MCAS-Alt Truth or Dare

By Gina Graves 

 I am the parent of a student who has been on MCAS-Alt. I begged and asked for years will my son get a High School diploma?.
YES, SOME students on MCAS-Alt do get a diploma.
Hmmm what about mine? Will he ever get one?
As a parent, I was devastated when MCAS came around. MCAS further disabled our children who were unable to pass the MCAS due to cognitive abilities. YET, their solution was MCAS-ALT.
Which the underlying meaning was – He will get a “Certificate of Attendance”.
By 10th grade my son finally had a chance to take a Physics MCAS.
Not the MCAS –Alt, with only a few weeks to practice, he failed.
Then the following year I asked again.
Please let him try the Math-MCAS.
They agreed and he passed the first time.
I was ecstatic, then I requested to take the ELA-MCAS.
The response? “BUT why? He’s 19, he should focus on Vocational Skills.
But my thoughts were who would hire him if he didn’t have a High School diploma?
Saturday, I just found out he passed the ELA- MCAS .
Now Peter has one more to go Science/Technology MCAS, not Physics.

Peter will be twenty if and when he passes the Science/Technology MCAS.
He will then leave the district with a HS diploma in hand.
My story is this.
Peter has been blessed with teachers and Instructional Aides who never gave up on him.
Although, he might not have been ready for the typical MCAS in high school,
He is ready for MCAS now.
Today, his teachers, vocational coach and instructional aides  continue to teach Peter
writing, math, and social skills to prepare him for his future.
Massachusetts  has made it difficult for our children to receive a High School diploma.

Remember, there are teachers who are devoted and believe in your child.
They will never give up. I am truly blessed and so PROUD of Peter.
This was a child who couldn’t say a full sentence until the age of 8 years old.
No eye contact. Never mind sit in a chair long enough to hear instructions.
We never gave up on Peter.
For all his instructional aides and teachers of past and future,  Thank You.
THANK YOU for all your hard work and NEVER giving up.
THANK YOU for putting up with my plea for him to be like all his other peers.
A chance to walk in a typical classroom and feel like everyone else.
A society that believes everyone deserves a chance.
A High School diploma is so little in today’s society where Bachelor’s and Master’s are the norm.
Try getting a job without a High School diploma.
The future is still a blur, but at least I am thankful for today.
As a parent of an autistic son, each day is a challenge
but those days that bring just a little hint of hope, is like winning the lottery.
Embrace those moments of victory and may God keep me strong and
guide my son through his challenges.