Parents Should Opt Out of the Common Core/PARCC Pilot Test

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.

Brad McQueen
Elementary Teacher – Tucson, and author of The Cult of Common Core
Follow Brad on Twitter at @cosmowisdom

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Under the leadership of Editor in Chief Huey Freeman, the Editorial Board of the Arizona Daily Independent offers readers an opportunity to comments on current events and the pressing issues of the day. Occasionally, the Board weighs-in on issues of concern for the residents of Arizona and the US.


  1. We live in Montgomery County, MD. My daughter is in one of the classes randomly selected to take the PARCC exam tomorrow. With 3 AP exams coming up, she is expected to miss two full days of classes in order to take the PARCC. I think NOT. I will be keeping her home for a bit in the morning so she misses the beginning of the exam and then take her to school. If they try to force her to take the exam, she plans to bubble in A for every answer, ask to go to the bathroom and go to class.
    25 mins · Like

  2. It is not my intent to inflame the debate over common core and PARCC. I find valid criticisms of both from liberals an conservatives alike. I do agree, however, with Richard K’s argument. But, I would like to add that today it is very difficult to tell where the line between the Federal Government and Corporate America begins and ends. From my perspective the line is so blurred that it is impossible to make a clear distinction. I do not believe that our elected officials represent we the voters. They represent big monied interests. And why wouldn’t they? We have institutionalized bribery and call it campaign contributions. Our Senators and congress members are bought and paid for by corporate America and billionaire oligarchs. This is the root cause of common core and the destruction of what once the world’s best educational system. It is also the biggest threat to our democracy.

    • Correct. Candidates and election outcomes are bought and paid for by the biggies. We the people really have no say any more. As soon as the oath of office is taken by an electee the quest for re-election begins. The oath goes out the window. As for Common Core, it’s just about the most ridiculous idea that’s come along in quite some time but give the politicians a bit longer and I’m sure they can come up with something even more idiotic.

  3. It is true that the Obama Administration has supported the Common Core set of standards and (perhaps improperly) used its own resources to promote them, but it is not true that the source of these new standards is the federal government. The source is a group of corporate leaders (Bil Gates, the US Chamber of Commerce, and others) and the National Governors Association (dominated by Republican Governors.) They are in no way part of a “liberal agenda.” Rather, they are a key part of the corporate agenda to transform American schools into a giant sorting machine to produce and train a large supply of mindless workers who will do exactly what the members of the Chamber of Commerce want. There is every bit as much criticism of the Common Core coming from the left as from the right.

    • I don’t find many polls on Common Core, but based on what I read and hear far more liberals support it. Non liberals who support it or funded it’s founding (like Bill Gates) are not considered very conservative. Many conservatives were also against “No Child Left Behind” even though some “Republicans” liked it.

      In my opinion as one, conservatives basically want more freedom and local control to impliment rigerous basic education without fuzzy math, whole language reading and polically correct science, history and socioligy. If some community loves that fuzzy math they can have it, here in America. Just let everyone have local control so communities can give their children a quality education.

  4. John, there is no way to “improving common core”; it is crap, and crap is crap, even if you try to put some sauce on it, or spray it with perfume, it’s still crap. It needs to be scrapped. You have bought into the claim that we are losing ground around the world. The best is still developed, invented here in America. Healthcare, computer technology, space exploration, superior secondary and upper education, and other innovative technologies still primarily come from America. The rest of the world sends its citizens to study here, copy our technology, and to receive medical treatment. Know why? Because we are free, and we are Capitalists, and there is an incentive to be the best. The claim that we are inferior is a ruse for an excuse to control our children, just like they claimed our healthcare was broken so they could “improve” it with Obama Care, another inferior control freak project. You are simply a fool if you think our educational system needs improvement. Our kids just need the FREEDOM to learn, and then Capitalism provides the incentive for them to excel. Remove freedom and capitalism and we will crumble.

  5. Just downloaded my copy of Brad’s book to my Kindle! And just finished writing my opt-out letter to my kid’s principal for next week’s PARCC field testing. So it begins.

  6. Despite all of the complaining, I have not seen one comment about improving common core or for developing a new measurement tool. Perhaps this is why the United States continues to lose ground in the international community educational standing. Our so called conservatives are just as bad as the liberals in dumbing down our children to the point where we are losing our competitiveness and innovation skills. It is no wonder third world countries are literally knocking our socks off.

  7. MY question, If this Common Core Crap is so bad, then why in the hell did Huppentahl approve it? Great,another John with zero spine. Just what our state needs….

  8. We must wake up, if not for ourselves, then for our children!! The best thing you can do it educate yourself and remember you always have a voice.

  9. Don’t forget, this is only the beginning. As the gov’t school students immerse further into the digitized curriculum (schooling) and testing, less and less of the curriculum, testing and test results will be accessible to the parents or outsiders. This “pilot test” is just the start of setting up a federal social profile for each student and the student’s family.

    Common Core is not about education, it is all about data mining American families and children to categorize them by federal & global standards. The training – not education – of the students and families will then be directed to accommodate the federal & global desires and NOT to benefit the students or their independent futures.

    Stay far away from Common Core and its promoters. Keep AZ education in the hands of AZ parents and educators. Do not surrender.

    God bless America

  10. I attended that meeting myself & was stunned when Mr Huppenthal explained what we got out of PATCC testing. What a joke – along with most of his answers. Diane douglas is running against him. She will be speaking at OV Library at 6 pm on 4/10. Parents & teachers should consider going to hear the alternative to voting for him.

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