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Worcester’s Teachers Union Hosting “Moratorium on PARCC” Session

Thursday, October 16, 2014

 

The Educational Association of Worcester (EAW) will host a “Moratorium on PARCC: An Informational Session” open to parents/guardians, teachers, and the general public on Monday, October 27th, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at 397 Grove St. in Worcester.

The information session will be moderated by Donna Colorio, founder of the Common Core Forum – and will give parents and guardians the opportunity to learn about their right to refuse the PARCC testing pilot this year.

Because PARCC is still in a pilot year, Worcester students can refuse to participate in the PARCC test “research study” without punishment; and designated PARCC schools will not be penalized for any pilot test refusals.

Additionally, the session will be used to educate those in attendance about the various issues of PARCC and why the state should not move forward with the test in the future.

Speakers

Confirmed speakers for the session include:

•      Sandra Stotsky: Credited with developing one of the country’s strongest sets of academic standards for K-12 students as well as the strongest academic standards and licensure tests for prospective teachers while serving as Senior Associate Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1999-2003.  She is also known nation-wide for her in-depth analyses of the problems in Common Core’s English Language Arts standards.

•      Brian O’Connell: Worcester School Committee member who voted “No” on PARCC pilot testing in Worcester Public Schools in September 2014.  A graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Harvard Law School, and an attorney, he is also Chief Financial and Operations Officer of the Killingly (CT) Public Schools.

 

Related Slideshow: MA Education Officials Debate Future of State Standardized Tests

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Mitchell Chester

Commissioner, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

“We are in the middle of a two-year tryout of the PARCC. You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive. We know we have some items that need revision, that students found them confusing."

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Dianna L. Biancheria

Worcester School Committee

“I don’t want to see a hybrid of both tests; I want to see one or the other. The way I look at it is that the school district is prepared for PARCC testing or it isn’t. As a district, if we are ready and all factors are in place, then I see us moving forward. To split up the district would be irresponsible.”

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John L. Foley

Worcester School Committee

“There will always be some form of assessment tool in place to look at student achievement. The biggest concern that I have with moving to PARCC testing is that we lose the continuity of testing. Any sort of curriculum shift will render previous scores irrelevant. But then again, you always have to start somewhere.”

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David Perda

Chief Research & Accountability Officer, Worcester Public School District

“With any new initiative there is always a form of a learning curve. It would make it easier on the district if we could do some sort of hybrid. As a district, we don’t currently have any recommendation yet, but we are still giving it a lot of consideration; we have been asking a variety of people within the district about their opinion.”

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John F. Monfredo

Worcester School Committee

“I would like to get additional facts on PARCC testing. If PARCC is the next coming of MCAS then I want to find out exactly what we have to do and what some of the advantages could be. I would like a postponement of another year so that we can make an intelligent decision.”

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Tracy O'Connell Novick

Worcester School Committee

“I think it is unfortunate that we have to choose between two different standardized tests; we are choosing between two equally bad options. Teachers are evaluating students all of the time. We don’t need a formalized test which is something that is so outside of the classroom.”

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Linda Noonan

Executive Director, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education

“MCAS is a good test for basic skills and testing for proficiency, but it is a basic test. It doesn’t test college readiness. We need to have an assessment in place properly tests whether or students are ready for higher education.”

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Brian A. O'Connell

Worcester School Committee

“The MCAS was developed specifically for Massachusetts as the standard. I’m concerned with PARCC testing because it is based on a national standard, whereas in Massachusetts we hold ourselves to a higher standard. I think that we should have a test that is tailor made to our state’s individual needs.”

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Hilda Ramirez

Worcester School Committee

“PARCC testing has been designed to test students on college readiness and 21st Century skills. A computerized test shouldn’t be a surprise; this is why the district put an emphasis of improving our technology infrastructure. I believe that the right steps are being taken to help districts align to PARCC.”

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JC Considine

Chief of Staff, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the state came down to a 50-50 split. We are hoping for a good split so that we can make sure that both sides are accurately represented, so that when the time comes, we can make a decision as a state.”

 
 

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