Educators in Worcester, Massachusetts, spoke out against the school committee’s decision to adopt the federally-funded Common Core test, at least partially, splitting the district between PARCC and the established Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). PARCC was field-tested last year in Massachusetts. See what the teachers say about it. The Commissioner of Education in the state, Mitchell Chester, is chairman of the PARCC governing board, which the teachers consider a conflict of interest.
The following is a Press Release from the EAW. Please Read.
EAW DOES NOT SUPPORT WORCESTER SCHOOL COMMITTEE’S “YES ON PARCC” VOTE
The Worcester School Committee, in 5-2 vote, recently elected to split Worcester Public Schools (WPS) between two different standardized tests: the established MCAS test; and the PARCC pilot test. This “Yes on PARCC” vote goes against the Educational Association of Worcester (EAW)’s publicized March 2014 vote of No Confidence on PARCC and its vote to pause PARCC.
The EAW, comprised of WPS teachers, is not alone in its public position on pausing PARCC. In May 2014, delegates of the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) passed items calling for a three-year moratorium on PARCC testing at its annual convention.
Also, over 66% school districts in Massachusetts have chosen the MCAS test option over the PARCC pilot test for 2014-2015.
PARCC started with 23 states in their consortium; four years later, 13 states have dropped out. That’s a drop of 44 percent.
The EAW stands behind its vote of No Confidence on PARCC, and believes Worcester Public Schools should put a three-year pause on PARCC and re-assess high stakes testing.
In light of the Worcester School Committee’s recent “Yes on PARCC” vote, the EAW supports parents/guardians and students who choose to refuse the PARCC pilot tests in their respective schools. Because PARCC is still in a test year, Worcester students can to refuse to participate in the PARCC “research study” without punishment; and designated PARCC schools will not be penalized for any pilot test refusals.
Note that the Worcester School Committee, in March 2014, voted to allow parents/guardians of WPS students selected to take PARCC to refuse the test. WPS Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone informed parents/guardians of their right to refuse the PARCC pilot test via letter.
MCAS was developed and vetted by Massachusetts teachers. Massachusetts DESE Commissioner Mitchell Chester is also Board Chairman of PARCC, Inc., the organization controlling the development and promotion of the PARCC test – a clear conflict of interest for the children and schools of Massachusetts, because he has a completely biased opinion towards implementing PARCC in the Bay State.
Massachusetts currently has the best standards in the country. By moving to PARCC, a national test, our schools will be forced to lower standards to make it fair for all states involved.
During the 2013-2014 school year, PARCC was field tested on numerous children around Massachusetts. Identified issues include:
· 72% of schools need more devices to test all students
· Almost 50% of teachers said their training was inadequate for administering PARCC on computers.
· 61% of students reported that the Math test was more difficult than their school work (28% for ELA)
· only 70% of students said the test questions asked about content they had learned in Math (87% in ELA)
· 41% of kids said it was hard to type answers for Math
· 46% of kids experienced tech-related problems with Math (31% ELA)
Student scores on the PARCC pilot tests are not be shared with students, parents/guardians, schools, or states. PARCC Inc. uploads student scores for use in data mining and storage.
If Massachusetts eliminates MCAS and moves toward PARCC, the state will no longer control its own assessment system. The PARCC test will be controlled by multiple other states and management that the citizens of Massachusetts did not elect.
Again, the EAW stands behind its vote of No Confidence on PARCC, and believes Worcester Public Schools should put a three-year pause on PARCC and re-assess high stakes testing. All parents/guardians and students should, once again, be notified in writing by WPS Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone on how to refuse the PARCC pilot test.