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!

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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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ABC 7 News –

Next week, more than 230,000 eligible Chicago Public Schools students will take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC exams.

“We’re pleased that CPS is going to give this test and give all students in CPS the opportunity to show their performance against this new, more meaningful test,” said Mary Fergus, spokesperson for the Illinois Board of Education.

Initially, the state’s largest school district opted out of giving the test, but did an about-face Monday, as the CEO of CPS said there was the possibility of losing funds otherwise.

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ACTION ALERT: IL Legislators will hear testimony on controversial school testing requirements #stopcommoncore #ccss

The Caucus Blog –

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is the new state assessment and accountability measure for Illinois students enrolled in a public school district. PARCC assesses the New Illinois Learning Standards incorporating Common Core and will be administered to students in English-Language Arts and Mathematics. Many school districts are reluctant to accept the PARCC exam and want more time to ensure students are ready to take the tests – but they risk federal funding if they don’t comply.

The House committee on Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies will be hearing subject matter testimony on PARCC Assessments next Wednesday, February 25 at 4 p.m. in Hearing Room 114 in the Capitol Building.

According to a recent Chicago Tribune article, more than 40 downstate superintendents have asked the state superintendent to delay PARCC testing, saying “the testing initiative has moved too fast, is ill-planned, does not support the basic tenets of quality formative assessment such as validity and reliability, is consuming vast and valuable resources (both human and monetary) at the district level, and, most importantly, will not truly benefit our students.”

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IL PARCC Myths Busted #stopcommoncore #ccss

Know the truth about opting out of the PARCC test.


Source:   Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education

Myths and Facts about PARCC in Illinois

MYTH: States and districts will lose Title I Funding for our schools because of opt out
FACT: Your district will not lose federal funds because of opt out There is no federal or state law that requires penalties for schools or districts if parents opt out or refuse the test. The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law did include a mandate that required schools to have a 95% participation rate on state tests or face sanctions. However, since 2014, Illinois has had a waiver to NCLB that replaces those sanctions with a new accountability system. The IL NCLB waiver says that to receive points on factors in the Multiple Measures Index (MMI) used to grade schools that depend on test results, schools must have participation sufficient for results to meet a 95% confidence level. If large enough numbers opt out, a school or district could fail to meet that confidence level. Schools that do not meet their MMI targets are “priority schools” and are targeted for interventions. Priority schools are primarily designated as such by being in the lowest 5% of schools based on various performance ratings. Note that interventions for priority schools do n ot include withholding of funds. Additionally, we know of no cases in other states where schools have been identified as “priority schools” solely on the basis of low participation rates. There have been schools that did not meet participation rates last spring in New York State, and even some in Chicago as well. One year on from massive opt outs, there have been no consequences. You can r ead more about this issue here . ISBE is making overblown threats to scare districts and families from opting out of the test. See our letter to ISBE debunking their misinformation here .

MYTH: There is no “opting out” of PARCC.
FACT: Your child can refuse the test. Students can refuse PARCC testing. Parents should notify their school in writing that their child is refusing the test and they expect their child to be treated with kindness and respect. Although the IL State Board of Education has said that “Opting out is not an option ,” they have also said districts “ can develop a policy for those students who refuse to take assessments on testing days .” Though some states do have opt out laws or regulations or broadly allow opt out in practice, Illinois does not. As a result, parents are not permitted to refuse the test on behalf of their children; special needs children, children with anxiety and children as young as 8 are expected to refuse the test themselves. We are working to get an opt out bill passed in IL, HB306 . We need your help; please call your state representatives and tell them to support HB306 so that there is a clear and humane policy for families that don’t want their children to take PARCC or other state-mandated assessments.

MYTH: Illinois would lose millions in federal funding if the opt out bill HB 306 became law
FACT: Other states already have laws clearly permitting opt out of state-mandated testing The following states have opt out laws or regulations: California, Wisconsin, Utah, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Oregon. Other states, like Washington, have allowed parents to opt their children out without formal provisions with no adverse consequences; Rhode Island plans to d o so this year. Some other states, including North Carolina and Massachusetts, with no opt out provision in law or regulation have informed school districts they should create alternative education settings for children whose parents refuse the tests. MYTH: PARCC has been properly field tested FACT: PARCC has not been shown to be valid and reliable The PARCC field test was given to determine if schools had the proper technological “bandwidth”. Results of how well students did or did not do have not been released to any district. Neither PARCC nor the state has done any study on the validity of the field test results. (We filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the studies; we were told none existed.) No data has been released advising the public how much money has been spent to meet the technical requirements of PARCC.

MYTH: PARCC is the only way to truly assess our students
FACT: Standardized testing provides an incomplete picture of what students are learning and how schools are performing Teachers assess students every single day. Parents see the results through quizzes, tests, projects, homework and through these results have the ability to see how their child is learning and what problems they may need to work on at home and school. PARCC results will not be provided until the following school year — at which point students will have moved to the next grade. In any case, standardized testing is primarily a measure of the socio-economic characteristics of a school’s community. At this time, there are only 9 states plus the District of Columbia that are still participating in PARCC testing this year: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Rhode Island, Massachusetts. (RI and MA not using the test for all students.) 13 states that originally planned to use PARCC have dropped out . Over 70 superintendents in IL have publicly asked the state board to delay this test because the test isn’t ready, and our schools aren’t ready for this test.

MYTH: Students might be held back or not graduate if they refuse PARCC this year
FACT: PARCC is not attached to any high-stakes decisions this year The IL State Board of Ed has said that PARCC will not be used for anything for students this year : “This is a baseline year so there are no consequences for schools or students.” In future years, Illinois intends to use the PARCC test that students will take during their 3rd year of high school coursework as a graduation requirement. Schools/districts have no idea what PARCC scoring will be like and have no idea how testing will proceed this year, so it is unlikely that an individual school or district could attach their own high-stakes to this test. Ask to be shown policies in writing if administrators make threats like this.

MYTH: Students have never opted out of a state test; it can’t be done
FACT: Thousands of students opted out of state tests last year Students across Illinois refused to take the ISAT last year. In Chicago alone, more than 2000 students were recorded as “Code 15”, i.e. refused to engage with the test. In New York State more than 50,000 students opted out of testing even though NYS has no laws about opt out.

MYTH: Children opting out of PARCC must be kept home during the test window
FACT: Your child can refuse the test at school and do an alternative activity Write a letter to your child’s principal to let them know that your child will refuse testing. Explain that ISBE says that districts can create their own refusal policy. State that your child will be reading a book or engaging in another quiet activity during testing time.

– See more at:

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The Blast Radius of Proposed New “No Child Left Behind” Bill

ACTION ALERT: Read information below then contact senators!

People who care about the security and defense of this country need to contact:

Rep. John Kline
DC: (202) 225-2271
MN: (952) 808-1213)


Sen. Lamar Alexander
DC: (202) 224-4944
TN: (423) 752-5337

Let them know you don’t want any bill re-authorizing ESEA at all. We want ESEA sunsetted after extensive national public discussion of how to educate low-income children without damaging them further and all of public education K-20 at the same time.


Until Feb. 2 Alexander has an email set up for feedback:
Request repeal of ESEA/NCLB….it cannot be fixed.


By Christel Swasey. Reprinted from:

Senator “Let’s-Don’t-Talk-About-Common-Core” LaMar Alexander  has proposed a bill to amend  ESEA (No Child Left Behind Act) in order “to restore freedom”. The bill is called the “Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015“.

I read the 387-pager after I learned that education experts, slated to testify against the bill, had abruptly been dismissed and were told that the bill had been “fast-tracked,” so there wouldn’t be time for them to speak.  –No time to hear testimony and debate about a historic, child-impacting bill?

I read this bill with these six facts and questions in mind:

Fact 1. There’s a  de facto federal database composed of fifty individual databases with interoperable State Longitudinal Database Systems.   These  feed on the federal school testing/data collecting system, and feed different federal databases and their powerful branches.  This clearly violates “consent of the governed” because nobody can opt out.

QUESTION 1:  Would LaMar’s bill restore “consent of the governed” to education and to student data mining?

Fact 2. There’s a federal testing system comprised of Common Core aligned, synchronized testing partnerships: PARCC, SBAC, and AIR.  This violates Constitutional separation of powers since the federal government has no business in state-directed educational affairs such as testing.

QUESTION 2: Would LaMar’s bill restore separation of powers and deny federal supervision of school tests?

Fact 3. There’s a corporate cartel of educational technology and text sellers  (Pearson Inc, partnered with Gates/Microsoft, etc) advising the federal testing system.  This violates the Constitutional principle of agency; individuals and states are coerced to use certain corporations’ products with federal approval.

QUESTION 3: Would LaMar’s bill restore a diverse exchange of academic ideas to the American textbook and technology market?

Fact 4.  The corporate cartel  finances the private groups that created and copyrighted the common education and the common data tags  programs.  Federal approval of such financing and implementation is clear by the official partnering of the U.S. Dept. of Education with the private creator-copyrighter groups.   That violates consent of the governed, too.

QUESTION 4: Would LaMar’s bill create fairness and freedom for non-Common Core aligned education providers? 

Fact 5.  Because Common Core standards are copyrighted, states (voters, teachers, you and I) don’t get to vote on them.  There’s no amendment process for any state to alter Common Core Standards nor the Common Education Data System (CEDS).  Federal promotion and partnershipping with those who copyrighted nonamendable standards, violates states’ rights and consent of the governed.

QUESTION 5: Would LaMar’s bill move us away from these chokehold national standards and restore individual agency?

Fact 6. Both Republican and Democratic politicians are hacking at the limbs of the Constitution openly, aiming to phase out the authority of the states  and of parents regarding educational authority, privacy and other issues.  Aiming to “phase out the authority of states” is blatantly unconstitutional.

QUESTION 6: Would LaMar’s bill stop the Department of Education’s agenda to “phase out state authority”?

Now, to the bill.


I knew from page one that this was going to be a big, fat two-tongued document because the bill’s purpose statement:  “to restore freedom” conflicts with its own title: “The Every Child Ready forCollege or Career Act of 2015“.

This bill by its title and throughout its text cements the Common Core Initiative into federal law without once using the term “Common Core”. How?

Did you know that the phrase College and Career Ready has been repeatedly, federally andcorporationally defined in multiple places as only Common Core. (See College and Career Ready definition: the Dept. of Education defines college and career ready standards as “standards common to a significant number of states.”  There is one thing that meets that definition.  Anytime you see “college and career ready,” run; it equals only the Common Core.

Can a bill claim to restore freedom while it promotes the exact, synonymous term that takes freedom in education away?

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