Monday, March 3, 2014

Going Bartleby on PARCC

What will happen if you opt your child out of the PARCC pilot? The T&G has the answer this morning:
As a practical matter, if Worcester students refuse to take the PARCC field test on their scheduled day, they will be sent somewhere else in the building in a non-punitive manner and given something to read or another task, Worcester Superintendent Melinda J. Boone said. "We won't have kids just sitting there idle," she said. 
So, no, no one is going to be forced (and, really, how do you force someone to take a test? Thus the "Bartleby" reference above).
To clear up a few other things from the article:
  • the example that I cited as "the worst" is Canterbury Street's third graders, who are scheduled for five PARCC sessions, on top of their first year of MCAS; no one at Columbus Park is scheduled for field testing. You can see the full list here
  • The language regarding parental opt out was added to the policy handbook this past spring, so I'm not sure what's going on with the bit about anything predating Superintendent Boone, unless that's referencing the MCAS language cited. In any case, it's not at all a conflict: we appear to be forgetting that the executive branch executes the law; they don't get to interpret the law. There is nothing--not even the state's current favorite, Chapter 69--which says that every child in the state has to take the test. And the conflict only exists in the handbook if you're trying to opt out of MCAS.
  • And the assertion that one cannot opt out of MCAS is directly contradicted by what Superintendent Boone said from the floor in December, backed up by what we managed to wrangle out of the state after that. There is a code and there is a process. The state doesn't want to publicly admit it.
  • This is on Thursday's School Committee agenda, so you have a chance to weigh in if you'd like. 
10 am UPDATE: the reference in the article to Columbus Park has been changed to Canterbury Street.
Oh, and we just made EdWeek

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