The Chicago Tribune reports that Chicago Public Schools, the third largest school district in the entire United States, is rebuffing a federal mandate by refusing to give most of its students the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) Common Core test this year. Only 66 of its 600+ schools will take the test as an extension of a 2014 pilot program, with the vast majority of its students taking the previous assessment test. At stake is millions of dollars of federal funding.
School district chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett said “We’re not asking to be exempt, we’re not saying ‘Dump PARCC, dump Common Core” and that the issue was that her district lacked the access to the technology necessary to administer the test. From the article:
The Chicago Teachers Union also opposes the test and has approved a resolution opposing implementation of the test, which replaces the Illinois Standards Achievement Test. CTU President Karen Lewis said she shared concerns similar to those of Byrd-Bennett.
“When we have teachers without desks and students without books, and we’re still trying to mandate a computer-driven test without any of the infrastructure we need to do that with,” Lewis said. “This is another unfunded mandate that comes down to punishing people for being poor.”
Many people are going to discover that the test that is supposed to ‘raise the standards for all’ is actually going to penalize inner-city students and those who lack access to technology at home or at school. The fact that the PARCC was rejected in Chicago has more than a tinge of irony. The Windy City was the former backyard of President Barack Obama, who oversaw the Race To The Top Initiative which ‘rewards’ states with federal funding for complying with Common Core Standards. Chicago was also home to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who was the CEO of Chicago Public Schools for 8 years. No matter what Byrd-Bennett says, this is a slap to the face of Obama and Duncan. I couldn’t be more pleased. Hopefully this encourages other school districts large and small to follow suit.
With serious questions arising about how Common Core is data mining our children, southern states are preparing to back out on the federal K-12 standards in education. This is an issue for moderates, liberals and conservatives. Here at Take Back Your Classrooms, we are going to give people a nonpartisan perspective on this educational crisis, and hopefully a way out. If enough of us make noise, at the right time, to the right people, then I believe that we can force our lawmakers to remove this cancer from our children’s lives. Join us, and let’s take back our classrooms!