Thursday, November 20, 2014

Park the PARCC!

CTU Says to Park the PARCC!

By Jim Vail

Perhaps feeling the sting of criticism for not fighting the Common Core corporate school curriculum hard enough, the Chicago Teachers Union quickly issued a press release to its members to join forces with Raise Your Hand to demand a federal waiver to suspend the PARCC test.

"Tell ISBE: PARK the PARCC!" the CTU press release stated sent out to its 29,000 plus members.

The PARCC test is the Common Core test set to be given next March for Grades 3-8. Many believe it will hit the public schools hard as it did in New York when only 30 percent of its students passed the tests. It forced NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who originally backed the Common Core,  to demand a five year moratorium on the test due to the growing protests from parents all across the state.

Interestingly enough, the Chicago Public Schools very own CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett sent a letter requesting a waiver to issue the test this school year but was denied by the Illinois School Board of Education (headed by former mayoral candidate and Chicago Board of Education president Gery Chico).

ISBE stated Chicago would jeopardize receiving Title 1 federal funding.

“The purpose of standardized assessments is to inform instruction,” Byrd-Bennett said and reported in The Sun Times. “At present, too many questions remain about PARCC to know how this new test provides more for teachers, students, parents, and principals than we are already providing through our current assessment strategies.”

So the CTU and Raised Your Hand are in good company demanding that this very hard test be temporarily stopped.

Certainly, the CTU must have felt some pressure after we at Second City Teacher questioned why the union has remained eerily silent on criticizing the Common Core curriculum after a resolution passed by its teacher delegates last spring demanded that they take actions to inform its members about the problems with this corporate driven curriculum that is wrecking havoc around the country.

More and more reports are coming out of the corporate media that Common Core is not what the people want, nor its tests like the PARCC which do not take into account special needs children or English Language Learners, for example.    

Raise Your Hand will host a press conference Friday, Nov. 21 at 11am at the Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St, to once again ask ISBE and the Illinois General Assembly to seek a waiver from the US Dept of Education to delay implementation of the PARCC exam.

According to the press release, parents will also be seeking legislative support for a bill that will ensure that parents can opt-out their children from PARCC or other state mandated tests without fear of legal or academic repercussions.

This calls into question part of the Resolution to denounce the Common Core that the CTU delegates passed, which called on the union to lobby state officials about the problems with Common Core.

"Districts around the state have been calling on ISBE to delay this test for months, and it has fallen on deaf ears," the Raise Your Hand press release stated. "Based on inadequate time for field-testing, inadequate technological and Common Core readiness across the state, test length and lack of administrative support, there is widespread agreement that the test is not yet ready for statewide, mandatory administration."

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