Understanding MassCore: Why Adopt?

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Why Adopt MassCore?

Part 2 of our mini-series on MassCore features a podcast with Paul Reville. Paul is the Francis Keppel Professor of Practice of Educational Policy and Administration at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), where he is the founder of HGSE's Education Redesign Lab. As the former Chair of the state Board of Education, and later Secretary of Education under Governor Deval Patrick, Paul was a key architect and advocate for the state-wide adoption of the MassCore framework in high schools.

In this podcast interview with Jill Shah, Paul tackles topics that are key to understanding the intentions and context for this policy, such as:

  • The role of globalization and the standards movement in the crafting of the MassCore policy;

  • How and why the state viewed MassCore through a lens of educational equity;

  • Why MassCore was a recommended—rather than required—framework for a high school diploma; and,

  • The challenges of MassCore adoption, particularly in Boston Public Schools.

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Paul also speaks brilliantly about the need for communities and schools to embrace a mission on behalf of students that extends well beyond academic preparation. Drawing on his current work in the Education Redesign Lab, he challenges us to consider how adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress, resulting from poverty and trauma, impact a student’s readiness to learn at their fullest potential each day.

Paul reminds us that policies like MassCore can only be successfully implemented in low-income communities if there is also a robust political and social strategy to ensure that the critical needs of the whole-child are being met. That’s exactly the kind of clarion call that we will continue to champion with all of our friends and partners who are eager to support improvements in BPS’ system of high schools.