Petition started to halt MSA testing

Parents and educators in Montgomery County have started a petition to halt the administration of the Maryland School Assessments this school year, a multi-million dollar expense they say is a waste of schools' time and taxpayer money as the state transitions to a new curriculum.

The petition, called "Cancel the MSA," was started by Tiferet Ani, who identified herself as a Montgomery County teacher who opposed the state's decision to give the MSAs -- administered in reading and math to students in third through eighth grade -- though the scores will have virtually no stakes attached.

The state transitioned to new curricula aligned with Common Core standards this year, and will  launch brand new tests called PARCC assessments next year.

Last year, MSA scores dropped throughout the state amid the transition to the Common Core, and officials attributed the backslide to the misalignment of what students were learning and being tested on. 

State officials said they are giving the assessments -- a $6 million expense -- this year to comply with federal law. They said the results might also produce valuable data.

Ani said the state's decision, "an irresponsible waste of tax payer money and instructional time to administer this test."

The petition started Wednesday, and by Thursday there were 342 signatures. The goal is 400, according to the petition, though that may be a moving target.

The group plans to present the petition to State Superintendent Lillian Lowery, Gov. Martin O'Malley and other lawmakers and state education officials.

You can access the petition here.

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