Do as I said … Not as I say: Common Core and PARCC

Word on the street is that the Governor is supporting efforts to stop the use of PARCC tests next year, and he might even show up at the House Education Committee to testify.

PARCC, which stands for the Partnership for Assessment Readiness for College and Careers, has worked for 4 years with states, school districts, principals, and teachers to develop tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards. If Louisiana abandons the PARCC tests now, it will cost the state millions of dollars and many years to develop an inferior test that would not allow us to compare the performance of our schools and students to the rest of the nation.

The Facts

— Louisiana adopted the Common Core Standards in 2010, with the Governor’s support.
— The PARCC tests were developed according to the agreement the Governor signed in June 2010, expressly recognizing the states were developing the test and that is was not a federal test.
— PARCC was developed by a consortium of 19 states and the District of Columbia. It is not a federal, one-size-fits-all test. The Governor would never have agreed to a “federal test” in 2010.

Funny … the Governor has a long record of supporting Common Core and PARCC tests.

November 2009: In a press release touting Louisiana’s decision to apply for Race to the Top Funding, which included signing on to the Common Core State Standards, the Governor got it right, saying:

“Our children have only one chance to grow and get the skills they need to succeed. We must take advantage of every opportunity we have to strengthen our education system and provide more opportunities for Louisiana children.”

June 2010: The Governor signed the Partnership for Assessment Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Agreement:

  • Becoming a governing state to “support the development of new assessments systems that measure student knowledge and skills against a common set of college and career ready standards in mathematics and English language arts …”  
  • Pledging that Louisiana would help oversee the development of the test, including participation in Design Committees that would:
    • develop content and test specifications
    • recommend achievement levels
    • recommend common assessment policies
  • And committing Louisiana to “statewide implementation and administration of the assessment system developed by the Consortium, no later than the 2014-15 school year.”

November 2011: Again, the Governor personally signed the following guarantee:

“The state will maintain its commitment to improving the quality of its assessments, evidenced by the state’s participation in a consortium of states that

  • is working toward jointly developing and implementing common, high quality assessments aligned with a common set of K-12 standards that prepare students for college and careers; and
  • includes a significant number of States.”

Suddenly, the Governor waffles.

March 2014: The Governor issued a statement saying:

“What we do not support is federal, one-size-fits-all testing … We have concerns with Common Core and PARCC, and that’s why we asked the state education board and legislators to address these issues.”

Educate Now! hopes the members of the House Education Committee will do what the Governor has said for years, and not what he has suddenly chosen to say.