A public hearing has just been announced for An Act responding to the COVID-19 emergency by instituting a moratorium of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System.
Hearing details: The Education Committee will accept testimony via email only until Monday, August 10 at 5:00 p.m.
A summary of the bill is below:
Section 1. Inserts the following new sections into Section 37, Chapter 69 of the General Laws:
Section 37(a). Places a four-year moratorium on the MCAS graduation requirement, as established in subsection (i) of section one D of chapter 69. The moratorium, including in all subsequent sections below, would be in effect for the academic years from 2020-2021 through 2023-2024.
Section 37(b). Places a four-year moratorium on the use of MCAS results in educator evaluations, including formative evaluation, formative assessment, or summative evaluation.
Section 37(c). Places a four-year moratorium on the use of MCAS results in school and school district accountability measures, as established in section 1J or section 1K of chapter 69.
Section 2. Requires the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education to request a four-year waiver from the U.S. Department of Education of federal student assessment requirements. This would allow the state to suspend administration of the MCAS.
Section 3(a). Establishes a Special Commission to reassess the state’s approach to school and district performance, including school district goals, academic indicators, evaluation and testing. The legislation requires the Commission to consider potential performance indicators such as social, emotional and physical health, the arts and creative expression, and communication and social skills in addition to traditional academic indicators. The commission includes six members of the legislature, including the Education Chairs (who chair the Commission) and Speaker and Senate President (or their designees), as well as representatives of various education-related organizations. DESE will provide administrative support for the commission. The Commission must file its final report with recommended legislation no later than December 31, 2022.
Section 3(b). Creates a grant program enabling local school district task forces to develop alternative school and district models for goal setting, student assessment and evaluation. The task forces will submit findings, reports and recommendations to the commission. The grant program will be funded from the 21st Century Education Trust Fund established in the Student Opportunity Act, with grants limited to no more than $15,000 per district.
Section 3(c). The local school district assessment task forces shall be set up in up to 25 school districts, with the requirement that grants be distributed throughout the state, including regional school districts, economically-disadvantaged districts, and districts with a high proportion of English-language learners. The task forces will include the school committee, local educators union, parents, educators and staff, and community members.
Section 3(d) Requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to submit progress reports to the Commission.
Please email testimony to House Chair Alice Peisch at Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov and Senate Chair Jason Lewis at Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov.
Please use the subject line: Education Committee Testimony: S.2814.When submitting, please provide the Committee with your name, organization (if applicable), and phone number. Please feel free to CC Jo.Comerford@masenate.gov on your testimony or email me with any questions.
More information: https://senatorjocomerford.org/mcas-moratorium-bill-hearing/.