FIVE FACTS ABOUT ILLINOIS AND PARCC
1. Only nine states plus the District of Columbia are participating in PARCC testing this year: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Rhode Island, Massachusetts. That’s out of more than 20 originally involved in the consortium of states piloting the project as part of a federal education program.
2. There is no state law in Illinois giving parents the right to opt students out of tests. That exists in other states such as California, but a bill has been introduced in the Illinois legislature this month.
3. 42 superintendents from various districts in the Peoria metro area wrote a letter to the Illinois State Board of Education, dated Jan. 30, asking for the ISBE to delay implementation of PARCC testing, citing lack of teacher training and student preparation, instructional time lost, and doubting the ability of publisher Pearson to adequately administer the test — among other issues.
4. The estimated cost of PARCC administration in Illinois is reported to be $57 million this year.
5. Students will spend approximately nine to eleven hours of total time taking the exam, depending on grade and school.
Don’t want your child to participate in the new PARCC standardized testing? Both the Champaign and Urbana school districts are directing parents who are contemplating opting their children out from the test to a letter written by Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Christopher Koch. (See our full article)
In short, the letter states, “students are asked to complete the assessments rather than opt out.” It goes on to say districts can form their own “opt-out” policy, but ISBE does not provide any guidance on how a district or school can provide an “opt-out” because such an option would “violate the law.”
But as Dr. Susan Zola, Champaign Unit 4 Schools assistant superintendent said in our full article on this topic, there will not be any consequences for students who opt out. There is no evidence of any enforceable penalties for children or parents, such as not promoting a child to the next grade.
So how do you opt out your child? Activists say it’s not enough to keep your child home from school (or even practical for most families). Children who are kept home from school on testing days may be required to do make-ups.
Instead, activists are encouraging parents to write a letter to their child’s teacher and principal stating that they are refusing their legal minor to take the test, and asking that the child be allowed to engage in a quiet activity such as reading during the test period.
Some organizations have put together sample letters on opting out your child.
What do you think of the PARCC situation?