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It was money, not MCAS, that drove gains of education reform

Globe Photo/File

I agree with Martha M. Walz and Juana B. Matias on one point: that “too many low-income and students of color have dramatically different educational outcomes than their white and higher-income peers” (“It takes more than dollars to fix a broken school system”). I disagree that “academic performance can be substantially improved without a massive infusion of funds.”

Much of the progress made since the Education Reform Act had everything to do with “a massive infusion of funds” to districts with students who are low-income, English-language learners, black, and Latinx. It had little to do with MCAS or punitive interventions.


MCAS scores are terrible measures of school success or failure. What they do best is measure a community’s wealth and investment in education.

The problem is not that there is too little accountability or state intervention. It’s that the vast inequities that inspired the Education Reform Act have returned, leaving our students without the supports they need. A bipartisan commission concluded that schools need at least $1 billion to $2 billion a year more in state funds to do the job expected of them.

Lawrence and Boston students deserve the same opportunities enjoyed by Wellesley and Weston students. We’ve tried over-testing and starving them of basic resources. It’s time to give every district the funds needed to educate every child.

Lisa Guisbond

Executive director

Citizens for Public Schools