One school district in Massachusetts, Worcester, says that parents can opt out of field testing for the Common Core assessment. (There are two groups creating assessments. One is PARCC and the other is Smarter Balanced; Washington State belongs to the latter.)
From MASS Live:
Thursday night, the Worcester School Committee decided to allow parents of Worcester Public Schools students selected to take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) pilot test to say that they want their children to participate in regular classroom instruction or other education-based activities during that time.
Committee members Brian O'Connell and Dianna Biancheria said that parents should have the ability to decide whether their children should participate in the test. O'Connell added that the administration of the test is taking "a block of time away from academics and putting it toward a for-profit company on a test that we may never see again."
"I didn’t sign her up to be a lab rat. I’m sending her to be the public schools to be taught, and testing is not teaching," parent Ed Moynihan said earlier Thursday. "I want the school committee to affirm my rights as a parent to opt out on testing."
The issue was that those students selected to pilot the PARCC test would also take the state test, the MCAS. And, that some districts in Massachusetts were not being required to do field testing at all.
Gee, your kid gets to take a test that means nothing to the child or his/her learning while other kids are in class learning? Yeah, I'd be unhappy as well.
Another city, Norfolk, is also fighting back. Boy, do I love a district that stands up for its students and parents.
Also in the Common Core news is the release of a preliminary report on Common Core in NY state by a committee convened by governor, Andrew Cuomo. It's interesting because many of the recommendations that the NY Board of Regents recommended - that Cuomo said were "too little, too late" - are the same ones his own panel has recommended.
It's a great report written by a broad panel that - gasp! - includes a parent , a teacher, a superintendent, a couple of people from higher ed, a business type, a legislator, and the great education professor at Stanford, Linda Darling-Hammond (who should be sitting where Arne Duncan is right now).
Here's a great wrap-up of the report Auburn, NY Citizen. None of what the panel suggests surprised me at all. From the Citizen:
- Common Core isn't going away (at least for now).
- They recommend getting NY out of inBloom (and they are the only state still connected to that data cloud so this is big)
- Emphasizing student data privacy. Things like a "Parents Bill of Rights for Data Privacy", a state Chief Privacy officer. "Strong" penalties for violations.
- No "bubble test" for K-2. Stopping "inappropriate" testing for ELL and Sped students. Capping the amount of time for tests and test prep.
- It did not mention the funding issues which will be HUGE for every state. You want to know where district dollars are going? They are going - both in operations and capital - to Common Core implementation.
- Giving teachers the resources and training they need AND deserve.
- One of my favorites - "Treat parents as essential partners in CC implementation.