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Earlier, Chicago Superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett said the city schools were not ready to give the PARCC test. She planned to give the test to only 10% of students. Federal and state pressure was applied, and the city caved to threats. It’s not about what’s best for children. It is power politics, and Arne Duncan’s demand that no child go untested.
IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin
March 2, 2015 312-329-6250
CTU Statement on Chicago Public Schools’ Decision to Cower to Federal Threats and Administer PARCC Assessment
CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union is extremely disappointed in the decision of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked Chicago Board of Education to administer the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) throughout the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district in the wake of intimidation by the Illinois State Board of Education and U.S. Department of Education. The district’s choice to back down from state and federal threats to withhold education funding if the PARCC was not administered throughout CPS allows for continued policy measures to disrupt the lives of students, handcuffs classroom educators and holds the sword of disinvestment over children and communities who need resources the most.
“This has the potential to blow up and be a tremendous failure, because CPS itself has said the district may not be able to handle a proper rollout at this time due to technical issues and frustration among students, teachers and administration over administering the test properly,” said CTU President Karen Lewis. “But instead of understanding those issues, the state and the feds decided to threaten to withhold resources from a district that’s one of the most poorly resourced in the nation.”
By changing course on a previous decision to limit the PARCC to just 10 percent of CPS schools students, the district will continue to burden elementary school students with the inhumane pressure of over-testing, valuable time away from classroom instruction. A number of CPS teachers who have taken the sample PARCC test have stated that the assessment is inappropriate for the target 3rd through 8th grades, and is coyly designed for students to fail.
The district’s decision to administer the PARCC test comes nearly a year to the day after the boycott of the now-defunct Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) by teachers at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy on March 3, 2014.