Monday, August 27, 2018

Teachers Union Pres. Calls on Candidates to Support Kline’s Education Plan

Teachers Union Pres. Calls on Candidates to Support Kline’s Education Plan
Proposal would end high-stakes testing, create new Whole Child Learning grant program

NORTHAMPTON – President Beth Kontos of the American Federation of Teachers - Mass. threw her support behind an education proposal put forth by Chelsea Kline, a Democratic candidate for State Senate, and called on the other candidates in the race to publicly declare their support for the plan.

“Chelsea’s proposal presents a bold progressive vision for the future of public education. Teachers strive to nurture curiosity and critical thinking in their students, but instead, we have been told by the state to teach to a test that doesn’t accurately measure student learning,” said President Kontos. “Rather than spending more money on tests, Chelsea’s plan will invest in the resources our schools and students need to thrive. With so much at stake in this election, I call on every candidate to publicly declare their support for this ambitious proposal.”

“I am proud to have the support of AFT Massachusetts educators for my plan to end high-stakes testing, reinvest in our local schools, and once again lead the nation in public education,” said Kline. “If elected, I will file this legislation on Day 1 as your Senator. I hope my fellow candidates will join me in supporting this proposal.”

The state is slated to spend more than $32 million in the coming year on the state exams, known as MCAS. That figure does not include classroom time spent preparing for and administering the exam. Kline’s plan would redirect those funds toward student-centered approaches to education, including:
  • $2 million to the Massachusetts Consortium for Innovation in Education Assessment (MCIEA) to develop a more fair, accurate, and locally controlled accountability system
  • $30 million for a Whole Child Learning grant program for school districts. Grants could be used to fund social workers, social and emotional learning programs, special education programs, English language learning programs, or programs designed to support low-income students, like breakfast in the classroom.
The MCAS exam, first designed in the 1990s, has faced withering criticism from educators and researchers who say the results are mostly due to family income, parental educational attainment, and other factors outside of school and unrelated to student learning.

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