Bill to Repeal Common Core Advances in Alabama; Parents Sound Off Against PARCC in Illinois

Alabama is making news regarding its stance on the Common Core tests, as a bill to repeal the federal testing initiative moves through the state Senate. Republican Senator Rusty Glover was motivated to sponsor the bill thanks to the input of so many parents who were upset at the effect of the Core curriculum on their children.  Let’s take a look at Bill to repeal Common Core set for hearing in Alabama Senate committee

An effort to repeal Alabama’s use of Common Core State Standards in public schools is back in the state Legislature.

The Senate Education Policy Committee on Wednesday will hold a public hearing on a bill by Sen. Rusty Glover, R-Semmes, that would repeal the standards the state Board of Education voted to adopt in 2010.

Glover, a former high school history teacher, says he hears more from people about Common Core than all other issues combined and that the vast majority of teachers and parents he has talked to oppose the standards.

Among complaints Glover says he hears are that parents and grandparents can’t help young children with their math homework anymore because of new methods and that English classes focus less on classical literature and more on informational texts.

“They (teachers) really can’t say anything openly because there is pressure from up top not to,” Glover said.

The trend to silence the opinions of teachers is not just present in Alabama.  It is present in Arizona.  My friends in the education field here in South Florida tell me that they would consider their careers at risk if they speak out.  This leaves parents as the catalysts of the opt-out movement.

In other news, the PARCC took some body shots at a town hall meeting in Illinois this week.  While some teachers stood up for the mandate, there were plenty of parents who had a bone to pick, undoubtedly inspired by over 100 students braving sub-zero conditions to protest the exams.  Pantagraph.com reports:

NORMAL — Illinois’ new standardized test took a beating Monday.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam received harsh criticism from students, teachers, parents, administrators and legislators alike during a public town hall meeting on the Common Core curriculum standards at Illinois State University.

While some — particularly teachers — defended the controversial learning standards, PARCC was slammed early and often during the two-hour panel discussion and public comment session at Bone Student Center.

“PARCC is an awful test. Awful, awful, awful test,” said Gail McDermott, a teacher at Normal-based McLean County Unit 5. “I don’t agree with the idea that… PARCC is here and we need to accept it.”

State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, said he wanted to host the town hall meeting — which State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, also participated in — to gauge local reaction to Common Core and PARCC, which he and Rose voted against implementing this spring. The second of two PARCC testing sessions for 2014-15 begins this month.

Rose specifically mentioned a Normal Community High School student walkout over the test, which saw more than 100 students brave single-digit weather in protest. Three of those students spoke on the panel against all standardized testing, and many members of the public echoed their views.

“We’re trying to preach that creativity and individuality is everything, but when we’re shoving our children into boxes with a one-size-fits-all answer, what are we really saying?” said NCHS student Colleen Connelly.

Local school superintendents have criticized PARCC specifically because of lost instructional time and additional cost to schools, particularly when state aid is dwindling. Seventy-five percent of tests administered this spring were digital, and schools have struggled to install the necessary technology.

“if we had proper support for our schools and proper resources, these problems with implementation wouldn’t be there,” said El Paso-Gridley Superintendent Mike Lindy.

Rich Baldwin, president of the Bloomington Education Association teachers union at District 87 and a Bloomington High School teacher, said, “Out of a 90-day semester, I’ve got colleagues losing a dozen days of class” to proctor PARCC exams, and teachers have missed the use of technology occupied by testing.

District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly said of testing, “We do it too much.”

Lindy said testing is useful in directing instruction, but because he believes PARCC can’t do that, “I just don’t see the value.”

“How much testing do we truly need? Do we need it to drive instruction? Absolutely. But could we need do that at the classroom level?” said Mark Daniel, superintendent of Normal-based McLean County Unit 5.

Students passed out fliers encouraging students to opt out of PARCC, and opponents of the test and the standards said they plan to take the fight to Springfield and Washington, D.C.

“Until we move away from this philosophy that Springfield knows better than our local school districts, we’re going to continue to be frustrated by this,” Barickman said.

Superintendent Lindy just doesn’t get it.  Ohio is not experiencing an “implementation” problem.   The heart of the matter is that parents, students, and voters are upset at the very concept of this test.  They do not want their children to participate in the test, be subject to its influence in the classroom.   They do not want the test at all.  They don’t want the PARCC around with better implementation.  They want the PARCC gone entirely.  Parents and students voices becoming louder and angrier.  Eventually, they will get their wish.

-Gabriel Diaz

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