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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