Budget Woes: Massachusetts delays debut of MCAS history exam by 2 years

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Andrew Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr., and Franklin D. Roosevelt will have to wait for a place in the state's 10th-grade MCAS exams, after the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education decided yesterday to delay the history test's premiere as a high school graduation requirement.

The board voted 8 to 2 to put off the exam for at least two years because of concerns that state budget cuts would leave the agency without enough money to administer the test. They also questioned the wisdom of asking local school districts to do more at a time when cuts threaten their ability to comply with other state and federal mandates.

The vote followed a recommendation by Commissioner Mitchell Chester, who emphasized that the agency was not watering down standards and remained committed to developing the test.

"I have not come to this decision lightly," Chester said. Later, he added: "We are heading into tough waters fiscally in the state over the next several years. To me, it's a matter of fairness."

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