that's what the governor wrote in his application for money from Washington - MCAS will be dropped in favor of unwritten, imaginary standards that will be created in Washington. But the Wicked One assures that there's no reason for concern, as the unknown standards will be every bit as vigorous as the current standards, which, by the way, have faced liberal opposition since they began turning around education in the state 16 years ago.
The new tests might prove to be solid measures of how students perform against new academic standards, but the new tests won’t be MCAS and the new academic standards won’t be those Massachusetts instituted and shaped for itself beginning in 1993.
We have interviewed the governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of education about this matter, and the only arguments they raise in favor of abandoning our standards in favor of national standards are defensive or indefensible - it won't be that bad, we can always get out if we want to, the new ones will be better, just wait, we won't be walking away from MCAS, etc.
Education is too important to be left to the self-appointed experts. Parents, students and teachers should have access to consistent data over time that answers basic questions: Is public education in Massachusetts growing more rigorous or less? Is student performance improving or getting worse? Are racial achievement gaps growing narrower or wider?
There is now a real danger that, within a few years, no one will be able to answer such questions with confidence.
While he doesn't hesitate to take credit for the results that MCAS delivers (for which he deserves none), Deval is working quietly but steadily to make it go away. Few will care about the lies he tells today when the teachers unions collect their prize in four years - no more MCAS.