A group of Massachusetts teachers is preparing to meet on Thursday night about coming up with a strategy to cancel the MCAS test this year in Massachusetts.

The invitation included this quote:

We are so energized to see so many people showing interest in the Cancel MCAS campaign. We are very excited to get started with the MTA campaign. By joining forces across the state, we will move this campaign from a hashtag to a movement.  – Massachusetts Teachers Association

Last year, as the nation was beginning the long struggle against COVID-19, the state was not even able to offer in-person learning, so it was certainly in no position to administer an MCAS test. The test was one of a long list of things that were postponed, the operative word being "postponed," not canceled.

When the school year resumed in the fall, the plan was for the MCAS to resume in 2021, with all Massachusetts juniors taking the Math MCAS test in January and the ELA MCAS test in May. Current sophomores would take their regularly scheduled MCAS tests in May.

However, that plan changed last month when the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education responded to emails, petitions, and phone calls from the teachers.

The revisions called for allowing this year's seniors to sidestep MCAS stepping by simply passing their ELA and math courses. The tests for Grades 3-8 were also shortened by using a "sampling" method that takes different portions of the test rather than having every student complete every part of the test. Finally, the DESE agreed to suspend labeling a school or district as "underperforming."

While the MTA feels the new plan is a step in the right direction, Thursday night's meeting will be an attempt to rally the members to put pressure on the state to outright cancel this year's MCAS.

MTA President Merrie Najimy said that ending the MCAS graduation requirement is within the state’s power and should be enacted not only for this year’s senior class but in future years.

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