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PARCC heading to the dustbin of history despite Chicago administrators' tenacious hold on another failed high-stakes test...

Despite attempts by some school administrators in Chicago to bully families -- and in some cases lie -- about the PARCC, the 2017 testing season saw a large number of Chicago children opting out of the PARCC. Above, the design of the Opt Out material from Chicago's "More than a score."Just in time for Easter and the end of Passover, word is coming in -- again -- about the demise of the infamous PARCC test. Despite claims by some ignorant Chicago public schools administrators as late as a month ago that the PARCC would remain the BIG TEST for Chicago children and young adults, PARCC is being dumped by another of the few remaining states still utilizing it.

In April 2017, Rhode Island school officials announced that they were getting rid of the PARCC and would be adopting the Massachusetts testing program, the MCAS. Among the other complaints about PARCC that led to its ouster in Rhode Island is the enormous amount of time PARCC has been taking out of the instructional year, a critique that can easily be verified by children and adults in Chicago.

With Rhode Island leaving PARCC, the controversial test now has the fewest remaining states in its history. PARCC was originally foisted on the states when Arne Duncan, as U.S. Secretary of Education, and President Barack Obama led the corporate "reform" stuff nationally. One of the ironies of Obama's push for PARCC and the other fetishes of corporate "reform" is that the Obamas sent their own daughters to the Sidwell Friends school in Washington, D.C. Sidwell Friends does not use any of the so-called "standardized" tests that have long bedeviled families in the nation's public schools. Locally in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's children attended the University of Chicago Lab School, which also rejects high stakes so-called "standardized" tests.

As the Providence Journal reported on April 13, 2017...

R.I. adopting Mass. test to measure student performance, ditching PARCC, Posted Apr 13, 2017 at 11:08 PM

[Rhode Island] Educators are applauding the switch to the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), which would replace the controversial and unpopular Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness exam, or PARCC.

By Linda Borg Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island is abandoning a controversial standardized test called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career [PARCC] for the exam that Massachusetts has successfully used for nearly 20 years.

Rep. Gregg Amore, D-East Providence, chairman of the House Finance Committee’s education subcommittee, confirmed Thursday that the Rhode Island Department of Education has decided to adopt the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), which the Bay State administers to measure student achievement.

Rhode Island students in grades 3 through 8 will take the Massachusetts test, a hybrid model that incorporates questions from the PARCC.

In high school, 10th graders will take the popular SAT or PSAT. Many states have adopted the college entrance exams in high school because they are well-respected by students, parents and teachers and because they are widely used as part of the college admissions process.

“For some time,” Amore said, “Massachusetts has set the bar for educational excellence. Their employment of the MCAS test is one of the reasons for their annual high standing in national rankings for education.”

Amore said that the Massachusetts test already synchs up with Rhode Island’s education standards, called the Common Core, and said the Bay State’s testing technology fits nicely with Rhode Island’s system.

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Ken Wagner declined to comment Thursday night, although he is expected to do so tomorrow.

The testing switch earned favorable reviews from several educators Thursday night.

“This is a positive development. The PARCC has become toxic,” said Tim Ryan, executive director of the Rhode Island Association of Superintendents. “Now we will be able to partner with Massachusetts. They have the best track record.”

States have been abandoning the PARCC right and left. Only seven states, including Rhode Island, still use it, and Ryan fears that it will become too costly to administer if more states drop out.

“I think it’s long overdue,” said Tim Duffy, executive director of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees. “We can now measure our performance against Massachusetts communities.”

But Duffy worries that the new test will impose a fresh burden on school districts that are struggling to meet the existing education standards.

Parents Across RI also welcomed the elimination of the Rhode Island test.

“For many years, we have been concerned with the emphasis on standardized tests,” said executive director Tracy Ramos. “It’s our hope that this move...will mean less time testing and prepping for tests and more time for students and teachers to use the time spent in school in meaningful and productive ways.”

The PARCC has been widely unpopular since its introduction three years ago. Parents and teachers said the test was far too time-consuming, a complaint shared by the other states who shared the test. Educators also felt the test was too hard. When the first test results came in, they were very disappointing. Last year, only 37 percent of students met or exceeded the standards in English and 28 percent did so in math.

In 2015, more than 10,000 Rhode Island students chose not to take the PARCC, part of a nationwide protest against standardized testing.

In a striking departure from his predecessor, Deborah Gist, Wagner has downplayed the importance of standardized testing. Last spring, he abolished using the PARCC as a high school graduation requirement. And in July 2016, he announced that 10th graders no longer had to take the PARCC. Instead, they will take either Algebra 1 or geometry.

The shift reflected widespread concern that students were being over-tested and that a standardized test shouldn’t prevent students from graduating. At the time, Gov. Gina Raimondo said she was pleased with the move away from high-stakes testing.

Meanwhile, education reformers like the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council have been calling on Rhode Island to become more like Massachusetts. In fact, the legislature last year passed a bill asking the Department of Education to study the so-called Massachusetts miracle, which has landed the Bay State on the top of student performance charts for 10 years.

Massachusetts became an education leader because it stuck with the same standards and the same test while Rhode Island waffled.

“I only hope,” Duffy said, “that this brings some finality to the search for standards, assessments and curriculum.”

NEW JERSEY LAWMAKERS DEMAND PARCC BE TAKEN OUT OF HS GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS...

N.J. lawmakers try to spike PARCC as graduation test, NJ.com, March 16, 2017 at 5:41 PM, updated March 17, 2017 at 7:48 AM

TRENTON -- An attempt to skirt Gov. Chris Christie's authority and stop New Jersey from using the controversial PARCC exams as a graduation requirement won approval from the state Assembly on Thursday.

But a lack of key support in the state Senate could still kill the proposal.

The resolution (ACR215) orders the state Department of Education to withdraw or revise the graduation requirements adopted last summer. Those rules require students to pass PARCC's 10th-grade English exam and Algebra I exam in order to graduate from high school, beginning with the Class of 2021.

The new graduation requirements are inconsistent with legislative intent because state law requires a graduation test in 11th grade, and the required PARCC exams are usually taken in 10th grade or earlier, the resolution says.

"Forging ahead with a one-size fit all test that was almost universally opposed from the get-go was not a good move," said Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Mercer), one of the resolution's sponsors. "It is time for the state board of education to go back to the drawing board before students approaching graduation are unfairly affected by the PARCC."

New Jersey picked PARCC as its graduation test beginning in 2021. Here's what other states are doing.

Unlike a bill, a resolution passed by both the Senate and Assembly does not require approval from the governor. That means the Democratic-controlled Legislature could try to compel the state to revise the new graduation requirements without Christie's standing in its way if the resolution passes.

The Senate, though, has yet to consider the proposal in its Education Committee after it was introduced in November.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) declined to comment on the resolution Thursday. He has previously questioned the urgency of addressing graduation requirements prior to the gubernatorial election this fall.

New Jersey has required students to pass a standardized test to graduate from high school since the early 1980s, but the state's graduation requirements became a hot-button issue after the debut of the new PARCC exams in 2015.

Current high school students are allowed to satisfy the graduation requirement using scores on the SAT, ACT or other alternative exams, and few students have passed the high school-level PARCC tests.

The poor statewide scores, combined with anti-PARCC sentiment from parents and teachers, have fueled concern about the new graduation requirements.

In November, a coalition of civil right groups filed a legal challenge against the graduation requirements, saying the state has made it especially difficult for low-income and minority students to graduate from high school.

"Graduation is the culmination of years of studying. To base this important milestone on a test as problematic as the PARCC is unfair," Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Union) said. "We should not experiment with the future of our students."

Annual PARCC testing begins March 27 in New Jersey.



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