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State of Massachusetts Rejects Common Core Tests TRANSCRIPT:

ALISON STEWART, PBS ANCHOR: The often contentious debate about national educational standards and testing kids has taken another twist in a state considered to be a leader in education reform.

Massachusetts last week decided to reject the tests based on federal Common Core standards, tests that are still used in many other states. Instead, the state of Massachusetts will develop its own exams to measure student progress.

New York Times reporter Kate Zernike is covering this story and joins me now. And Kate, what’s great about you is that you wrote for The Boston Globe for years. So, you have been covering this for a long time.


ALISON STEWART: What was the catalyst in Massachusetts that made the board say, hey, we want to create our own test, which is kind of a hybrid thing as opposed to sticking with the multi-state test?

KATE ZERNIKE: Well, I think it just came under a lot of political fire. And like other places in the country, the fire came not just from the left or the right, but from both sides.

And really from the middle from a lot of parents who didn’t feel they had a really good argument on why we would want a national test which might allow us to compare to other states.

So you had the right saying this is federal overreach, you had teachers unions saying this is – you’re trying to be punitive, you are trying to tie this to teachers’ evaluations.

Then a lot of parents who are saying what is the point of a national test anyway whether we have one to begin with?


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