A spurious web page is circulating throughout Louisiana from Louisiana branch of the organization Stand For Children. On this page, they warn that some parents are trying to convince other parents to pull their children from the upcoming PARCC tests. They urge parents to ignore these pleas and let the students take the tests because it’s the right thing to do for students.
“Parents with the courage to recognize an educational Titanic when they see one are wisely removing their kids from an untested experiment.”
Stand for Children, you want to do the right thing for students? How’s this for starters?
How about declaring how much money your organization accepted from the Bill Gates Foundation, the financial heart of Common Core and its accompanying tests. Savvy parents don’t accept anything at face value, and parents can’t trust you if they don’t know who paid for you. Transparency is all that they ask before you attempt to usurp the role of guardian to the next generation.
Next, how about researching this “new, better test” which your organization accepts blindly and without question. (Oh, yeah, that money issue.) From your tone, it’s obvious you know little about PARCC tests, which New York has used for two years. Do you honestly think a test that fails 2/3 of the New York testers is a “new, better test?” A test where 85% of African-American students and 81% of Hispanic students failed is a “new, better test?” All this proves is that it’s a harder test, or more likely, a poorly designed one, that’s all. In most cases, when people have been able to get test questions, they are worded in a most confusing manner and usually a couple of grade levels above the readers’ abilities. How is this a “better” test?
You claim that students will no longer be mindlessly bubbling, but will be able to show their academic growth. How? It’s the first time using this test in Louisiana, and the questions are not even coming from Pearson, the only company licensed to give the PARCC test. Louisiana has no contract with Pearson, no matter what John White says, so we are not comparing our students to anyone else in ten other PARCC-participating states. (It was once 24, but wiser states have been bailing the sinking ship.) And since it is the first time we’re giving this test, we can’t measure our growth because it’s so new. Only when the test has been given over many cycles can one judge growth or decline.
You claim these tests can help our teachers improve their teaching skills. How? The results won’t come out until next year, when the children will all be in the next grade, so how will this help the teachers better prepare the students they no longer teach? “If only I had tried this last year, I’d be so much better,” said what teacher ever? And why should tests from March take so long to grade, especially if they are so awesome? Even ACT tests don’t take this long, and they are a better indicator of being ready for college than these new, untried tests.
You fiercely defend this test as a great gauge for academic growth, but consider the ramifications of this monolithic test. One parish in central Louisiana has stopped “regular” teaching entirely and has been preparing their students for the PARCC-like tests for six solid weeks. Those six weeks of exploration and fascination over learning are gone as that parish “drills and kills” their students for a test that’s never been proven to do what it claims it will.
Perhaps worst of all is the unfortunate title Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). It’s grossly misleading: what third grader is ready for college? They’re not even ten! Of course they’re not ready. But when they hear that they have failed the test, they clearly understand that they are a failure and will never be ready for college. Who are these leaders designing this mess? Oh, wait, they aren’t teachers, that’s right.
So parents with the courage to recognize an educational Titanic when they see one are wisely removing their kids from an untested experiment. They refuse to lend their children as guinea pigs to the Louisiana version of the Edsel. Stand for Children may think it is standing for children, but it’s unnecessary. Parents are already standing up for their kids, and they do it for the right intentions, and without the benefit of Bill Gates’ money.