By Priscila Sousa
FRAMINGHAM – Today’s vote by the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education increasing the MCAS test score required to graduate high school is disappointing.
Passing the MCAS as a graduation requirement sets a bar for a high school diploma that many qualified intelligent neurodivergent children cannot reach and denies our gifted students the curriculum diversity they require.
As a long time advocate for special education, I am hard pressed to find a single family who does not hold their breath when their IEP student reaches the 10th grade because of the MCAS. Their entire lives are altered because the lens through which they’re evaluated is too narrow. Their ability to get jobs, pursue higher education and build their lives is in jeopardy unless they are good test takers for this one test.
We have been told time and time again that there can be no alternative to the MCAS graduation requirement to prove readiness, and suddenly at the height of the pandemic an alternative was implemented. I have spoken to dozens of families who tell me today that had it not been for those alternatives, their intelligent and academically competent child would not have received a diploma this year. While relieved for those families, these exchanges also highlight how many students have been left behind over the years because there was no alternative.
Leaving children behind because a needlessly inflexible requirement should give every leader in education pause.
As state representative, I will advocate for all students, especially our neurodivergent and gifted students, to ensure we have an education system that gives every kid a fair shot at success.
Priscila Sousa, chair of the Framingham School Committee, is a candidate for state representative for the 6th Middlesex District. You can reach Priscila at 508-250-9439
or email@example.com and visit her website at www.priscilaforframingham.com.