This September, teachers in Holliston heard a startling message from School Superintendent Brad Jackson: “My message to them was I’m taking off your handcuffs.”

For years, teachers in Holliston and many other districts have felt shackled to the practice of ‘Teaching to the Test’, and devoting more and more classroom time readying students to take the state’s standardized assessment exam known as MCAS.

Poor scores on MCAS can mean penalties for school districts. The worst-case scenario for a deficient school would be a state take-over. “