PARCC Misconceptions & Concerns

Concerns about PARCC


1. The district is not prepared for the technology demands of PARCC testing.


Our district technology has been upgraded and exceeds the needs of the PARCC system. Our students and teachers have had multiple experiences with PARCC and are well prepared.


Our district has prepared for the transition to PARCC by upgrading its technology, we continue to work with the teachers who administer the test, and prepare students for a successful PARCC experience.  Students utilize the computers they use to take the PARCC assessment on a daily basis.


2. PARCC takes up more instructional time than NJ ASK assessments took.


The time taken for PARCC is comparable to NJASK and is a better use of student time.  


The state has set aside a total of 10 hours per year for PARCC testing.  Most students are expected to complete PARCC testing in less than the 10 hours allotted.  Over half of students in grades, 6-11 are predicted to finish all PARCC testing in 7.5 hours, while most third graders are expected to complete testing in 6.5 hours.  PARCC is truly an educationally rich experience for students as they interact with grade-level texts and equations.  Your child will benefit from the experience.


3.  PARCC testing will be used to determine promotion or report card grades.


PARCC does not affect grades.


As has always been our district’s practice, the state testing program will not be a factor in determining grades or promotion to the next grade in 2016-2017.  PARCC will not be used to determine class placement into gifted and talented, honors, or advanced placement classes.  Additionally, “passing” PARCC will not be a sole high school graduation requirement for the classes of 2016, 2017, and 2018.  Students who do not “pass” the PARCC can graduate by proving proficiency on a series of other assessments.


4.  My child must participate or they will get penalized.


While students will not be penalized for a parent's refusal to allow them to participate in PARCC, they DO miss the opportunity to practice for other computer-based and "PARCCesque" assessments such as the new SAT. Further, PARCC will be the only graduation testing requirement beginning in the 2020 school year and we want our students to be prepared.


A parent does have the option to not allow their child to participate in many school activities including, but not limited to, immunization requirements, animal dissection, and sex education (usually for religious beliefs).


5.  A parent has the right to opt-out of PARCC testing based on legal precedent.


This is new territory because PARCC is the first time parents have refused assessment participation to any noticeable degree. NJ state regulations mandate participation in the annual state testing program.  To date, there have not been any court decisions that address the ability of general education students in public schools to opt-out of state testing. If a parent refuses to let his/her child take the annual state assessment, the act is considered by the state as a form of student misconduct. However, there is not and will not be any penalty for refusing.


The New Jersey School Boards website (n.d.), summarizes the following court cases as follows:


Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923).  A teacher while working in a parochial school was convicted for teaching the German language to a 10-year old child who had not successfully passed the eighth grade, in violation of a Nebraska statute that prohibited teaching of languages other than English to children who had not passed the eighth grade.  The Supreme Court reversed, and ruled that it was arbitrary to any state goal.


Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965).  The state of Connecticut was charged with violating a statute by giving information, instruction, and advice to married persons about preventing contraception.  The Supreme Court reversed, finding that the statute was an unconstitutional invasion of the right of privacy.


Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972).  Wisconsin’s compulsory education law required children to attend school until age 16.  Defendants were of the Amish faith, who claimed that secondary schooling would substantially interfere with the religious development of the Amish child, and contravened the basic religious tenets and practices of their faith.  The Supreme Court upheld the parents’ right to direct the religious upbringing of their children.


Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292 (1993).  Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether suspected undocumented juveniles, arrested by the Immigration and Naturalization Service may be released to the custody of responsible adults who are not their parents, close relatives, or legal guardians.


M.L.B. v. S.L.J. (1996).  This Court decision upheld parents’ rights in general regarding choices about marriage, family life, and the upbringing of children.  It emphasized rights that are protected by the 14th Amendment, specifically, “the government’s unwarranted usurpation, disregard, or disrespect”, and the government’s authority to permanently sever a parent-child bond.


1978 Protection of Pupil Rights Act

This allows parents to inspect educational materials—ALL educational material, which would include anything used in the course of providing instruction.  A parent has the right to remove a child from objectionable classroom instruction or activity.


The First Amendment Free Speech

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.


References

New Jersey School Boards Association (n.d.) Statute, Code and Case Law Related to Student Participation in the State Testing Program.  Retrieved from

http://www.njsba.org/resources/legal/pdfs/opt-out-statutes-code.pdf.