BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts lawmakers debated a bill Monday that would suspend the MCAS exams for four years because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill, which was introduced in June by State Senator Jo Comerford of Northampton, would put a pause on the MCAS graduation requirement through the 2023-2024 school year.

The legislation would also create a commission to study MCAS alternatives.

“We need to relieve that pressure and we need to allow schools to reopen in the fall in whatever way they’re going to reopen. Have educators and students rebuild lost learning which we know has been disproportionately felt,” Comerford said.

Supporters argue students should not have to worry about coronavirus and high-stakes testing.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association, the state’s largest teachers union, has endorsed the legislation.

Opponents, like the advocacy group Massachusetts Parents United, argue that a standardized learning assessment is needed now more than ever.

“The idea that we don’t do that, that we don’t need to assess where are children are, what they’ve learned or what they haven’t learned or where the deficits are,” Massachusetts Parents United President Keri Rodrigues said. “How do we even start to help our children if we don’t know what they’ve lost?”

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