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May 31, 2008


The truth

Funny how people hate being held accountable! If you test students and they fail who is held accountable?

Not True

Pollack says that education are tied directly to property taxes. That policy ensures that the poorer the community, the more likely it is that the education system will be bad. Somerville has a better education system than Boston. But it does not have a better system than Arlington.

Boston has an enormous corporate tax base and high value residential real estate. The city of Boston also receives state and federal grants for their school system. The town of Lexington, long considered one of the best school systems in the state, spends less than half per student than Boston does, yet it has a much better program. That has nothing to do with money.

If we take what Pollack says at face value then we say that Somervile is a more affluent city than Boston. I think very few will believe that.

It's not about the money spent in the system, it's about the interaction between the family and the school.

Please stop lying about the correlation between money spent and the quality of the school system.


“In Somerville, like in any other city, the MCAS narrows the curriculum,” he said. “The idea of driving education towards the test is a bad idea.”

There's a short circuit in the reasoning here.
The idea was to drive education toward the curriculum. The extent to which you have taught the curriculum is assessed by MCAS tests. If the speaker objects to the curriculum he should say so, but it doesn't have the rhetorical p'nash.

"The idea of driving education towards the curriculum is a bad idea," sounds kind of daft, but that's what he's really saying.

Courtney O'Keefe

Being a former educator, I can say first-hand that most schools are teaching towards this test. By "towards this test," I mean the children are learning how to take the test and pass. They are not learning content, it is not paralleled with the standards and frameworks designed by the Department of Education, and it is not holding them accountable for anything. If you want a system like MCAS, it should be pass/fail and unpublished.


To Not True: I partially agree with you. It's not all about money, but money is correlated. Homogenous surburbs that have a large population of highly educated people generally have a larger population of people that are involved in their children's education. Those areas generally have more money.

Also, they don't have to spend as much per student on average to get many of the luxuries, because they have the education more streamlined. Areas that have to cater to students of many levels (special ed all the way up to honors) have to spend much more per student on average. In other words, you spend less if you have fewer levels of education (fewer teachers, books, facilities, etc).

Boston is a bad example of an affluent area. For one, most of the affluent people in Boston do not have children. Second, there is still a large population of people with modest/low income.

William Hurst

Courtney, what difference does it make if a childs' education is geared towards passing the MCAS? They are still having a hard time passing the MCAS. Some students are having a hard time with simple basic math.
Why is it that only cities and towns whose children have a hard time with the MCAS are the only ones to complain.
Perhaps the real problem with the MCAS is with the educators themselves, crying about a simple test. Or is it the lack of parental involvement? The majority of cities and towns whose children cannot pass the MCAS have the highest rate of children with IEPs' and other learning disabilities. They also have the highest rate of Parents with the "Who cares what my child learns, I am not a teacher that is your job" attitude.
Children with high MCAS test scores can go to college and receive a free education courtesy of our State Universities.


"Why is it that only cities and towns whose children have a hard time with the MCAS are the only ones to complain."

Are you kidding us?

William Hurst

I'm sorry Kate, I do not "kid around" I must have been misinformed. Perhaps you can share with us the names of school systems with high MCAS test scores that are complaining? My opinion of this matter is based on the information given to me by a High School teacher. If my nephew is lying to me, then I apologise for misleading you.


I agree.

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