Illinois House passes opt-out bill aimed at PARCC testing

Chicago Sun-Times –

Illinois House members advanced a bill that would give parents a formal way to opt out of state tests such as the controversial Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

House members voted 64-47 with one person voting present. The measure now moves to the Senate.

The extensive debate over the bill on Tuesday spun into a broader discussion over how lawmakers believe the state’s only standardized test is deeply flawed. Lawmakers expressed frustration that the state remains on the hook for a four-year, $160 million contract to a firm to administer the test.

The test’s length, along with technological problems, has prompted groups of parents across the state wanting their children to sit out. But there’s no clear way for parents to communicate to teachers about their desires to opt out and there’s nothing on the books laying out alternate activities for students who opt out. Some schools adopted “sit and stare” policies that has students who opted out sitting idle for up to 11 hours, lawmakers complained.

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Posted in Common Core Testing, Illinois Common Core | 1 Comment

Who organized suburban Chicago PARCC boycott?

Daily Herald –

Across the suburbs, hundreds of students are opting out of the new PARCC tests. While it’s not clear if the objection is coming from students, parents or both, it does seem to be an organized effort.

“It is our belief that the PARCC participation decision in some buildings was a parent- and student-led effort,” said Northwest Suburban High School District 214 Superintendent David Schuler.

Enough students have refused to take the test in District 214, that it likely will not meet the 95 percent testing threshold set by the state, Schuler said Thursday night. At other suburban districts, there were more isolated examples of boycotts.

Schuler addressed the issue at Thursday night’s school board meeting, saying that while the staff has encouraged students to take the test, many across the district’s six high schools refused, echoing a nationwide trend of students boycotting the newly implemented testing.

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Breitbart –

The superintendent of the Watchung Hills Regional High School District in New Jersey has confirmed that she sent an email to fellow superintendents Tuesday about her concern that education publishing giant Pearson is “monitoring” children’s social media accounts for possible leaks about the Common Core-aligned PARCC tests.

On Friday, Bob Braun, a former leading columnist for The Star Ledger in New Jersey, posted on his blog and Facebook page an email superintendent Elizabeth Jewett sent to colleagues regarding Pearson’s monitoring of social media posts by students in her district. The email reads:

Good morning all,

Last night at 10PM, my testing coordinator received a call from the NJDOE that Pearson had initiated a Priority 1 Alert for an item breach within our school. The information the NJDOE initially called with was that there was a security breach DURING the test session, and they suggested the student took a picture of a test item and tweeted it. After further investigation on our part, it turned out that the student had posted a tweet (NO PICTURE) at 3:18PM (after school) that referenced a PARCC test question. The student deleted the tweet and we spoke with the parent – who was obviously highly concerned as to her child’s tweets being monitored by the DOE. The DOE informed us that Pearson is monitoring all social media during PARCC testing. I have to say that I find that a bit disturbing. – and if our parents were concerned before about a conspiracy with all of the student data, I am sure I will be receiving more letters of refusal once this gets out (not to mention the fact that the DOE wanted us to also issue discipline to the student). I thought this was worth sharing with the group.



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Illinois Review –

CHICAGO – Parents and state lawmakers are calling on the Illinois General Assembly to allow parents of public school students to have some say in their children’s education. They’re asking the legislature to allow them to opt out of state-mandated academic tests such as the controversial PARCC testing.

The State Board of Education notified schools that students themselves may refuse to take the PARCC tests, but no provision is in place for parents to opt their children out of the testing.

Illinois public and participating private schools will begin this week administering the PARCC testing associated with the “Common Core” curriculum. Beginning with grade 3, up to 20 hours of instructional time will be used to administer the required tests.

At the behest of frustrated parents, freshman State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) introduced HB 306 to allow parents to refuse the tests on behalf of their children. Guzzardi’s bill passed out of committee, and he and the bill’s co-sponsors are optimistic they will be able to gather the needed 60 votes to pass the bill out of the House.

“It’s not only the PARCC testing parents are concerned about. There’s a growing and widespread frustration with the broader regime of standardized tests,” Guzzardi said at a press conference Monday.

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Illinois musicians against Common Core

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ISBE asks for ten percent more, asks to funds PARCC beyond a year

Greg Bishop at Inn Radio reported the following:

PARCC takes center stage during appropriations committee
Meanwhile the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, standardized test came up. A committee member says the cost of providing the test is upwards to forty-nine-million dollars. State Schools Superintendent Christopher Koch (cook) defended the test, saying they’ve talked with other states in the lead up to the eventual rollout here in Illinois.

“And I believe it’s very important for our students right now to be demonstrating the application of knowledge and skills. That’s a new task that they have not done before. They’ve been doing fill in the bubble, multiple choice tests. This is going to very much help their learning and was tied to instruction and I believe it’s good for kids.”

Koch says despite the federal government only requiring PARCC for one year, ISBE plans on using the test for several years to allow for the state to show progress at a cost of five million dollars a year. Governor Bruce Rauner said last month in Champaign that he wants to investigate the standardized test, saying it may be politicized. Rauner’s office said Tuesday the Governor is committed to a thorough evaluation of the PARCC and all tests in Illinois schools.

Yet another example of how the ‘voluntary’ and ‘state led’ Common Core is anything but.  The federal government has their fingerprints all over it.  Illinois has the option to get out but Koch and friends at the ISBE are not listening to the fine folks of Illinois.  We want out!

Posted in Common Core Costs, Common Core Politics, Common Core Testing, Illinois Common Core | Leave a comment

Normal IL: NCHS students protest controversial PARCC test #stopcommoncore #ccss,

NORMAL — Normal Community High School students showed what they think of standardized testing in dramatic fashion Friday morning.

More than 100 students “walked out” by refusing to go to first-hour classes; marching from the NCHS entrance to the opposite front of the building and back; and holding an impromptu rally in front of the school doors.

Students assembled to protest the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam that started this week at Bloomington’s District 87 and is set to start Monday at schools in Normal-based McLean County Unit 5.

PARCC has become a rallying point for students, parents and educators dissatisfied with standardized tests and the Common Core standards. It has replaced the elementary-level Illinois Standard Achievement Test and will replace the high-school level Prairie State Achievement Examination in an attempt to reflect students’ mastery of Common Core.

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