Georgia opts out of PARCC

By Kimberly Brooks, leader of PAA-Atlanta/GA/Atlanta Public Schools

News in Georgia applauds the success of delaying/opt-out of the PARCC consortium-designed Common Core assessments. While I believe that this article deserves recognition, there is much more work to be done.

For starters, the Georgia Department of Education has yet to be composed of a staff that would accommodate such a great responsibility. From the Iowa Test of Basic Skills when I was younger and the Georgia Graduation Test to the EOCT (End of Course Test) and the CRCT, we have yet to develop a valid testing instrument to adequately measure student’s academic achievement.

In addition to this prerequisite, we have not developed a curriculum to implement the standards once they are defined. Over the past few years different organizations, concerned teachers, and parents have come to together in collaboration, hoping to develop a strategic plan of action for our students — because our legislators have not.

The decision that Superintendent Barge made not to offer the test was great, but the question is — what will substitute for it?

High stakes testing caused 500,000 students in the Atlanta Public Schools System to be passed through school ignoring the value of quality teaching into educational hardship since NCLB started to measure academic achievement though standardized tests. I’ve looked into the eyes of a child that could barely read but passed the CRCT and wondered why their English teacher failed them. They don’t understand. They become angry and confused. Their values become misplaced. Students are stressed trying to focus on passing tests that someone miles away, lacking the educational qualifications to even create this test, gave them versus the teacher that’s in the class day after day.

Public education is held hostage by regulations, budget cuts, and constant changes in curriculum, creating an environment where preserving the quality of education has become low. We are losing great teachers and educators. Yes, this is a victory, but I wouldn’t start to celebrate too soon.

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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