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PARCC decision fails to address real issues

(Baton Rouge – August 20, 2014) Tuesday’s court ruling against the Jindal administration’s effort to block tests linked to Common Core State Standards fails to address the real issues facing teachers and their students as school opens for the 2014-15 school year, Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Steve Monaghan said today.

“Supporters of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers say that these tests are the only way to provide an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison of Louisiana children with those in the rest of the nation,” Monaghan said. “But given how unevenly this had been rolled out and the circus that continues, that's one thing we're not going to get."

"It's time to turn the page. The lengthy chapter marked by obsessive testing has to end. The concentration and the conversation must turn to teaching the whole child,” Monaghan said.

“Along with the avalanche of standardized tests imposed on our children comes an over reliance on statistical gymnastics more suited for labeling and sorting students than informing instruction," he said.

“Month after month we learn more about the curving and manipulation of data by the Department of Education,” Monaghan said. “Adjusting a variables here and a data point there can create heroes or goats, depending on the whim of the statistician in charge.”

Aside from the manipulation of data, Monaghan said, the implementation of these Standards and PARRC across the state has been anything but consistent.

“The failure of the Department of Education to prepare students, parents and teachers for the changes are well documented,” he said. “Many school systems don’t have the basic resources they need to appropriately administer the tests, much less prepare children for the high-stakes assessments.

“Instead of preparing communities, teachers and children for these standards, our state set sail on an educational misadventure of faux reforms that disrespected our constitution, vilified teachers, siphoned funds from already underfunded public schools, and resulted in endless legal battles,” Monaghan said.

“If we are going to proceed with high-stakes testing,” Monaghan said, “it is imperative that we at least delay the consequences of those tests until we are sure that fair and accurate assessments, fully aligned with agreed upon standards and curricula, are in place."