A voice for MCAS perspective

Wednesday, June 13
The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System test is here to stay for public school students, but efforts can still be made to redirect it to its original mission to evaluate the progress of schools and students and away from the end-all-and-be-all of education that it has become. Governor Patrick's appointment of Ruth Kaplan, the cofounder of the Alliance for the Education of the Whole Child and an MCAS opponent, as the Massachusetts Parent Teachers Association to the state Board of Education, will give a voice to those who believe that MCAS has too narrowed the focus of education by forcing teachers to build classwork around a standardized test that will determine if students are able to graduate. Not every student tests well and not every test teaches everything a student needs to learn. We hope Ms. Kaplan, will help introduce some needed flexibility to an education system that is becoming dangerously rigid.

A solid affordable housing project

The multi-family housing unit proposed for Bradford and Center Streets granted a special permit by the Community Development Board will provide much-needed affordable housing for Pittsfield while bringing more people to live downtown, contributing to its revival. The shortage of affordable housing is a serious problem for Pittsfield as it seeks to bring new business into town, and this project, proposed by Beth A. Pearson, developer of the Maplewood Condominium project, will play a big part in addressing it. Downtown requires residents along with businesses and cultural institutions, and this project will answer that need while giving a boost to the economically struggling West Side. Considering the advantages of the project, we hope the city will grant a requested affordable housing bonus to build 11 additional units and provide a waiver of the on-site parking requirements, given the availability of on-street parking.


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