New Mexico to Stop Using PARCC

Newly minted New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered the state’s department of education to stop using PARCC.

KOB Channel 4 reports:

Lujan Grisham, in an executive order, called on the department to immediately begin working with key stakeholders to identify and implement a more effective, more appropriate and less intrusive method for assessing school performance that is compliant with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

The development of this alternative approach, intended to deliver a sounder methodology for the rating and assessments of New Mexico schools, will include teachers, administrators, parents, students and recognized professionals and experts in the field of student assessments.

“This is the first of many steps we will take to transform education in this state,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “High-stakes tests like PARCC do our schools a disservice, and we are about empowering our school system. Including those who will be most empowered by a better assessment in the process will help us build something better from the ground up, as opposed to a test mandated from on high.”

In a second executive order, Lujan Grisham called for an end to using PARCC in teacher evaluations. Reaching out to stakeholders in a similar fashion, the department will, under the order, strive to achieve balance in its ratings and assessments by incorporating into its analysis a variety of proven means of measuring teacher efficacy and performance. 

Since New Mexico’s math and ELA standards are Common Core any new test will still be aligned to the standards as required by the Every Student Succeeds Act.

New Mexico’s upcoming departure coupled with New Jersey’s and Maryland’s upcoming exit will drop the Common Core assessment consortium that once boasted 27 partners (including 24 states) down to four.

PARCC’s active partners include the District of Columbia, Illinois (grades 3-8 only), Louisiana (hybrid, grades 3-8 only), New Jersey (plans to withdraw), Maryland (plans to withdraw), Massachusetts (hybrid, grades 3-8 only), New Mexico, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Department of Defense Education Activity.

New Mexico House Candidate Promotes Parental Opt-Out of PARCC

Dr. Lisa Shin

I read an op/ed by a state legislative candidate that I found refreshing. Lisa Shin who is running for the New Mexico House of Representatives in House District 43 said that parents should have a say whether their child takes PARCC. Shin is running unopposed in the Republican Primary that is being held today in an open seat that was previously held by State Representative Stephanie Richard, a Democrat who is running for public lands commissioner.

She writes:

PARCC testing has not improved the educational system for New Mexico as a whole. One thing for certain, the PARCC rebellion reflects the need for local control over education. Each community has vastly different needs and priorities. A responsive, accountable, and accessible school board and superintendent seeks input from teachers, parents, and students, to determine the best ways to assess and improve academic proficiency. What works in Los Alamos, doesn’t work in Cuba or Silver City.

Sen. Morales decries huge corporations that profit millions from PARCC, but it is the bad fruit from the tree of corruption and cronyism. Common Core is “infested with essentially the same set of people rewarding each other with taxpayer dollars and huge private grants, decades before there can be any proof that all this money laundering produced a genuine public good. Common Core is a giant experiment, remember.” When in doubt, follow the money.

In the end, parents have the final say, and should exercise their right to opt-out, if they so choose. Districts that tell parents they cannot do so, in Sen. Morales’ words, violate “a parent’s right to choose what is best for their children and it is unacceptable. Our children must not be used as leverage in a misguided national trend of high-stakes testing in public education.”

I am happy to see a candidate write about this. She is a rare candidate to do so.

The Next Generation Science Standards Are Already Politicized

Governor Susana Martinez (R-NM)
Photo Credit: Mallory Benedict/PBS NewsHour (CC-By-2.0)

I didn’t realize it until I read an op/ed in The New Mexico Political Report that New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has been a roadblock for the Next Generation Science Standards’ implementation in her state.

Good for her.

Bill McCamley and G. Andrés Romero, two Democratic State Representatives, write:

Next Generation Science Standards focus on hands on, problem solving based learning rather than rote memorization and teaching to a test. They also equip students with the updated science information and skill sets needed to compete for 21st Century jobs.

Unfortunately, Susana Martinez has failed over the last four years to put these new standards in our classrooms, even after her own staff professionals recommended them. That’s why we sponsored the Next Generation Science Standards bill in this past year’s legislative session. During one of the committee hearings, a former member of her staff admitted the reason for the governor’s decision. “Toward the end of my tenure at the Public Education Department, I was tasked to edit and change some of the language in the standards to make them politically sanitized.” After having passed both the House and Senate, the governor vetoed the bill.

We didn’t know what was meant by “sanitized” until last week, when the governor released her version of the standards. The word “evolution” was replaced with the term “biological diversity,” language documenting the earth’s rising temperature (which has been proven over and over again) was replaced with words describing temperature “fluctuations” and the age of the earth (widely seen by the scientific community as 4.6 Billion years) was completely stripped; all in an attempt to politicize science education.

Granted, I think the Next Generation Science Standards have problems beyond its doubling down on evolution (introducing the topic to junior high students) and man-made climate change, but those are issues. Saying that Governor Martinez is politicizing science education is ludicrous. These standards are already politicized and include junk science.

Give me a break. I hope Governor Martinez would reject even the “sanitized” version as Next Generation Science Standards are awful.

(2nd Update) 2017 Legislation on Standards, Assessments, and Data Privacy

States with relevant legislation.

Updated on 2/21/17 – see Kentucky and West Virginia.

A couple years ago I published a list of active bills in various statehouses related to Common Core and its aligned assessments. Over the two years I just included a tag for a particular year’s bills so people could click on that to check on the bills that we had written on. Needless to say we didn’t keep up very well so I’m bringing this back.

This is a list that I will update of filed legislation in state houses across the United States dealing with academic standards, local control, assessments and data privacy. My intention is just to give a bill number, a link to the bill, and a brief description of the bill and the last action on the bill. Inclusion on this list does not mean we support the particular bill, but only that our readers in each state should be aware of it, read it, and decide whether they should support or oppose it.  I plan to keep this list as updated as possible. Individual write-ups on different bills can be found at “2017 Bills.” If I missed a bill just shoot me an email with the bill number at info@truthinamericaneducation.com.

Arizona

SB1314 – A bill that seeks to tighten student data privacy. Last action: Passed out of Senate Education Committee.

Connecticut

HB06839 – An Act Concerning A Review And Report On The Implementation Of The Student Data Privacy Act. Last action: Referred to the Joint Committee on Education.

HB06769 – To amend the student data privacy act of 2016. Last action: Referred to Joint Committee on Education.

There are several identical bills related to allowing a one year delay in the implementation of the Student Data Privacy Act of 2016. Here is one example.

Florida

S 0584 – Authorizing certain students to be eligible for an alternative pathway to a standard high school diploma; requiring a school district to establish an Alternative Pathway to Graduation Review Committee for certain students; requiring each district school board to ensure certain instruction, to waive certain assessment results, and to administer a hard copy of the grade 10 ELA assessment or the statewide, standardized Algebra I EOC assessment for certain students, etc. Last action: Filed.

Indiana

SB 0536 – Replaces the ISTEP test program with an assessment program using the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills or the Iowa Tests of Educational Development, as appropriate for the grade level being tested. Repeals a statute establishing the ISTEP program citizens’ review committee. Repeals a provision defining the ISTEP program. Repeals an expiration provision. Makes conforming amendments. Last action: Assigned to Senate Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee.

HB1003 – Replaces the ISTEP test program after June 30, 2018, with a new statewide assessment program to be known as Indiana’s Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network (ILEARN). Repeals a provision defining the ISTEP program. Makes conforming amendments. Last action: Referred to the House Committee on Education.

Illinois

HB0332 – Amends the School Code to add provisions concerning student data privacy. Amends the Illinois School Student Records Act. Makes changes to the definition provisions. Sets forth provisions allowing disclosure of student records to researchers at an accredited post-secondary educational institution or an organization conducting research if specified requirements are met. Amends the Children’s Privacy Protection and Parental Empowerment Act to change the definition of “child” to mean a person under the age of 18 (instead of 16). Last action: Referred to the House Judiciary-Civil Committee.

Iowa

HJR 3 – A constitutional amendment that proposes “to provide home rule powers and authority for school districts.” Last action: Introduced into the House Education Committee (My write-up)

HF 26 – The bill authorizes a school board to exercise any broad or implied power, not inconsistent with the laws of the general assembly, related to the operation, control, and supervision of the public schools located within its district boundaries. Last action: Assigned a subcommittee. (My write-up)

SF 30 – This bill eliminates references and requirements to the Iowa Common Core or core curriculum or core content standards in the Iowa Code, but continues to direct the state board of education to adopt high school graduation requirements and assessment standards. It also creates a new task force for the development of a new assessment. Last action: assigned to subcommittee. (My write-up)

HF 139 – Requires any statewide assessment to be developed by the Iowa Testing Programs (ITP) at the University of Iowa. It would prohibit the use of Smarter Balanced or PARCC as a statewide, mandatory assessment. Last action: assigned to subcommittee. (My write-up)

HF 140 – Makes the Common Core math and English language arts (ELA) standards that have been adopted into the Iowa Core voluntary for Iowa’s public and state accredited non-public schools. Repeals Next Generation Science Standards. Last action: introduced into the House Education Committee. (My write-up)

SSB 1001 – Repeals the requirement for the State Board of Education to adopt rules requiring a statewide assessment starting in July 1, 2017 that is aligned to the Iowa Common Core Standards. Last action: Before Senate Education Committee.

Kentucky

SB 1 – This bill would establish new learning standards and evaluation procedures for schools and teachers. Last action: Passed Kentucky Senate 35-0 (see write-up).

Maine

LD412 – An Act To Require the Completion of Courses of Study in Home Economics and Industrial Arts Education Prior to Graduation from High School. Last action: N/A

LD 322 – An Act To Reintroduce Civics to High School Graduation Requirements. Last action: Passed House, referred to Senate Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.

LD49 – Requires the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. Last action: Passed by the House, being considered by the Senate.

Maryland

HB 705 – Authorizing a parent or guardian of a child with a disability who is nonverbal to refuse to allow the child to participate in a Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment or its equivalent in a public school; and requiring that the refusal be documented in the Individualized Education Program of the child. Last action: Assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 461 – Requiring the State Board of Education to adopt regulations limiting the amount of time in the aggregate that may be devoted to federal, State, and locally mandated assessments for each grade to 2% of the specified minimum required annual instructional hours; prohibiting time devoted to teacher-selected classroom quizzes and exams, portfolio reviews, or performance assessments from being counted toward the specified testing time limits; etc. Last action: Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee.

Michigan

HB 4192 – Education; curriculum; implementation of certain curriculum standards and assessments in place of common core curriculum standards and assessments in this state; require. Amends 1976 PA 451 (MCL 380.1 – 380.1852) by adding secs. 1278e & 1278f. Last action: Referred to the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee and will have a hearing on 2/15/17.

SB 0081 – Education; curriculum; implementation of certain curriculum standards and assessments in place of common core curriculum standards and assessments in this state; require. Amends sec. 1278 of 1976 PA 451 (MCL 380.1278) & adds secs. 1278e, 1278f & 1278. Last action: Before Senate Government Operations Committee.

Mississippi 

HB502 – An Act To Prohibit The State Board Of Education From Making Application To The United States Department Of Education Seeking A Waiver Or Request For Funding That Would Require A Revision Of The State Subject Matter Curriculum Aligned With The K-12 Common Core State Standards Developed By The Common Core State Standards Initiative; To Authorize The Board To Request Authority From The United States Department Of Education To Revise Curriculum Requirements That Condition Receipt Of Funding Or Waivers Upon The Board’s Action To Revise The Curriculum To Align With The K-12 Common Core State Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee

SB2035 – An Act To Provide That Beginning With The 2017-2018 School Year The State Board Of Education Shall Replace The Common Core State Standards With The Ela Standards In Place In Several States; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

SB2593 – An Act To Provide That Beginning With The 2017-2018 School Year The State Board Of Education Shall Replace The Common Core State Standards With The Ela Standards In Place In Several States; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB357 – An Act To Provide For The Repeal Of The Common Core State Standards Curriculum Adopted By The State Board Of Education And To Prohibit Any Further Implementation Or Use Of Such Standards; To Restrict The Use Of The Partnership For Assessment Of Readiness For College And Careers (parcc), Or Any Other Assessment Related To Or Based On The Common Core State Standards, As The Required Assessment Required Under The Statewide Testing Program; To Require The State Superintendent Of Public Education And The State Board Of Education To Initiate Procedures To Withdraw From The Parcc Consortium; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum And Academic Content Standards; To Provide That No Curriculum Standards Developed Outside The State Of Mississippi May Be Adopted Or Implemented Without Public Hearings Held In Each Congressional District, A One-year Open Comment Period And Open Hearings Before A Joint Committee Composed Of The House And Senate Education Committees, Followed By An Act Of The Legislature; To Impose Restrictions Upon The State Department Of Education With Regards To The Expenditure Of Certain Funds And Disclosing Personally Identifiable Information Pertaining To Students And Teachers; To Amend Section 37-1-3, Mississippi Code Of 1972, In Conformity Thereto; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

SB2581 – An Act To Authorize And Direct Public School Districts To Allow Parents And Legal Guardians Of Enrolled Students To Opt Out Of Common Core Aligned Curricula, Certain Student Data And The Release Of Information Concerning Their Children’s Personal Beliefs; To Prescribe A Form For The Student Privacy Protection Opt-out Request By The Parent Or Legal Guardian; To Direct The State Board Of Education To Issue Regulations Consistent With The Student Data Confidentiality Provisions Of This Act; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB279 – An Act To Prohibit The State Board Of Education And The State Department Of Education From Taking Any Further Action To Implement The Common Core And Mississippi College And Career Readiness Standards; To Require The State Board Of Education To Adhere To Pre-existing Procedures Under Its Apa To Review And Revise Our Curriculum Standards As Applicable Within Our Board Policies Beginning With Mathematics And English In 2017; To Prohibit The State Board And State Department Of Education From Expending Certain Federal Funds To Track Students Beyond Their K-12 Education And To Distribute Certain Student Identifiable Information; To Amend Section 37-17-6, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Delete References To Common Core And To Delete The Requirement That The State Department Of Education Form A Single Accountability System By Combining The State System With The Federal System; To Bring Forward Section 37-177-5, Mississippi Code Of 1972, For The Purpose Of Possible Amendments; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB601 – An Act To Create New Section 37-16-2, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Require The State Board Of Education To Contract With A Single Entity For The Development And Administration Of The Act Aspire Assessment Components As The Comprehensive Statewide Assessment Program For Public School Students In Grades 3-10 As Well As Algebra I And English Ii, Which Is Aligned To The Mississippi College And Career-ready Standards; To Require The State Department Of Education To Provide A Job Skills Assessment System That Allows Students To Earn A Nationally Recognized Career Readiness Certificate Credentialing Workplace Employability Skills; To Require The Act Aspire As The Statewide Assessment Program To Be Fully Implemented In All Public Schools In The 2017-2018 School Year; To Amend Sections 37-16-1, 37-16-3, 37-16-4, 37-16-5, 37-16-7, 37-16-9 And 37-16-17, Mississippi Code Of 1972, Which Relate To The Statewide Testing Program, And Sections 37-3-49, 37-15-38, 37-17-6, 37-18-1, 37-18-3, 37-20-5, 37-20-7 And 37-28-45, Mississippi Code Of 1972, In Conformity To The Preceding Provisions Of This Act; To Prohibit The State Board Of Education From Contracting With Any Entity For The Development Of A Statewide Assessment Whose Alignment Of Curriculum And Testing Standards Are In Compliance With The Partnership For Assessment Of Readiness For College And Careers (parcc) Without Express Legislative Authority; To Amend Section 37-16-11, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Provide For The Issuance Of A Standard Diploma To Certain Exceptional Children With Intellectual Impairments Who Have Ieps Upon Meeting The Educational Requirements Of Their Iep And Those Established By The State Board Of Education; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

There are additional bills, some are repetitive, they have all been killed in committee.

New Hampshire

SB 44 – Prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of common core standards. Last action: Before Senate Education Committee.

HB 207 – Prohibiting the implementation of common core in public elementary and secondary schools. Last action: Hearing scheduled for 2/14/17.

New Jersey

A2650 – Requires high school students to be assessed using college placement cut scores to determine readiness for college-level course work, and Commissioner of Education to develop plan to improve college and career counseling for students. Last action: To Assembly Higher Education Committee.

A10121 – Requires school districts and charter schools to annually provide to parents or guardians of enrolled students information on certain tests to be administered during the school year. Last action: Referred to Assembly Education Committee.

New Mexico

HB211 – Requires the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. Last Action: Referred to House Education Committee.

New York

A03702/S03912 – Requires disclosure of testing items in Common Core tests given in New York (50% after the first year the test is given, full disclosure after the second year.) Last action: Assigned to the Assembly Education Committee.

A01098 – Establishes the common core state standards evaluation task force for the purpose of studying the implementation of the common core state standards; requires such task force report to the Governor and Legislature. Last action: Referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

A01719 – Relates to teacher evaluations and implementation of the common core learning standards. Last action: Assigned to Assembly Education Committee.

S02091 – Enacts the common core parental refusal act. Last action: Assigned to Senate Education Committee.

A03644 – Relates to creating the commission on exceptional standards for New York state. Last action: Assigned to Assembly Education Committee.

A03623 – Relates to the common core state standards initiative. Last action: Referred to Assembly Education Committee.

S01942 – Allows parents, legal guardians or school districts to opt children with an individualized education program out of the “common core standards” and certain testing. Last action: Referred to Senate Education Committee.

A02312 – Relates to establishing the standardized testing transparency act; makes an appropriation therefor. Last action: Referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

North Dakota

HB 1432 – Repeals Common Core. Last action: Reported back, do not pass, placed on calendar (My write-up on the bill is here)

Oregon

HB2368 – Prohibits Department of Education from requiring school districts to align instruction or assessments with common core state standards and from penalizing school districts for failure to align instruction or assessments with common core state standards. Declares emergency, effective July 1, 2017. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB2587 – Modifies state educational goals to take into consideration students’ aspirations, to provide students with well-rounded education and to provide students with sufficient instructional time to meet students’ educational goals. Expands state’s mission of education beyond high school. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB 2229 – Requires school districts to offer instruction in financial literacy. Directs school districts and public charter schools to offer sufficient instruction in financial literacy to ensure that every student who elects to receive instruction in financial literacy is able to receive instruction. Takes effect July 1, 2018. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

South Dakota

SB 126 – This bill requires the South Dakota Department of Education to use a competitive bidding process when acquiring academic assessments.

Texas

SB 605 – Allows public review and removal of Common Core-aligned curriculum. Last action: Filed.

HB 1069 – Relating to compliance with prohibitions regarding the use of common core state standards in public schools. Last action: Filed.

Washington

HB1012 – Eliminating the use of the high school science assessment as a graduation prerequisite. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB 1046 – Eliminates requirement to pass state assessments to graduate. Allows multiple options. Last action: Referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

HB 1415 – To simplify existing state assessment requirements and administer the ACT test as the statewide high school assessment for reading or language arts, mathematics, and science; and (2) For the administration of the ACT test to be for federal accountability purposes and does not intend for the ACT test to be used in determining whether a student is eligible to graduate from high school. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB1793 – Increasing academic rigor and streamlining assessment requirements for high school students. (This bill entrenches Smarter Balanced in Washington.) Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

SB 5202/HB 1572 – Directs OSPI to seek approval of using SAT or ACT in place of the SBAC assessments. If approved by the feds, the ELA/Math and Science portions of the national tests can be used in place for graduation purposes. SBE sets the cutoff score for passing. Last action: Referred to each chamber’s education committee.

SB5673/HB1886 – Moves the responsiblity for setting standards and assessments from the Washington State Board of Education to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Last action: Referred to each chamber’s education committee.

West Virginia

HB 2144 – A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §18-1A-1, §18-1A-2, §18-1A-3, §18-1A-4 and §18-1A-5, all relating to academic content standards in public schools; discontinuing and prohibiting the use of Common Core academic content standards; adopting alternative academic content standards; discontinuing the use of Common Core based assessments; establishing a committee and process for developing alternate statewide assessments of student progress; prohibiting the state board or any public school from sharing student data without parental consent; and prohibiting acceptance of federal funding if such funding is conditioned upon sharing student data without parental consent. Last action: Referred to the House of Delegate’s Education and Finance Committees.

SB 18 – This would change West Virginia’s assessment from Smarter Balanced to ACT (for 11th graders) and ACT Aspire (for 3rd-8th graders). Last action: Referred to the Senate Education and Finance committees.

HB 2443 – This bill repeals Common Core and replaces it with the 2001 Massachusetts ELA Standards and the 2005 California math standards. Last action: Referred to the House Education and Finance Committees

Wyoming

HB0008 – AN ACT relating to education; amending requirements of state data security plan to ensure privacy of student data collected; requiring policies for the collection, access, privacy, security and use of student data by school districts; accordingly requiring school districts to adopt and enforce policies for the collection, access, privacy, security and use of student data; and providing for an effective date. Last action: Passed House, referred to Senate Education Committee

New Mexico Parents…. No Opt Out for You!!!!

new-mexico-state-flag

A story I read by A.P. Dillion reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with the Soup Nazi, but instead of saying “no soup for you!” The education establishment is saying to parents “no opt-out for you!”

In contrast to a bill that just passed the Alaska Legislature that recognizes a parent’s natural right of control over their child’s education, New Mexico is apparently telling schools there is no opt-out option.

Dillion shared this excerpt from a story in the Rio Rancho Observer about the number of refusals to take PARCC has dropped in the Rio Rancho Public School District. They quote Beth Pendergrass who is a spokesperson for Rio Rancho Public Schools in Rio Rancho, NM.

Still, RRPS does not believe parents really have the right to opt out, according to RRPS spokeswoman Beth Pendergrass.

“We call them ‘refusals’ here just because we feel like ‘opt-out’ implies that there is an option for students not to take the test, and we really don’t think there is an option, but parents have refused to allow their kids to take the test,” she said.

The New Mexico Public Education Department also believes that there is no refusal option, citing federal mandates that students complete statewide assessments.

So apparently parental “disobedience” is on the decrease in the school district as fewer students are “refusing” the test.

Regarding federal mandates… here I thought with the Every Student Success Act states could include opt-outs in their state plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. You mean the state of New Mexico didn’t interpret it that way? What about all of that control states were supposed to get from this latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Act?

It doesn’t exist.

New Mexico Student Scores Tank Under PARCC

new-mexico-state-flagThere is one word for the New Mexico’s PARCC scores. Dismal.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports:

Thousands of New Mexico students will have to retake one of the most divisive standardized tests in order to meet the state’s new scholastic standards, according to performance data released Friday.

Hanna Skandera, the Cabinet secretary for the state Public Education Department, released the first round of PARCC, or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, data on Friday. More than 3 out of 4 failed the math portion of the test and about half will have to retake it. And about 1 in 4 high school juniors failed to demonstrate they can read and write competently in English and will have to retake the test.

The numbers are starker in Santa Fe. About 65 percent of students failed the Algebra II portion of the test, a math requirement for graduation. At Santa Fe High, 44 percent of students scored in the lowest tier for Algebra II. At Capital, 40 percent scored in the lowest tier of the test, and another 40 percent of students finished in the second-to-last tier.

Since September, Skandera has warned educators, parents and students to lower their expectations for the first round of PARCC scores.

“Our students didn’t get worse,” Skandera said. “Our teachers didn’t get worse. What we know is that we did the right thing. We should be applauding the state’s decision to raise standards.”

Oh yes, of course they “raised the standards.”  No, it couldn’t be that the standards themselves are bad and the assessment isn’t valid.  Generally when you see that many students fail the problem isn’t with the students, but the test.

Albuquerque School Board Votes No on PARCC Payment

new-mexico-state-flagThis is an odd story.  The Albuquerque School Board voted 4 to 3 to withhold the $1.4 million it owes the state of New Mexico for the PARCC assessment this year.

Local NPR affiliate KRWG reports:

The school board voted 4-3 on Wednesday night to hold back the $1.4 million reimbursement after audience members at the meeting voiced opposition to PARCC and the new teacher assessments that are partially based on them.

School board members didn’t explain their votes. Superintendent Brad Winter and several board members couldn’t be reached for comment.

Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera told The Associated Press on Friday that the district has a responsibility to pay its bills and that there’s an expectation for school board members to abide by state and federal laws.

Yes the district has a responsibility to pay its bills, but did they actually agree to use PARCC?  No, it was mandated by the state which may (I don’t know how much the previous assessment cost) have increased the school district’s assessment costs who then would shift that burden to taxpayers.  This was done of course without a vote of the New Mexico Legislature.  The Legislature should consider how just unfunded mandates are for local school districts.  If you are going to pick the assessment without their say and input, and without a vote of the state legislature then perhaps New Mexico State Department of Education should find a way to pay for it out of their own budget.

The PARCC Lawsuit in New Mexico Isn’t Over

new-mexico-state-flagThe lawsuit that was filed in New Mexico accusing the state of bid-rigging when it chose Pearson as a test developer for PARCC still has life.

AP reports that it could halt PARCC in New Mexico.

A legal challenge by a Washington-based testing company may halt a controversial assessment exam in New Mexico that has sparked school walkouts and anger from parents and teachers.

A Santa Fe judge is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday in an appeal by the American Institutes for Research. The company is fighting the state’s granting of a potentially multi-year contract for Common Core testing to Pearson.

AIR wants to limit Pearson’s contract to a year and is seeking another bidding process for later contact years.

Pearson was contracted by states belonging to a consortium to administer the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exam, or PARCC.

Taxpayers should have a problem with the non-competitive process that the consortia implemented in choosing Pearson.  AP mentioned a review board in Mississippi dinged the process.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see other legal challenges crop up.  This was something that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal tried to unsuccessfully fight saying this process violated Louisiana’s procurement laws.

1000+ New Mexico Students Join #PARCCWALKOUT

new-mexico-state-flagWhile New Jersey experienced a call center failure on their first day of PARCC, New Mexico is experiencing a student rebellion over the new assessment.

KRQE News Channel 13 reports:

High schools throughout out New Mexico saw a massive walkout from students to welcome in the first day of testing under the state’s new standardized test and more walk-outs are expected in schools over the PARCC test Tuesday.

As promised, high school students in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Las Cruces, Carlsbad, Hot Springs and other cities protested the new “PARCC” test by walking out as classes began Monday morning. In Albuquerque, the protests continued throughout the day with one of the largest drawing several hundred at a west side high school.

In the largest collective demonstration, APS estimates that about 900 to 1000 students walked out and protested the PARCC exam Monday. The district estimates around 1,700 students opted out of the test.

You can follow the protest on Twitter using the hashtag #PARCCWALKOUT.  Twitchy has a nice recap.

Here is a picture from a local reporter:

Common Core Bill Filed in New Mexico Senate

new-mexico-state-flagState Senator Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque) over the past year she has traveled the state of New Mexico talking to teachers, parents and students about Common Core State Standards and PARCC.  She came away from that experience resolved that the citizens of New Mexico need to have the ability to have a conversation about the direction of education in the state.

The New Mexico Public Education Department adopted the Common Core State Standards on November 29, 2010.  The state is one of just now eleven states that are still part of the PARCC consortia. In December, 2013 American Institute for Research filed a protest with New Mexico state purchasing agent.  They claimed that the bid for the contract was written favorably for Pearson.  District Court Judge Sarah Singleton ordered a review in May of 2014 which threatened to delay the implementation of PARCC.  In July the State Purchasing Agent Larry Maxwell sided with Pearson and denied the protest.

As of now PARCC and Common Core are going full steam ahead in the state.

“My bill, SB 196, will provide the opportunity to stop, listen, look and review the Common Core State Standards and its accompanying assessment PARCC,” Lopez told Truth in American Education.

This is Lopez’s second attempt to discontinue the Common Core in the state.  In the 2014 legislative sesssion Lopez introduced SB 296.  The bill died in committee.  This year’s bill has the same goal.  If passed the bill would halt implementation of the Common Core and withdraw the state from the PARCC testing consortium. It would also require public hearings and a fiscal analysis of the new standards before they are brought into effect.

School districts would be required to use New Mexico academic content and performance standards that existed prior to Common Core.  Schools would also be required to administer New Mexico standards-based assessments while a review process was underway.  The New Mexico Public Education Department would be required to hold four public hearings in each congressional district by November 1, 2015.  The bill requires a non-binding vote to be taken of those attending the hearings so public sentiment is clear.

The bill also establishes a review process by the legislative education study committee that would include:

(1) the projected cost of implementing the common core standards and providing necessary professional development for teachers and principals;
(2) the projected cost of developing, administering and grading assessments tied to the common core standards; and
(3) the cost of retaining the state’s academic content and performance standards and the standards-based assessments.

The Public Department of Education prior to adopting a set of standards after July 1, 2016 is required to “compare state standards with other nationally recognized standards of student achievement, including common core, and shall consult with school superintendents, in-state curricular experts and others. After a fair and balanced study of state and national standards, the department shall report to the legislature on its findings and selections.”

The bill also forbids the Public Department of Education from entering into any agreement or contract that would cede state control over assessments and standards.  The department would also be required to withdraw from PARCC and not use their assessments while the review process is taking place.