Common Core Walkout in Albuquerque Gets National Attention; Arkansas House Passes Bill Prohibiting Test

Public backlash against the Common Core is garnering more national headlines this week.  As I discussed last month, the opt-out trend in Ohio was only the beginning.   I predicted that there would be a nationwide movement of parents holding back their young learners from taking the test and older students simply walking away.  We are seeing the start of this in Albuquerque, New Mexico this week.  Fox News discussed the student demonstrations that are happening there:

A New assessment tests that have angered parents and teachers across the nation prompted walkouts Monday by hundreds of high school students in New Mexico who had been set to take the exams.
  
The backlash came as millions of U.S. students started taking the rigorous exams aligned with Common Core standards that outline math and language skills that should be mastered in each grade.

New Mexico is among a dozen states debuting the tests this year.

Opponents say the exams distract from real learning, put added stress on students and staff members, and waste resources, especially in poor districts.

Administrators warned students that those who did not participate in the tests would not walk the stage for graduation.  Hundreds of students were not deterred by this:

Maya Quinones, 18, an Albuquerque High School senior, said administrators warned her that participating in the walkout might prevent her from taking part in graduation ceremonies.
  
“If we make something happen, if next year comes around and the PARCC test is gone, then I feel like we’re successful,” said Quinones, an organizer of the protest. “And you know what? As long as I get my diploma, I’m all right. I don’t have to walk in line.”
  
Julie Guevara, 16, said students believe the testing is taking away from their overall education.

“We hope the governor hears us and does something about this,” Guevara said. “We’re not going away and plan to do this again until the testing is done.”
  
Gov. Susana Martinez’s office did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
  
The test — called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, in New Mexico — can also be used in teacher evaluations and school grades.
  
The walkouts and demonstrations began last week in Santa Fe then continued in Carlsbad on Friday.
  
Students from several Las Cruces schools joined the movement Monday by walking out of classes. Some carried signs that read “More teaching, less testing,” and “Out the door with Common Core.”
  
The Santa Fe walkouts sparked students at Highland High School to stage their own protest, 16-year-old Highland student Connor Guiney said.
  
“It’s an excess of time being used and an unfair evaluation of teachers,” Guiney said. “We don’t appreciate that and we wanted to make a stand.”

If teachers jobs were not at risk, I wonder how many of them would stand with the students as well.

Arkansas is moving ahead to remove the Common Core from classrooms with their House of Representatives voting 86-1 in favor of taking away the test.  THV11.com reports:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – The Arkansas House has voted to prohibit the state from administering a test linked to the Common Core education standards.

The bill passed by the House on an 86-1 vote Friday would end the state’s participation in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers after June 30. The bill now heads to the state Senate.

The PARCC exam is based on Common Core, which has been adopted by a majority of states, including Arkansas. The standards were designed to ensure high school graduates are ready for college or a career, but Common Core has come under fire from conservatives in recent years.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has formed a task force to review Common Core and recommend whether the standards are a good fit for the state.

“Task Forces” are not the answer here.  If the Governor’s populace demands that the Common Core be removed from classrooms, then that is what needs to be done.

-Gabriel Diaz

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