Wednesday, April 21, 2021

MA news: Mass. board of education approves two major changes


"For the first time since the MCAS became a graduation requirement in 2003, high school juniors will be exempt from having to pass the exam to receive their diploma.

The state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education unanimously approved the waiver on Tuesday. State Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley said the massive academic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic made it necessary to suspend the requirement.

If not for the pandemic, juniors would have taken their 10th grade math and English MCAS exams last year. But when the tests were canceled, it meant they would not have at least three chances to take the tests and, if needed, receive academic support before graduation."
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"State education officials on Tuesday approved preliminary changes to the admissions process at vocational high schools aimed at giving disadvantaged students a better chance of attending.

The unanimous vote by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education came after members and advocates criticized the current criteria as unfair to students of color, low-income students, English learners, and students with disabilities, depriving them of an important career pathway.

The draft regulations, which were recommended by education Commissioner Jeff Riley, would eliminate the current requirement that vocational schools consider grades, attendance, discipline records, and recommendations from guidance counselors. Instead, the schools would be able to set their own criteria for admissions as long as those policies follow state and federal laws, lead to student demographics that are “comparable” to their communities’ school districts, don’t disproportionately deny admission to students from marginalized groups, and “promote equitable access for all students.”
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