MCAS scores do not deserve celebration


To the Editor:

The MCAS scores that measured how well our children are doing in school were released last week. MCAS exams are the state’s standards‑based student assessment programs. Superintendent of schools James Weiss indicated that, “I was very pleased with the MCAS scores for the Island’s schools”. Assistant superintendent Laurie Halt remarked “we did incredibly well.”

Did you educators actually read and analyze the results? Thirty one percent of the third grade students in Edgartown need substantial improvement in math; 51 percent of the students in Edgartown need substantial improvement in fifth grade science and technology; 47 percent of the Edgartown students require substantial improvement in eighth grade math. Not to be outdone, 52 percent of the eighth grade students in Tisbury need substantial improvement in science and technology.

At the end of the school year few, if any, of our local students get acceptances from the Ivy League colleges or even other top schools. They usually go to small community colleges that no one has heard of except the residents of the town where they are located.

Yet, to be fair, our local schools do excel in one category — sports. Whether it is baseball, football, or whatever, our students do win the championships. The conclusion is that our people attend no reputable colleges and find themselves applying for their first full-time job with the explanation that “my schools in the Vineyard do not do that well in education, and my SATs were nothing special, but my high school won a lot of sports championships.” I do not think that will get our local students those much-desired employment positions.

Of those of our children that have the resources, they flock to Falmouth Academy whose students excel in learning, but alas do not win many sports championships. Playing sports is important, but isn’t it secondary to actually learning English, math, and science?

To our school officials and teachers: Where are your priorities? Judging by the results of the MCAS scores, you are lacking in the leadership and skill for which you were hired.

Michael Murphy