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Test of wills

Massachusetts Gov. Paul A. Cellucci received a report card last week from a group of Boston public school students that he is unlikely to post on his refrigerator door.

The Republican governor earned failing marks in consulting and listening to parents, providing urban students with resources, and supporting public education, according to the Boston-based Center for Teen Empowerment, a group that organizes youths in the city schools.

Along with the report card, 20 members of the group delivered 800 student letters criticizing the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, a series of state exams given to 4th, 8th, and 10th graders, during a visit to the governor's office June 5. They also challenged the governor to take the high school MCAS exam.

Gov. Paul A. Cellucci

Mr. Cellucci responded by telling local reporters that he would not take the exam, but that the governor faces a test in the voting booth every four years that is "a lot harder than the MCAS."

William Hartford, a high school freshman who helped deliver the letters, said the tests should not be required for graduation, as they are slated to be next year. "The governor should talk to the youth and find out how they feel about the test," he said.

In May, two charter school teachers, who are among a contingent of educators who have been protesting the MCAS this spring, offered adults a chance to take sample questions on the Statehouse steps. They invited state education leaders, lawmakers, and the governor to try, but only three legislators and no one from the state school board or education department took them up on it.

A spokeswoman for the governor said last week that Mr. Cellucci had not yet responded to the students' letters, but considers the MCAS an effective and fairly administered assessment.

—John Gehring

Vol. 19, Issue 40, Page 14

Published in Print: June 14, 2000, as State Journal

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