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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Testing empowers parents

Testing enables social justice, argues Keri Rodrigues, founder and CEO of Massachusetts Parents United in CommonWealth Magazine.

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Minority and low-income parents need to know how their children are doing in school, she writes in response to an anti-testing piece by Lisa Guisbond, who represents FairTest and Citizens for Public Schools.

Testing has helped improve achievement in Massachusetts schools over the last 25 years, argues Rodrigues. The state ranks first in the nation in fourth- and eighth-grad math and reading. But low-income students are on the wrong side of a large achievement gap.

. . . testing and accountability is a matter of social justice – providing a critical tool for parents to be able to determine whether their children are getting the educational experience they have been promised. . . . (Parents) need data to be able to act. We cannot become complacent with major gaps between the achievement of our poor black and brown students and our white and more wealthy students.

An American Federation of Teachers organizer said at a meeting that students might “feel hurt” to know their school had been labeled underperforming, writes Rodrigues. As a parent of three school-age children, she worries “more about the hurt my kids will feel after being failed by their schools and inadequately prepared to launch into their future.”

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