Friday, March 7, 2014

Reporting on the opt out by EdWeek

Earlier today, EdWeek reported on the decision made by the Worcester School Committee regarding parental opt out.
I find the language from the state regarding this interesting:
JC Considine, a spokesman for the Massachusetts department of education, said that the 1993 Education Reform Act requires districts to participate in state testing, but refusing to do so doesn't incur financial penalties. Nonetheless, the state education department's general counsel advised in a recent letter that since the department views the PARCC field tests as part of its assessment system, districts are required to participate.
Even though Massachusetts' federal waiver allows districts to give only one test—the MCAS or the PARCC field test—to any student in a given subject area, it is up to districts to decide whether to give both, Considine said. The "vast majority" are still opting to give students both the MCAS and the PARCC field test, he said. "We want these districts to participate," he said. "We think this will be a valuable experience for every district to go through."

That's a bit misleading, as it makes it sound as though districts got to pick: PARCC or MCAS? They didn't: superintendents were told that students scheduled for PARCC did not have to take the corresponding part of MCAS. Most, it appears, have been far too convinced that they have to have the MCAS scores to do so. 
However, this language doesn't sound very combative to me.

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