Tonight: Join us to celebrate Education Week’s 2021 Leaders To Learn From. Register to attend the gala.
School & District Management

Mass. Chief to Step Down

By Jessica L. Tonn — November 03, 2006 1 min read

David P. Driscoll, who announced last week that he will retire in August 2007 from his post as Massachusetts’ commissioner of education, knows that the reactions to his departure will be mixed.

“Much of the success we have experienced … has resulted from mandates—the ‘stick’ approach,” he said last week at a press conference in his Malden office, referring to the controversial state standards and assessments adopted during his eight-year tenure.

Indeed, the 64-year-old schools chief has ruffled more than a few feathers across the Bay State.

“Commissioner Driscoll cooperated with a very right-wing [state] board of education to push through harmful policies,” especially requiring high school students to pass the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, or MCAS, in mathematics and language arts in order to graduate, said Monty Neill, the director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Authentic Reform in Education. The statewide group opposes high-stakes testing.

Despite such criticism, one thing is certain: Test scores have gone up.

In 1998, 72 percent of the state’s 10th graders passed the state’s language arts test, and 48 percent passed the mathematics test. In 2006, those percentages had risen to 93 percent and 88 percent, respectively.

In addition, Massachusetts’ 4th and 8th graders ranked first in reading and tied for first in math on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress exams. It was the first time that one state came in first or tied for first on four of the exams in one year.

And that progress in raising test scores has earned the chief the praise of national education figures.

In an interview last week, Kati Haycock, the director of the Education Trust, a Washington-based research and advocacy group for disadvantaged students, called Mr. Driscoll an “unusually ethical, unusually committed, unusually smart education leader.”

A version of this article appeared in the November 08, 2006 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Wanted: Superintendents to Lead Districts Through the End of a Pandemic
Former superintendents say there are signs when it's time to move on. Their replacements are more likely to be greenhorns, experts say.
4 min read
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner speaks at a news conference at the school district headquarters in Los Angeles on March 13, 2020. Beutner will step down as superintendent after his contract ends in June, he announced Wednesday, April 21, 2021.
Austin Beutner, the superintendent of Los Angeles Unified, will step down after his contract ends in June.
Damian Dovarganes/AP
School & District Management Has COVID-19 Led to a Mass Exodus of Superintendents?
This year has been exhausting for superintendents. Some experts say they're seeing an unusually high number of resignations this spring.
5 min read
Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Janice K. Jackson, right, speaks on Feb. 11, 2021, during a news conference at the William H. Brown Elementary School in Chicago. In-person learning for students in pre-k and cluster programs began Thursday, since the district's agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union was reached.
Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Janice K. Jackson, right, announced earlier this week that she would depart the school system. Jackson, who assumed the superintendency in 2018, has worked for more than 20 years in CPS.
Shafkat Anowar
School & District Management Most Schools Offer at Least Some In-Person Classes, According to Feds' Latest Count
A majority of 4th and 8th graders had at least some in-person schooling by March, but inequities persisted.
3 min read
Image shows empty desks in a classroom.
Chris Ryan/OJO Images
School & District Management Opinion Education Researchers Should Think More About Educators: Notes From AERA
Steve Rees, founder of School Wise Press, posits AERA reflects a community of researchers too focused on what they find interesting.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty