It was the first day of my 2009-2010 Humanities 7 class and I was explaining how the course works—how students design all the units around their own questions, with opportunities for both group work and individual research. One student raised her hand and said, "This sounds great and all, but how will it help us prepare for the MCAS?" "Oh," I said. "We're an independent school. We don't have to do the MCAS." The students burst into applause, shouting and cheering and clapping and raising their fists in celebration as one student from out of state asked quietly, "What's the MCAS?"