By Brad McQueen
Parents should opt out of letting their kids be used as guinea pigs for the Common Core/PARCC “pilot” test being given in Arizona schools over the next few weeks. As a “governing board” member of the PARCC testing group, Secretary of Instruction, John Huppenthal, has agreed to pilot and then implement the PARCC test statewide during the 2014/2015 school year.
At a recent meeting with parents and teachers in Oro Valley that I attended, Huppenthal stated that the PARCC pilot test is a “voluntary” test that Arizona schools have agreed to participate in. The testing window starts next week and lasts for several weeks. Hundreds of schools across AZ and the country will have thousands of K-12 students sit for several hours to take the pilot version of the computerized Common Core/PARCC test. Pearson Testing will then gather the results of the pilot test and use them to tweak their version of the Common Core/PARCC test that they will then sell back to states across the country to use to assess the new Common Core standards which have been fully implemented this year.
What will we get from the pilot tests? According to Huppenthal, absolutely nothing, except that teachers will be able to look over their students’ shoulders to get an idea of what next year’s Common Core/PARCC test will look like. Sounds like a pretty cheap date. None of the data derived from the pilot test, regarding academic or computer skills, will be made available to participating schools to assess instruction. No financial compensation will be offered to our students and schools for participating in this pilot test either, though Pearson stands to make millions when it uses data from the pilot test to finalize their nationwide test.
Do students have to take the Common Core/PARCC test? No. The state of Arizona has not yet adopted a test to assess the new Common Core standards, so officially students/parents who opt out of the pilot test cannot be penalized in any way for not taking an “adopted state assessment”. Our kids are being pimped out to the Pearson testing company without the schools asking parents for input or for permission.
What can parents do? Parents are their kids’ ultimate educators and protectors. Parents can call their children’s schools and check to see if their child will be involved in this pilot test. They can then ask that their kid be “opted out” of taking the test or they can simply keep their kids home the day of the test. We have enough problems in Arizona with education, let’s not add to the list the problem of a predatory testing company using our kids for their financial gain.
Elementary Teacher – Tucson, and author of The Cult of Common Core
Follow Brad on Twitter at @cosmowisdom