Three States Mull Exit from Common Core, PARCC


Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has reversed his position on supporting Common Core and wants to withdraw from the group of states that uses the standards and its accompanying Partnership for Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test.

Although he was part of the consortium that crafted the PARCC test , the governor said that he supports the legislators and parents who are critics of the Common Core assessment, according to Julia O’Donoghue, a reporter for The Times-Picayune.

The PARCC test is almost complete for implementation in the 2014-2015 school year, so pulling out of the group at this time is moot.  Having been a part of the crafting of the test, it is assumed that Louisiana will administer the test in the coming school year.

The anti-Common Core groups say that the test accrues data on children that might cause a risk to students’ privacy.  They also believe that the test will be costly to implement.  Opponents of this move by Jindal say that developing a new, Louisiana-specific test would be more expensive than PARCC.

John White, Louisiana’s Superintendent of Education, is on the other side of the table from Jindal, says Will Sentell, writing for The New Orleans Advocate.

“What would we do? We don’t have a test for next year. We have been planning for years, it is no secret, to purchase this test,” he said of PARCC. “There has been no test developed that is a Louisiana-specific test. You really need to develop those tests a year in advance. We don’t have the money to do that. It is extremely expensive to develop a state-specific test. We just don’t have time to do it. School is almost over.”

Some say that politics are involved in the governor’s change of mind. When conservatives turned against the Common Core, Jindal flip-flopped his opinion on the assessments.

In Peabody, Massachusetts,  the school committee is calling a foul on commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of  Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell D. Chester.  The reaction arises out of a possible conflict of interest on the commissioner’s part according to Bella Travaglini, reporter for The Boston Globe. Chester is the chairman of the governing board for PARCC.  Massachusetts adopted the Common Core in 2010, and is scheduled to vote on whether to replace the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) with PARCC in 2015 following a two-year trial and assessment.

Members of the school committee have stated that the trial run was a burden for teachers and students alike; and that it is unnecessary since the achievement tests currently given to students have ranked the highest nationwide over the past five years.

The Colorado Education Association (CEA) has voted to withdraw from the PARCC testing, writes Nicholas Garcia for Chalk Beat Colorado.  The CEA also voted to call for a “moratorium on high-stakes standardized testing”.  The CEA based its decision on two factors; too much testing and not enough classroom instruction.

Instead of using the PARCC test, educators would like to develop their own standardized testing methods.  Their ideas will have to be addressed with the General Assembly, which adjourns in May.  Any action toward their requests will be taken next year.