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Keller @ Large: Back to school MCAS and education reform discussion

Keller @ Large: What's gone wrong in 30 years since Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993?
Keller @ Large: What's gone wrong in 30 years since Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993? 04:43

BOSTON - Students of all ages are heading back to school and WBZ TV Political Analyst Jon Keller is looking at what's gone wrong since the Massachusetts Education Reform Act was passed 30 years ago.

Massachusetts had its worst showing in 20 years in the latest math and reading test scores for fourth and eighth graders. Black and Latino students saw an alarming downturn with their scores.

Keller spoke with Oscar Santos, the executive director of the Center for Collaborative Education, a non-profit that works with school systems to promote community engagement and education excellence. He's also the former superintendent of Randolph Schools and a former Boston Teacher of the Year. Keller asked Santos what went wrong in the 30 years since the Education Reform Act was passed.

"While I think it was very well-intentioned, we have one key aspect we have a chance to address today. It's community voice and ownership," said Santos. "It's really making sure students, families and community members really are at the table helping design policies, practices and systems for collective accountability. That's really one of the opportunities that I think exists 30 years later."

"I happen to think the MCAS did provide a great of excitement around change," said Michael Contompasis, a former teacher and headmaster of Boston Latin School. He also served as Boston Public Schools' superintendent from 2005 to 2007. "Is it a perfect system? No. But it did, for the first time, bring a level of accountability to all of the educators within every district in the Commonwealth."

Keller also spoke with Santos and Contompasis about what can be done about improving education, including the recent push to get rid of the MCAS graduation requirement.

Part 2: What can be done about the downturn in achievement for many Massachusetts students?

Keller @ Large: What can be done about downturn in achievement for many Mass. students? 04:56
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