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ERIC Number: EJ833444
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Accountability Overboard
Chieppo, Charles D.; Gass, James T.
Education Next, v9 n2 p18-27 Spr 2009
This article reports that special interest groups opposed to charter schools and high-stakes testing have hijacked Massachusetts's once-independent board of education and stand poised to water down the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests and the accountability system they support. President Barack Obama and Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick are both brilliant orators who espouse the "politics of hope." Both know about hope firsthand, having overcome less-than-privileged backgrounds to achieve great success. Patrick calls education his "singular pursuit." Yet after winning election in a 2006 landslide fueled by strong support from the Bay State's powerful teachers unions--including $3 million in contributions--he has pursued the systematic dismantling of reforms that have made Massachusetts the national leader in public education. The Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 dramatically increased school funding in return for high academic standards, accountability, and enhanced school choice. In the years following, the Commonwealth's independent board of education, founded in 1837 with Horace Mann at the helm, implemented a set of reforms that have unquestionably been the nation's most successful. In 2005, Massachusetts became the first state ever to finish first in four categories of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Despite the clear success of more than a decade of education reform in Massachusetts, Governor Patrick's administration has turned its back on the very forces behind that success: it is wavering on standards, choice is under continual fire, and the board of education has been stripped of the independence that for 170 years was Mann's legacy and had allowed the board to implement reform with a singular focus on improving student achievement. (Contains 3 figures.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 4; Grade 8
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System