Why PARCC Testing Is An Option

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

PARCC testing is next week for our school. The more I am reading online, from blogs, other parents and public education teachers, the more I feel better with our decision on why my daughter is brain-poweropting out of PARCC. What I have also learned that most didn’t realize that PARCC is an option. So yes, they can opt have their child opt out of the test altogether. Here is why you may want to consider opting out too.

  1. I have yet to talk to one teacher, in the city or in the suburbs that fully supports PARCC (some say it needs improvement, some schools don’t have computers, so kids are at a disadvantage taking an online test). “Everyday curriculum at most schools does not prepare them for what they encounter on this test.” says another teacher in the same forum. (Unless your teacher is doing 3-hour study sessions on Saturday mornings. My child is not a robot and memorization does not equate to learning…so, no thank you)  

2. In a Facebook forum I am in, one teacher stated this: “I teach 3rd grade; the first year the kids have to take it (or really anything like it). It’s awful. I have kids panicking, crying, begging me for help during the test. It’s completely unnecessary and useless. There will be topics on the test that we haven’t even covered yet. It doesn’t close any gaps, if anything it just makes them more it more defined.” Sounds like that is PTSD for kids

3. PARCC is at best a litmus test to see if Common Core is working…it is no way to see if they are “college ready”… there is no test anywhere that provides an objective measure of progress toward college-and-career readiness…none and being told this is what it will take is not true. Creators of the test never intended it to be used in this high stakes fashion. It is ANOTHER standardized test in a year full of tests and steals actual instructional time. It is not an accurate measure of my child’s successes. The results do not come in time to address deficiencies…We can better use that money and time that is being spent on PARCC and put it back into the schools. It is not secret that the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago are in major financial troubles. (We really need to do a better job of voting people into office on both sides).

4. Thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act, it preserves the mindset that says that standards, testing and accountability are the keys to student success. That is not what I want my children to learn about success…success comes from failure, making mistakes, being persistent, not being perfect, working hard, remaining humble, being a servant leader, having a servant’s heart, using your words wisely (and oh yes, being accountable for your actions), etc…not memorizing test answers at best.

5. For the 2015-16 school year 11 states were on board to administer PARCC… Only 32% of public school students are in states that administer PARCC/Smarter Balanced, down from 46% last year. 27 states have chosen an assessment other than PARCC/SBAC. Only 6 states plus DC still using PARCC, so that means 5 states dumped the test since Sept (I didn’t need Common Core to do the math either…). So It makes me wonder why the other 44 states are not fully participating or not participating at all? Why should my child waste her time taking a test that is failing in its own system? What value does that teach her? I’d like for her to use her time wisely and efficiently. Our state cannot afford to give out such superfluous tests that is wasting our tax-payer money. This is one of the best blogs I have read on PARCC testing and any other standardize tests. Illinois PARCC scores plummets as expected  stated this:

  • “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 they’re just too awful to not accurately capture the marketed message about American public education.”

6. PARCC takes the child 16.5 hours in length over a 5 day span. “PARCC is longer than the MCAT and the LSAT. Longer than a Bar exam. There is no test a child will ever have to take that is more rigorous than PARCC, unless they enter the CIA and have access to a very high classification level. And children shouldn’t have to prepare for that anymore than we ask them to operate on cadavers. Sure, that would get them “ready” for medical school, but isn’t there something to be said for finding appropriate times and places for doing things?” 

7. Taking PARCC does not teach them the stamina that the system is proclaiming it will prepare them for to be “college” ready. Knowing that is *actual* college readiness. You don’t take endless bubble tests in college. You write papers graded by very critical human teachers. Teachers who fail people who use fallacies instead of peer-reviewed research-based facts to make points. These are elementary students we are talking about here. I’m sorry, but there is no test anywhere that provides an objective measure of progress toward college-and-career readiness or “stamina” of taking a test. Yes I too have sat in and taken long, arduous of tests as well, certifications, etc, but I was in no way “prepped” for those tests and certifications in 3rd grade. I do think standardized testing has gotten out of hand. In fact, it has gotten so out of hand that some high school students in China are taking amino acids through an IV to help improve their stamina or here in Chicago the older HS kids start to share adderall to take the ACT. So we are teaching them that meds are the way to focus, because it leads to better their success instead of tapping into their gifts and talents. While the meds and supplements can help improve focus, it by all means does not make one smarter.

I love what this Bronx principal said in his interview Principal With the Biggest Gains on State Tests Now Defends Opt-Out

  • “I’m a black man who grew up in New York City, a street kid from a single-parent household,” he said. “Those personal experiences in addition to my professional experiences compel me to share my point of view. Within a bureaucracy [like the public school system] there’s a psychology of power. We wait for our leaders. That’s detrimental because we’re not producing thinkers for society, which is what society needs.” For kids, “if you get a wrong answer on a test, it’s the worst thing in the world,” he continued. “But when you’re focused on innovation, it’s about learning from wrong answers and failing forward. I don’t want to produce the next generation of leaders, who are afraid to be wrong.”

“Not to mention this interview with John Merrow, an award-winning broadcast journalist who spent 41 years covering public education in the United States for PBS, he states his biggest fear about the future of our education: 

  • “I worry that schools will remain isolated from the larger society and be expected to solve problems for which they are not equipped. We need to stop blathering about the “achievement gap” while isolating children by race and economics. Community schools and the like are essential.”

 

I’ll leave you with this quote from Diane Ravitch’s Blog when she wrote this piece on Illinois PARCC scores plummets as expected  stated this:

  • “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 they’re just too awful to not accurately capture the marketed message about American public education.”

 

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