MWDN: Southborough officials, parents defend school reputation

I wasn’t able to attend last night’s K-8 School Committee meeting, but the Metrowest Daily News was there and reports school officials and parents spoke to defend the district and its reputation against recent concerns over MCAS scores.

“The truth is we are a high-achieving school district in many, many ways, ” Superintendent Charles Gobron said during discussion of the fiscal 2013 budget. “Tonight we’re going to show you some data, some actual data, that will refute a great deal of the arguments that have been made.”

Assistant Superintendent Christine Johnson showed a number of charts and graphs she said spoke to the district’s significant Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System achievement.

She said it was important to note the distinction between a growth score and a test score. The town’s actual percentile scores are very good, she said, adding that MCAS experts have said it’s better to have high scores and a lower rate of growth than low scores with a higher rate of growth.

Johnson said it’s also important to note that there are many successes that just can’t be measured on a standardized test, especially since the test is only a reflection of student achievement in two subjects.

I’ll work on getting a copy of Johnson’s presentation so you all can see the data. Don’t forget, you can also watch a replay of the meeting on public access cable. The broadcast schedule is posted here.

Click on over to the MWDN article to read more, including statements from Teacher’s Association co-President Pat Lally and several parents who spoke on behalf of the schools.

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Frank Crowell
10 years ago

OK – I am willing to drop linking the budget to MCAS – for the moment. I am not willing to forget the events of this past year or what was said.

Dr Gobron said during his TM presentation that the teacher’s contract was a 2% increase (if I have this wrong, I am sure someone will correct me). The proposed K-8 school budget shows a 5.87% increase (item 2305) and a 8.21% increase (item 2309 – under special education). If I have done my math correctly, the amount above 2% is $350K. That is a significant amount of money and I am sure it cannot be taken out of the teachers contract. A contract is a contract no matter how lousy it was presented to the taxpayers, but if Dr Gobron were to be held to his word, then $350K should be found by him and the BOE. I am sure that this savings could be used by the town elsewhere to keep services already provided. Time to start making some tough choices.

Al Hamilton
10 years ago
Reply to  Frank Crowell

We dont really do that well at math.

Shubu Mukherjee
10 years ago
Reply to  Frank Crowell

Caveat 1:No one is saying the Southborough school system is bad. You would have seen a mass exodus from the town if that were the case.

Caveat 2: And, how important MCAS can be debated. In theory at least MCAS is supposed to measure the most important of the 8 goals of US education that is widely agreed upon.

Having said that, I don’t know how anyone in their right mind can say our MCAS scores are very good, as seems to have been quoted in this article.

Here are some sample MCAS Sample Points for 2011 (rankings is across MA state):

5th Grade Engilsh: Northborough-Southborough ranked #36
5th Grade Math: Northborough-Southborough ranked #46
8th Grade Engilsh: Northborough-Southborough ranked #17
8th Grade Math: Northborough-Southborough ranked #43
10th Grade Engilsh: Northborough-Southborough ranked #32
10th Grade Math: Northborough-Southborough ranked #30

Anyways, as I have stated earlier, I don’t expect anything to change in the Southborough school system … MCAS mediocrity, thy name is Southborough :-).

-Shubu

John Boiardi
10 years ago

Why is Dr Gobron speaking to the seniors at the center? If anything, they have grandchildren in the system. He knows a high percentage of seniors attend town meeting and vote. It is blatant politicking. He is allowed to present his rah rah power point presentation at town meeting. Why can’t Al Hamilton present his 4 to 3 school presentation at town meeting? Voters are led down the path when it comes to the school budget. A less than 1% increase in the largest budget in town is still a chunk of money, especially when it is on a budget that has grown disproportionately over the years.
Again, our only avenue to advance fiscal reponsibility is the ballot box and voting on warrants at town meeting.

Al Hamilton
10 years ago

I took the steps and lanes from the teachers contracts and did an analysis based on the structure that existed in the first half of fiscal 2012. There are 6 “Lanes” based on level of credentials and 12 steps based on number of years.

The average annual “step” increase is 4.94% every one gets this until they reach the 12th step.

The average “Lane” increase is 4.37% this is based on achieving an new level of credential.

In addition to this increase there are the annual raises that lift the entire step and lane structure about 1.25% to 1.5% per year

There are also regular “longevity” raises starting after 12 years of service.

That is how you get regular 7% average annual increases in teacher salaries.

We can debate the merits of teacher pay but these are the facts, to represent teacher raises as anything else is misleading at best.

Confused
10 years ago
Reply to  Al Hamilton

Al,

Would your analysis also apply to the salaries paid to the police officers, firemen and DPW workers?

Thank you.

Jerry C
10 years ago

Frank,

The Southborough school contract, as Al notes, contains step increases. We should understand that the step and lane increase issue is not unique to Southborough, but an issue with Public Employees across the country. It’s clear that wage increases in the public sector nationally are a big problem. This problem will have to be fixed, town by town, across the nation.

Shubu, if the public schools were a problem the parents would fix them… not evacuate the city….

Finally, I’ve done more research on our expenses and we are a cost effective system.
The end of our system, Algonquin High School, is one of the best in the state in terms of cost efficiency and achievement.

Shubu, you’ve presented some ideas on class size. My research, looking at the Gates foundation, is that class size could be reduced by 2 to3% and the money diverted to pay for performance and technology and we could, in theory, produce better performance. In summary, the Gates foundation see’s a reinvention of education through technology and pay for perfomance, not through blindly increasing class size and cutting budgets.

Al Hamilton
10 years ago
Reply to  Jerry C

Jerry

Yes, Steps and Lanes are part of most teacher contracts. We should also recognize that the Teachers Unions are very tough customers. They make the Teamsters look like Girl Scouts. This is not an easy issue.

But, for public employees and officials to stand before Town Meeting and represent an as yet unrevealed contract as giving teachers 1.25% to 1.5% when the speakers knew or should have known that this was not the case is very problematic at best. There are other words for this as well.

Frank Crowell
10 years ago
Reply to  Al Hamilton

Amen Al!!!



I do not care that this is a standard union contract; I do not care what other towns do; I do not care if the teacher’s contract is similar to fire and police. I only care about what was said last year at TM and holding the responsible party accountable. It is just that simple.



What is this I hear………..Gobron is talking about steps and lanes during BOE meetings. Well, is that not wonderful. 


Shubu Mukherjee
10 years ago
Reply to  Jerry C

hi Jerry,

Glad to see you are running for the school committee.

You have publicly acknowledged that Southborough school system is experiencing some problems with math. Glad to know that you and I are on the same page, finally :-).

Would love to see your thoughts and actions on how to fix this math problem in Southborough school system.

-Shubu

JC
10 years ago

Thanks.

I want you to know I feel very fortunate to live in this town and I’m very proud of our successful schools.

Cost efficiency and student achievement are very important to me.

If I’m fortunate enough to be elected to the school board, I will do the best I can to help us achieve even greater success.

Jerry

Al Hamilton
10 years ago
Reply to  JC

Jerry

Thank you for deciding to run. From your comments here you seem to be open minded and willing to challenging the status quo so let me ask the candidate some questions:

1. Will you work to promptly provide information requested by other boards and citizens without attempt to control the flow of public information?

2. Will you commit to working for a public, transparent, review of school population forecasts and full analysis of a 3 vs 4 school format?

3. Will you work to place all documents provided to the school committee in public meetings on the web in a fashion similar the Advisory Committee?

4. Will you work to change the format of the School Committee meetings so that citizens and public officials can engage in discussions with the School Committee at public meetings?

5. Given that the K-8 School Committee is responsible for a budget nearly 3 times larger than the Board of Selectmen, will you work to holding more that 1 public meeting a month?

6. Will you work to have a comprehensive review of Math Education in our K-8 system? Will you insist on measurable metrics of improvement?

7. Will you work to insist that public officials represent contracted pay raises as the raise that an average teacher receives? Will you work to end the practice of referring to only part of the contracted raises as the amount of increase?

I am certainly interested in supporting a candidate with the right answers to these questions.

Jerry C
10 years ago
Reply to  Al Hamilton

Al,

You have good questions, and I appreciate that you’ve given me a list that I can think about.

In the near future there will be a candidates night. I would like to meet you, and others. I promise you direct answers to all of these questions. I hope others will also come with their questions.

I spent many years in financial management and feel comfortable working on the financial issues that concern you, and me, and others in the town.

If I’m fortunate enough to be elected to the school committee, I will proudly represent the taxpayers of Southborough.

Regards,

Jerry

Neil Rossen
10 years ago

MCAS is a standard. Gobron and his allies are opting for something else because they simply cannot perform. Lousy test scores mean weaker property prices and the more we pay the less we get. Jerry C states step increases needs to be addressed town by town. What is stopping Southborough?
Shubu, forget about logic or real numbers. Like most public “servants” , these people simply ignore them for their own measurements.
Gobron is playing pure poliitics. We have it at the state level every few years, but in Southborough we get it every year.
I can only hope that the budget increases are so outrageous that it requires a Prop 2.5 override.

Shubu Mukherjee
10 years ago
Reply to  Neil Rossen

hi Neil,

Dr. Gobron is doing what he is supposed to do … that is, defend the school. Politics or not, that his job and he is very good at it. He deserves credit for doing that.

And, I do have high regard for several teachers in Southborough school system. Opportunities offered to the kids are good as well. Overall, yes, this is a good school system.

Nevertheless, what bothers me is the school system’s blatant disregard of our concern that Southborough’s MCAS scores are unacceptable.

-Shubu

ddubs
10 years ago

I have been reading all of the posts on this subject and have to laugh. First of all even though it is a tough pill to swallow it is not up to the BOS or Advisory to attempt to manage the school budget that is the sole prevue of the school committee. The BOS and Advisory only can go to Town meeting and recommend to either pass the school budget or not. The superintendent and School Committee are responsible to submit a budget that they believe is necessary to educate the children of Southborough. Then it is up to them to defend that budget at Town Meeting and make the argument for it’s passage.
Many posters on this board are speaking of the schools ranking on MCAS which is a tool to measure a schools success. Southborough does not teach to the test they teach to create a lifetime of learning. The Southborough numbers provided by Shubu shows that in 5th grade the Southborough students are 36th in English and 46th in Math and in 8th grade they improve to 17th and 43rd. Mind you there are 351 municipalities within the Commonwealth. So it’s not like they are in the bottom 50 or 60% in fifth grade they are in the top 15%. And in 8th grade they are in the top 6% in English and top 13% in math in the entire state. Then look at where Southborough ranks in per pupil spending and you will find that Southborough is an excellent value.
For this discussion we are looking at only the Southborough budget so the region is not part of the discussion anyway. At the regional level since there is a mixture of the two towns you cannot do the same comparisons. You can and should look at the graduation rate and college acceptances out of Algonquin and you will find education is doing quite well.
Everyone can look at whatever numbers they want to make their argument. And anyone can find numbers to bolster their argument. Since reading the posts on this subject for a while some posters see to “cherry pick” the numbers they want to use to make their point. You should look at the entire educational experience the kids of Southborough have and be thankful because there is not wasteful spending within the Southborough School System as some would have you think.

John Boiardi
10 years ago
Reply to  ddubs

daubs,

How are you so sure there is not wasteful spending within the Southborough school system? Do you have more information than the BOS and are you a member of the administration , the teachers union, a teacher?
I don’t think any one proposing budget cuts refer to wasteful spending. There are economic times when budgets must be reduced to meet incoming revenue or to prevent increasing taxes.. This does not mean ” cut wasteful spending”. Waste should be cut during any economic scenario . Budget cuts, not wasteful cuts, are needed to meet the economic situation. Southborough can not continue to increase school budgets while holding public safety and town services hostage..

ddubs
10 years ago
Reply to  John Boiardi

John B, How are you sure there is “wasteful” spending? What makes you so sure there is any fat to cut? How about other town departments is there wasteful spending there as well? Why is it that you only want to spread the comments that there is wasteful spending at the school level, without any proof of your allegation?

The school department is the only department that I have seen so far that has a less than 1% increase in their budget request. All departments were asked to come in at -1% and police just got + 4%, is there waste in the PD?
Simply because the School Department is the only budget entity that is not controlled by the Advisory and BOS somehow they must be bad. Why is it that all the other departments do not seem to have the same level of scrutiny and distain from you and others.

The School Committee is a duly elected body just like the BOS and each has their own roles and responsibilities. I do not see School Committee members questioning the town budget and demanding reductions like I see the town Advisory and BOS doing to the Schools.

This article was talking about MCAS scores. How does the PD, FD, DPW or Recreation etc. rank among the 351 other communities in the state? Let’s see and debate those figures. Look at your tax rate and then compare the services that you get for those taxes against the other towns and decide how good the town government is. I would suggest the school department ranks much higher statewide than other town departments, that is an assumption on my part but prove me wrong.

John Boiardi
10 years ago
Reply to  ddubs

Ddubs,

You certainly turned that question around. I asked you the question. I never said their is waste. What I do say is that ANY budget can be reduced. When the elected officials such as the BOS tries to hold the line on taxes all departments have to cut. If your household income is reduced you too would cut your spending.
Why don’t you attend PD,FD, and DPW BOS budget meetings? You will find that budgets are cut. Regarding the SC, you are correct, they are responsible for the school budget. As voters we have the right to disagree with their history of yearly budget increases. As professionals I wouldn’t expect them to slack off in their teaching duties if the school budget is reduced. Regarding the other departments you referred to, compare their three year budgets to that of the schools.
As far as rating the other departments we don’t need an MCAS. If the FD gets to your home before it burns down and rescues you, they passed the test. If the PD patrols prevent a burglary , they too pass. If the DPU keeps the roads repaired and cleared of snow, they are doing their job. We don’t need anMCAS or graduation rate to know how they are ranked.
I assume you are a school teacher, or school administrator . Prove me wrong. I also assume that your last name isn’t Mr Ddubs.

ddubs
10 years ago
Reply to  John Boiardi

John, What does it matter what my name is or what I do for work? Somehow would that give more or less credibility to my statements? Or is it just a tool that would be used to bully me if I disagree with you?

I would say that such comments and questions are very disrespectful on what is a very good site to exchange thoughts and ideas.

John Boiardi
10 years ago
Reply to  John Boiardi

Drubs,

I meant no disrespect. Funny, I thought I was being bullied. I do however; disagree with you regarding using names on the blog. It is very easy to criticize comments or ideas on the blog when you do so anonymisly. It is also easy to annoymously criticize comments about an operation or system such as the schools when in fact you might be part of the system.
Blog posts from Al, John B ( the other one), and Neil, et al, carry more weight than anonymous posts such as yours, in my humble but biased opinion.
I will be away so I won’t be able to respond to your anonymous retort.
Respectfully yours
John

Al Hamilton
10 years ago
Reply to  John Boiardi

ddubs

It does matter. Many of us here post under our names. I personally give far more credence to someone who says “This is who I am and this is what I think”.

The first thing think I think when I read an anonymous post is why wont this person tell us who they are? Is this person even a resident? Are they posting because they have an economic interest in the outcome of the debate? Are they posting under multiple sobriquet’s to create the appearance of support for their position?

I do not question your right to post under any name the Susan will allow but I believe that anonymous posters comments and points of view should properly be discounted. If you want to deliver your thoughts with the greatest effectiveness, let the world know who you are.

Neil Rossen
10 years ago
Reply to  ddubs

Teach to “create a lifetime of learning”. What a vague objective. Just what the unions have always wanted. Just pay, and if the MCAS results don’t hack it too bad. Guess that ddubs will “have to laugh”.

Neil Rossen
10 years ago
Reply to  Neil Rossen

ddubs, it does matter what your name is. It is so easy to post comments behind a nom de plume. A real name indicates a degree of conviction. I trust there are no lynch mobs in our gentle town.

ddubs
10 years ago
Reply to  Neil Rossen

Neil, I don’t know Norm d. Plumb and that is not my name i might be a Norma though. ( humor ) But I can tell you that I am interested in the discussion and do have conviction.

Confused
10 years ago
Reply to  ddubs

ddubs-

You are spot on. How can we call this any kind of management by the BOS when they want a 4%+ increase for the Police?

For the past few years, there has been a concerted effort to keep department spending levels low. Watching the BOS televised meetings during budget season has been disappointing to say the least. In my view, there has been very little pressure to keep budgets low.

And the first thing the new fire chief says is he wants to hire two additional firemen? Huh?

Our taxes will skyrocket this year!

Al Hamilton
10 years ago
Reply to  ddubs

ddubs:

The assertion that there is no waste in the K-8 system (or other parts of the Govt) is challenging to prove at best as it requires proving a negative. Contrary to popular belief there are ways to prove or at least partially prove a negative but they are all undone by a single instance of contradictory evidence. I regret to say that that contradictory evidence exists. Let me cite 3 specific examples:

1. In the school year 2002-03 we operated in a 3 school format. (We had a few portables in the system to supplement space) and the Trottier expansion was not yet completed. That year we housed and educated 1614 students (PK-8) This year with 4 schools including an expanded Trottier, we house 1446 students a difference 168 fewer students. And yet we never permit the quesiton of operating in a 3 school format to be seriously discussed and studied.

2. We rent space in Neary to the school district at well below market rates. Prior to moving to Neary the Superintendents office which requires several thousand square feet of space was housed in an office building and was paying much higher rates. Since a significant part of the Superintendents office is devoted to servicing Northborough this represents a subsidy by the taxpayers of Southborough to the taxpayers of Northborough. Given that Northborough charged us 100,000s of thousands of dollars in permit and inspection fees for the construction of Algonquin and has made every effort to shift costs of the High School to Southborough it is an unwarranted gift on our part.

3. To assert that there is no waste we would have to demonstrate that we were the most efficient since being less efficient implies waste. Given that there appear to be school systems (eg Shrewsbury and Sudbury) that have roughly the same scale (if you include Northborough which is fair since we share administration) that produce results that are at least comparable to ours at a lower per student cost we must conclude we are less efficient at education than these systems.

Q.E.D.

Confused
10 years ago
Reply to  John Boiardi

John,

How are YOU so sure there IS wasteful spending in the schools? If three is, PLEASE tell us all exactly what is wasteful and we will all support efforts to stop that spending. Otherwise you’re just creating noise like banging a drum.

Help us all by providing specifics.

Thank you.

John Boiardi
10 years ago
Reply to  Confused

Dear Confused and ddubs,

Both of you must be ventriloquists. You keep putting words in my mouth such as ” wasteful”. When I refer to budget cuts I am not talking about waste I’m talking cuts; period. i.e. cuts to personnel, supplies, administration etc. Apparently you are of a mind that budgets can not be cut back, they are incased in stone. As the manager of any budget there are times when you must make cuts. If there are areas of waste under your perview, you are not a very good manager.
An example of a service that can be compared to a school system would be the US Postoffice( vs our schools). They provide a welcome needed service (ditto).
They are strongly unionized (ditto). They deliver in snow, sleet or hail ( forget the snow). Their costs via postage stamps has been creeping up (ditto school costs). The USPS is being drivin to make cuts ( no waste involved ). No next day delivery , no open Satirdays, increasing costs of stamps. These are cuts. We will still get our mail ( professional teachers will still teach).
Again any budget can be cut when needed.
Referring to th PD, FD, DPU , Buildiing Department budgets. Look at their three year budget totals and compare it to three years of school budgets. You will see which budget is driving taxes higher.
Selectman Roony has spoken to this issue in the past.
I’ll be away for awhile and will not have access to blogomania .
When I get back and have access to the school budget I will suggest areas where the budget could be trimmed. I did that with our previous Superintendat and he accused me of ” micromanaging”.

Al Hamilton
10 years ago
Reply to  ddubs

ddubs

You are only partially correct about the School Committee and the budget.

1. The School Committee has very broad authority with respect to how to spend the school budget that is approved by Town Meeting (and possibly the voters). It enjoys far more latitude in this respect than the BOS.

2. The amount of the School Budget is the sole responsibility of Town Meeting. Town meeting is not even required to consider the budget requested by the School Committee. It can vote and approve a School Budget proposed by the Selectmen, Advisory, or any citizen.

ddubs
10 years ago
Reply to  Al Hamilton

Al, I would disagree with your assessment under point 1. Once the school budget is passed at town meeting it is up to the superintendent to decide how to spend the appropriation. Once general governmant budget gets passed the BOS still oversee’s the spending by the department heads and can cut spending by them as well.

Al Hamilton
10 years ago
Reply to  ddubs

ddubs

We do not elect the Superintendent, we elect the School Committee so we should hold them responsible for the spending decisions even if they are typically made by their employee the Superintendent.

There is a difference however, The SC/Super. is responsible for a budget about 3 times larger than all the budgets the BOS is responsible for. The BOS cannot move funds between the Fire Dept and the Police Department (except under some very limited end of year adjustments) or between any other two departments. The SC/Super has considerably more latitude since we only approve a single budget. The SC/Super can move monies between schools and between functions (eg move money from payroll to maintenance).

John Boiardi
10 years ago

PS mr Ddubs,

The Advisory Committe charter calls for them to advise town meeting on warrants, even the school committee warrant. Also the charter calls for and allows them to review all budget data even that of the SC.

ddubs
10 years ago
Reply to  John Boiardi

John, what makes you think I am a Mr.?

ForcedtoPrivate
10 years ago

I’d like to offer a perspective that is missing from this debate. How many Southborough families have taken their kids out of the public school and sent them to private because they were unhappy with the school? I know I did. It is a huge financial burden for our family (and moving is not an option given real estate prices), especially since we moved to Southborough because it supposedly had a great school system. In my experience, they WERE “teaching to the test.” My child would come home with lists of spelling words with no in-class practice related to their meanings (in response to my question about this, the teacher told me that my child should use a dictionary), lists of history facts without any context, and repetitive/redundant math drills that turned my math-loving child into a math-hater. Were there also some good experiences? Of course. But not enough. The Southborough school nearly sucked the “lifelong learner” out of my child, and I just couldn’t let that happen. So now on top of private school tuition, we pay a lot of tax dollars (and can’t even reap one of the main promised benefits, since to us, it wasn’t a benefit at all).

Confused
10 years ago

ForcedtoPrivate,

You bring up an issue that is hardly ever discussed. Over the years, many parents of outstanding students have complained to me that the schools do very little to engage the top students in the schools.

SB Resident
10 years ago

I agree with much of what you said, but don’t think that this is a Southborough issue. It’s a standardized test/no child left behind issue. You could move, but you’d get the same anywhere you went, and probably worse since Southborough does try to skirt the line between maintaining decent scores and doing it the right way.

Al Hamilton
10 years ago
Reply to  SB Resident

SB Resident

I am not sure what you mean by “doing it the right way”. How will I as a taxpayer know if our education is “done the right way”? What metrics specific to the K-8 system would you propose to use? How should those metrics be interpreted?

SB Resident
10 years ago

By doing it the right way, I mean making every educational decision with the best interest of each child in mind, not the taxpayers. By teaching in a way that doesn’t do exactly what forcedtoprivate suggests we are doing.

Al, I generally respect most of what you have to say on this blog, you provide the fairest arguments to your points and even a dash of humour, but with that said, I could write a big long post answering the rest of your questions, but I’m sure I wouldn’t change your mind. I will say there was a reason that education was once intended to be left to the local government and there is already a whole lot of information out there on the web describing all the flaws with standardized testing and the strictly defined curriculum’s that go along with them. They are a disservice to our children and anyone who thinks that quality of education is in any way tied to the results is foolish.

You will know the schools are doing their job if the parents are happy with their children’s progress, and as long as that’s the case the towns reputation will flourish and so will our property values. My defence of the schools stems from the fact that it has been my experience that the parents in this town are very happy.

Shubu Mukherjee
10 years ago
Reply to  SB Resident

Therein lies the fundamental problem. Parents’ happiness != student excellence compared to the rest of the world.

-Shubu

Neil Rossen
10 years ago
Reply to  SB Resident

Oh, so price performance does not enter into the equation SBR? The parents are happy is fine even if the results do not measure up. Just pump in more money which seems futile. Why does the USS spend more $ per head than elsewhere? And get less. Well, I guess the union and Gobron have persuaded you.

Al Hamilton
10 years ago
Reply to  SB Resident

SB

I would be the first to admit that MCAS is not the only metric of a school system.

Your metric would be parental happiness with the school system. We might meaningfully measure this in a survey of all parents (including the ones that do not have children in our schools). I would certainly want such a survey to be done by a neutral 3rd party. However, how would you interpret the results? I think it would be necessary to do same survey of peer parent groups in other towns to see if we were doing a better or worse job of satisfying parents.

There are lots of things that might increase parental satisfaction without any educational impact (eg free extended day services, or grade inflation).

Beyond that parents do not run the schools, they represent only about 1/3 of the households in town. Shouldn’t the other 2/3 also be surveyed to see if they are satisfied? They are after all being asked to pay thousands of dollars per year to support the schools.

I find this objection to testing bewildering. Yes, I have a strong bias in favor of metrics. But, when it comes to the schools and what they do, they test continuously. This is being done to measure whether they are effectively transferring knowledge and to identify areas where a student might need help. We all remember the weekly quizzes and unit tests. But if we do testing to see if the school system is effectively transferring knowledge or if parts of its curriculum need help those that believe in this process are derided as unknowing Luddites intent on destroying schools and turning our children into unthinking automatons.

Continuous assessment is absolutely necessary to process improvement. The old adage that, “You cant manage what you cant measure” remains true. MCAS is not a perfect tool but it is one of the tools we have.

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