Walz: Moratorium on testing is no way to measure how well money is spent

This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Boston Globe

IN “THE voters were clear: Support public schools” (Opinion, March 15), Barbara Madeloni,president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, supports more money for schools through the Fair Share Amendment, which would raise taxes on millionaires, and a moratorium on using assessment tests to hold schools accountable for academic results.

Madeloni wants more money with no way to measure whether it is well spent. This is bad for kids, and it’s a lousy way to persuade people to vote for more taxes.

As a progressive Democrat, I believe public schools should be well funded and support the Fair Share Amendment. I also believe our government should be accountable for the quality of its services.

Voters will be loath to support the Fair Share Amendment unless they are confident that the money it generates will be well spent by schools. Massachusetts has large achievement gaps between wealthy and poor students; doing more of the same, but with more money and less transparency, is a disaster for kids.

Madeloni curiously uses national survey data to support the claim that Massachusetts voters oppose using test results to measure school effectiveness. Fortunately, MassINC recently polled Massachusetts voters about this, and found that 76 percent of Massachusetts voters see test scores as either “very important” or “somewhat important” sources of information regarding school quality.

Voters rightly want tax dollars spent to improve schools. They deserve to see measurable results on that investment.

Martha M. Walz

Boston

Walz is a former state representative and former cochair of the Joint Committee on Education.