When I was a kid, I loved spring. It meant longer days, the start of the Red Sox season, and that extra jump in my step that signified the arrival of the Easter Bunny. Now that I’m a mother, I hate it. And it’s not just because it means I can no longer hide my winter weight behind bulky sweaters. No sir; I dread spring for a much bigger reason — it is the time for MCAS Testing.
The experts say MCAS stands for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). In my home it stands for Mother Could Actually Stroke. The very thought of the MCAS brings sheer terror to my two already anxious children, making them very difficult to deal with. Of course, the school rumor mill doesn’t help lessen their anxiety.
“Mom, kids say that if I don’t pass this test, I won’t be able to graduate or have children.”
The anxiety for us mothers who have to deal with MCAS panic is pretty high as well. In fact, imperfect studies have shown that there is a surge in alcohol and pharmaceutical sales during MCAS season. Many of us have even resorted to desperate measures to get our children to pass. “Look, Mrs. Crabapple, if you give the kid some answers, I’ll throw in a little extra something with your apple this year. If you know what I’m saying.”
Last year, after several unsuccessful attempts (and strokes) my daughter, Katie, finally passed the MCAS Math test, making her eligible to get her diploma with her classmates this spring. We were all thrilled and relieved, especially me. “GINA GALLAGHER, YOUR DAUGHTER KATIE JUST PASSED THE MCAS MATH TEST AFTER 75,000 ATTEMPTS. WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO NOW?”
“I’m checking into rehab!”
With one MCAS graduate, I now only have one more child who has to deal with it — my eigth grader, Emily. Unfortunately, she is even more anxious and gullible than Katie about the test. “Mom, is it true you go on Death Row if you don’t pass?”
She was a nervous wreck when I sent her off to school this morning with a pack of erasers, a healthy snack, and a fifth of vodka (just kidding, it was rum). If I could have done anything to get her out of the test, I would have. Lord knows, I tried.
“Look, Ms. Bliss, Emily can’t take the MCAS test today. Her dog ate her number 2 pencils.”
“Mr. Custodian, I’ll give you $100 bucks if you pull the fire alarm.”
But sadly, no matter how much I try to shield her from the anxiety of this test, there’s nothing I can do. I’ll just have to there for her and assure her that everything will be OK.
“Honey, I swear, you only need a license and blood test to get married; you don’t have to show your MCAS scores. Daddy and I never would have qualified to marry.”
Tell me how do you feel about MCAS or your state’s assessment test?