Op-ed: Voc-tech schools are a Mass. success story

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Read this entire op-ed online at CommonWealth Magazinethe New Bedford Standard Times, The Berkshire Eagle, and The Salem News.

Written by Tom Birmingham

MASSACHUSETTS VOCATIONAL-TECHNICAL high schools are like the person who toils for years, only to be termed an “overnight sensation” when he or she finally achieves recognition. For over a decade the schools have quietly compiled an impressive record, and the time has come to expand them.

Voc-tech schools were once among the staunchest opponents of MCAS and of holding their students to the same standards as those at other public high schools. School leaders sincerely doubted that voc-tech students, many of whom entered the schools with reading skills that were at least two years below grade level, could match the performance of their comprehensive high school peers.

But once the decision to apply the same standards and accountability to all students was made in 1993, voc-techs’ response demonstrated that attitude matters when confronting a challenge. The schools did everything they could to help their students succeed. In 2006, former Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School superintendent Eugene Carlo said, “MCAS was the best thing that ever happened to us.” Today, voc-tech MCAS scores are about equal to the statewide average. Read more in CommonWealth Magazine...

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