Many Parents Call for Allowing Their Children to Opt-Out of PARCC Tests

PARCC standardized tests, which utilize an online platform that students are expected to interact with as they take the test (rather than the format, familiar to their parents, of filling in bubbles on a piece of paper) began to be administered throughout Illinois on Monday, March 9. The testing cycle is expected to continue for approximately four weeks. Data from the test will be used to evaluate Illinois public and charter school students, teachers, schools and school systems.

Many parents are concerned about the new PARCC system, which from their point of view was sprung on their children without recourse and without sufficient warning. No current law allows parents to withdraw their children from the PARCC test, which is supposed to be given to every eligible child in order to generate statistically significant results that can be used to gauge everyone’s performance. Furthermore, the federal government has sent warning letters to Illinois’ State Board of Education (http://www.isbe.state.il.us/) to remind educators of the nexus between federal school aid and compliance with the order that students all take the test.

Attitudes by parents toward the PARCC mandate is becoming increasingly coordinated with resistance toward other mandates imposed by schools upon children, such as mandated sex education and compliance with certain health benchmarks. Bills have been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly to discuss the issue. The “Chicago Sun-Times” (http://chicago.suntimes.com/news-chicago/7/71/426899/calls-opt-bill-continue-illinois-starts-parcc) describes the issue from the standpoint of concerned parents.

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