BOSTON – Inevitable? For four years, D.C.-based special interests have repeated that “the Common Core standards have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia; they’re here to stay.
But we knew better. Common Core is meaningless without national tests to lock in implementation. Today, the Partnership for Readiness in College and Careers (PARCC) national assessment is a sinking ship, and states are bailing on it as fast as they can.
PARCC is one of two federally funded consortia developing national assessments aligned with Common Core. Its $160 million in federal funding hinges upon its ability to maintain a membership of at least 15 states.
But PARCC’s membership map is shrinking – fast.
Jim Stergios, Jamie Gass, and Pioneer advisor Sandra Stotsky have provided legislative testimony, addressed public forums, and served as a media resource in over 20 states – providing the research-based support for countless repeal efforts.
Media scrutiny of PARCC has intensified. More and more national reporters from outlets such as Politico, The Washington Post, The Hechinger Report, The Daily Caller, Breitbart, National Review, and Huffington Post are paying closer attention.
When they want to talk to trusted experts – they call on Pioneer.
The exodus from PARCC is happening because of the growing backlash among local parents all across the country. Moms like Oklahoma’s Jenni White, who organized a grassroots effort to restore local control of education. Or Hoosiers Against Common Core’s Healther Crossin and Erin Tutlle, whose tireless public awareness campaign resulted in Indiana becoming the first state to opt out. Or Utah’s Christel Swasey, Alisa Ellis, and Renee Braddy, whose activism was instrumental in their state’s withdrawal.
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And when these concerned parents began to mobilize, they called on Pioneer.
PARCC started out with 25 states, but now its membership has dwindled to 9 states and the District of Columbia. Over the past year, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and more have pulled out. Fewer states means fewer customers and higher costs – not a rosy forecast.
A number of states have gone even further, with Indiana Governor Mike Pence in May pulling the plug on PARCC and Common Core. This month, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley followed suit, signing bills repealing Common Core. Missouri has changed its stance. Last week, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal held a press conference announcing plans to withdraw, while raising important questions about its legality.
What about Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, PARCC is by no means a foregone conclusion. Yes, State Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester is the Chair of the PARCC Governing Board. But with the Commonwealth spending unbudgeted money on PARCC pilot tests, districts across the state pitching overrides to pay for the technology costs associated with PARCC, others refusing to participate in the field test, there is growing opposition to PARCC in the Commonwealth. According to The Hechinger Report, many teachers are voicing concerns that PARCC’s technology issues may render student results meaningless.
As Pioneer has long argued, Massachusetts’ historic, nation-leading K-12 education reforms are a model for other states to emulate. Forcing weaker national standards on Bay State schools is a tragic leap backward for a state that has demonstrated the most progress in the country on national and international assessments.
Massachusetts parents and public officials are demanding to know the real costs of replacing the state’s MCAS exam with PARCC tests, and they are beginning to take action to opt out.
Common Core aims too low for America, with terminal expectations in Algebra II-lite and a significant reduction in high-quality literature. Adoption of the Common Core and the associated PARCC and SBAC tests violates three federal laws.
Common Core imposes tens of billions of dollars in unfunded mandates on states and localities. This is the price of greater intrusion by a federal department of education that, in its 34 years of existence, has no record of success in advancing higher student achievement.
Massachusetts knows what works in K-12 education. But Pioneer needs your support to provide the information that our parents, school committee members, state representatives, and citizens need in order to put the Commonwealth back on its successful course and restore local control to states across America so they can develop their own world-class standards.