'...The sky is falling and the schools are failing!'... PARCC results prove that Illinois students are 'failing,' with Chicago students failing more than others, especially in failing inner city schools serving the poorest children in the most segregated communities...

"...The sky is falling and the schools are failing!" could have been the latest headlines from the latest tests that have proved that public schools are failing and privatization is the best solution for the sake of the children. But even with the current Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) under the control of appointees of Governor Bruce Rauner, nothing has changed. Whether the governor is Democrat or Republican, just as whether the President of the United States is a Democrat or a Republican, the proof that public schools are "failing" is a matter of faith in what must be called the Church of Corporate School Reform, which in Illinois takes on a more ironic meaning because the latest head of ISBE is a reverend...

Chicago's Rev James Meeks has been teacher bashing and working on union busting since even before he ran for mayor in 2011. Above, Meeks spoke to members of the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates during a mayoral candidates forum in 2010. Meeks a year earlier had told his congregation at the "House of Hope" church on Chicago's south side that the CTU was worse than the Black P. Stones and other drug gangs in Chicago. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner appointed Meeks chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education after his election in 2014. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The results of the PARCC tests are in, and to the surpirse of nobody who has been watching the latest unfolding of corporate school reform, most American schools are "failing," and those serving the inner city's poorest children in the most segregated communities are "failing" the most. Even though the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association are still supporting the "Common Core," under the guise of supporting "high standards," the game is essentially over. PARCC is just the most recent version of high stakes testing designed to prove that America's public schools are "failing" and that the only possible hope for America's children -- especially the poorest -- will come from massive privatization.

But unlike the early days of corporate schools reform, when the President of the Unites States (Bill Clinton) devoted parts of two of his State of the Union messages to praising Chicago's version of corporate "school reform," by 2015 most people who have been paying attention expose the frauds in school reform. And so once the Illinois PARCC results were out, the critiques came in.


STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin September 16, 2015 312/329-6250 Preliminary PARCC results fulfill CPS plan to set students up for failure, drive educators out of the profession

CHICAGO-The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) finds today's release of preliminary results of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test to be the latest example of Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) efforts to undermine educators and drive them out of the profession through the implementation of high-stakes testing.

After helping undermine public schools in California, Tony Smith was appointed head of Illinois schools. CPS admitted itself earlier this year that the district was not able to handle a proper rollout of the test due to technical issues and frustration among students, teachers and administration over administering the test properly, and as ISBE now claims that scores are well below expectations, that ineptitude and dysfunction has come to fruition.

Further, by changing course on its previous decision to limit the PARCC to just 10 percent of Chicago's public schools, the district burdened students with the inhumane pressure of over-testing and took valuable time away from classroom instruction. A number of CPS teachers who took the sample PARCC test stated the assessment was inappropriate for the target grades and coyly designed for students to fail.

Parents of thousands of CPS students chose to opt out of participation in the PARCC, a result of the realization that the experimental assessment had no proven educational value and was part of a broader effort to punish students, teachers and schools by creating a system of chaos in which success would be difficult to achieve.

The CTU House of Delegates in March passed a resolution against the PARCC assessment for being pedagogically detrimental to the teaching profession and to student learning and emotional well-being.

"If you believe these scores have merit, I have some swamp land in Brooklyn to sell you-and a lot of it," said CTU President Karen Lewis, a nationally board certified teacher. "These scores have very little to do with how children actually learn." "These arbitrary scores are designed to advance the narrative of failed schools and bad teachers," Lewis added. "When tied to evaluations, scores from such high-stakes tests as the PARCC drive educators out of the district and the profession. The results are flawed, the scores mean nothing and our students are being short-changed."

### The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 27,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third largest teachers local in the United States and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information please visit CTU's website at SG:oteg-743-tr


Today the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released preliminary PARCC results that purport that less than 30% of students in Illinois are meeting expectations in English and math. While ISBE has been attempting to manage public response by saying no one should be shamed by this, many will still claim that this shows that the majority of our schools, teachers and students are failing.

RYH firmly rejects this assertion and maintains that PARCC is an illegitimate measure of student achievement and, worse yet, a blatant waste of scarce resources in a state that ranks at the bottom of the nation for state funding of public education and near the top for inequity across rich vs poor school districts.

The PARCC governing board intentionally set PARCC's manufactured bar so that they can label the majority of students as failing. As many national media outlets reported last month, many of those setting the cut scores disagreed about the thresholds for achievement. This is not surprising because cut scores are disputable, subjective judgments, not inherent properties of a test. There is no such thing as the correct cut-score.

The company that created PARCC, Pearson, has still never released a technical document demonstrating that it is even a valid and reliable standardized test. Practice PARCC tests shared with public last year were deeply flawed. $40 million and 12 months later, we still have no evidence that PARCC tests are a useful measure of the Common Core State Standards or general student achievement. Many states agree. Nineteen of the 25 states plus DC that originally signed on to the PARCC consortium have dropped the test (only 7 states plus DC are now participating), vastly undercutting the intended premise of being able to compare states with one another.

Our state and citys education leaders must stop using test scores to attack schools rather than support them. While PARCC is not high-stakes this year, we know from todays ISBE board meeting that PARCC will be used to judge schools next year.

A test designed and scored to intentionally move the bar out of reach of the majority of students only further compounds the failed policy of defunding, closing, and privatizing schools.

RYH will continue to share information with parents on the right to opt their students out of this test and share the important update announced recently that there will be no financial penalties from the Feds for districts or schools that have high opt-out rates.

- See more at: http://ilraiseyo


Of course, the Illinois PARCC results are lousy. No news there. Thats the story America has been hearing before PARCC even existed that Common Core was higher, and its tests would be rigorous. (I remember hearing this in a department meeting in early 2010.)

From the September 16, 2015, Chicago Sun Times:

What Supt. Tony Smith revealed was a vast majority of those students in Illinois were not yet proficient in math or English language arts, with only between 28 percent and 38 percent of third- through eighth-graders meeting state standards. The percentage of high-schoolers in Algebra I or Integrated Math I who exceeded standards was zero; 17 percent met them.

More Illinois students were proficient in English than in math, except for third-graders. Of the five performance levels approved Wednesday by the Illinois State Board of Education, only children who score in levels 4 or 5 are considered proficient. That said, the test carries no consequences for anyone this year.

Smith called the preliminary scores a baseline for going forward, and said that the results alone dont tell the whole story.

I think we should use this new test as a new starting point for our conversations about progress, and what our kids need to be ready for the next level of whats coming in the future, he said.

Chin up, Illinois. These lousy scores are only a half-full glass. Besides, there will be other PARCC states releasing terrible scores, and we can make it a senseless contest to see which of the few PARCC states is the worst.

Of course, there is no evidence that PARCC and its Common Core host have any empirically-established, practical connection to any useful outcome. But practicality is beside the test-obsessed point. These scores must be useful because theyre just too awful to not accurately capture the marketed message about American public education.

Yet Illinois superintendent Tony Smith speaks in tones sprinkled with sunbeams and of conversations about progress. But what will progress look like? Increased opt outs? The collapse of PARCC? Alternative cut-score-setting?


September 18, 2015 at 12:12 AM

By: Susan Zupan

What about PARCC OPT OUT numbers?

How many students in Illinois schools opted out of PARCC (aka CCRAP) tests during the 2014-15 school year? How many in the Chicago Public Schools? Why is IBSE not sharing that data? refusing FOIA requests for it?

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