Friday, November 8, 2013

Some notes on PARCC (MASC 13) with more to come

I was part of a panel presenting on the new PARCC assessment this afternoon (specifically, where are we at and what can we do).(UPDATE: which had a brief mention in the Cape Cod Times)
I do not have the PowerPoint that my fellow panel members presented, but I will get it to post.
Meanwhile, a few points from me: 
First of all, all is not lost. Do not despair. The presentation by DESE this morning at the conference was different than the presentation that they made to superintendents late last month, which was different than the one that they made to the Board of Ed last month. They are hearing concerns, and things are fluid. 
That said, we are hearing that the Board of Ed is NOT hearing the concerns as clearly as the Department. We need to reach them, and we need to reach them fast, as they meet on November 19 to vote on the two year timetable that at least does a one year pilot of PARCC followed by one year of PARCC/MCAS, your choice.

I urged delegates to be sure to attend the Delegates Assembly and vote in favor of the PARCC resolution (which they did; it passed overwhelmingly). That will now go to the Board of Ed as the expressed view of the Mass Association of School Committees.
I also urged them to pass resolutions through their own committees, as at least Somerville and Northbridge have done, urging either a pause or a halt to the implementation. Sharing those not only with the Board of Education but also their legislative delegation continues to increase the pressure.

I urged them to get enough information to make their concerns specific: do they have the technology? What kinds of costs are they going to incure? How many kids are due for double testing in the spring? How valid are the results of this or any such testing going to be? Get those reports as needed from administration (with apologies in advance to superintendents!) and GET THEM PUBLIC.
All School Committee members have constituent groups with whom they are in contact, whether through email or social media or PTO and community meetings. Be sure your community knows the specifics of your district's concerns around PARCC, and get the community involved in contacting the Board of Ed, the Governor, the Legislature.

As some have done already, take up the issue of this as an unfunded mandate with the state auditor.


And finally, whatever happens on the 19, on December 7 at 10 am, DESE is coming out to Worcester Tech to do a presentation to members of School Committees on PARCC. They will have a presentation (possibly a new one) and will be taking questions.
And don't give up!

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