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Ploy or not, Chicago has to administer exams

Monday, Mar 2, 2015

* This was inevitable

Reversing its decision to limit a new state standardized test to just 10 percent of Chicago Public Schools students, CPS officials said Monday that with a week to go before the PARCC testing window opens, all CPS students in 3rd through 8th grade will take it.

CPS had tried to buck state regulations for every public school student to take PARCC — the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — saying that Illinois’ largest district would instead do another year of pilot testing in about 66 schools. Chicago children lacked the technology and technological skills to take the exam, which is largely given on a computer, officials said.

The state resisted, telling CPS officials repeatedly that the district had to offer the test to all eligible students — or jeopardize the entire state’s federal funding for poor children, which tops $1 billion. The latest warning from the state came Friday in a letter. […]

Some have accused CPS officials of playing politics with the test, appealing to a swath of parents who say CPS tests their kids too much and who were also disenchanted with many of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s education policies. CPS’ announcement Monday came less than a week after Emanuel was forced into a runoff with Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

As we’ve discussed before, the feds threatened to withhold all education money from Illinois if the state allowed Chicago to skip the exams. The state held firm and threatened to cut off the city’s money to save its own money. The CS-T report above could be right about this being a political ploy which was only designed to be played out through the first round, which Rahm was supposed to win… and didn’t.

Oops.

* Tribune

(T)he district began an effort to administer the test to just 66 of its more than 600 schools. All schools were still told to prepare for the test, while a district spokesman insisted through late last week that CPS was still pursuing a limited rollout.

But at a sometimes heated hearing last week in Springfield, a CPS official said all district schools have been ordered to prepare for the exam and that all but about two dozen schools are technologically prepared to give the computer-based test.

Still, CPS Chief Accountability Officer John Barker told lawmakers: “We feel like the implementation of PARCC for this year is going to be extremely problematic for our district and others across the state.”

Parent groups and the Chicago Teachers Union have opposed the exam amid broad debate over rigorous Common Core educational standards and so-called high-stakes testing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

13 Comments
  1. - OneMan - Monday, Mar 2, 15 @ 12:37 pm:

    At least our middle school had issues with the website today and was unable to administer testing.


  2. - Wordslinger - Monday, Mar 2, 15 @ 12:56 pm:

    I thought the play was Emanuel would ride to the rescue and use his clout with the Obama administration to get some sort of waiver.

    Time to take the tinfoil hat to the shop.


  3. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Mar 2, 15 @ 1:04 pm:

    CPS administration, the world’s top clown show.


  4. - Nearly Normal - Monday, Mar 2, 15 @ 1:13 pm:

    Money talks. Loudly. CPS threatened to lose $1B in federal funding. They complied.

    Now we will see if the whole internet network for schools–Illinois Century Network–locks up under the stress of so many students using it at the same time.

    This will take weeks to test all the students and then there are many who will need to do make-up testing for those absent.


  5. - plutocrat03 - Monday, Mar 2, 15 @ 1:20 pm:

    Seems like an adult walked in to the room.

    It seems silly to risk a massive amount of funding to skip a test. If the testing is excessive or inappropriate, then negotiate a change. You have a friendly administration in Springfield and Washington. Use those contacts to change the rules rather than breaking the rules and daring the DC administrators to withhold the money needed to educate the kids.


  6. - olddog - Monday, Mar 2, 15 @ 1:39 pm:

    === If the testing is excessive or inappropriate, then negotiate a change. You have a friendly administration in Springfield and Washington. ===

    Not on this issue.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/10/26/does-arne-duncan-think-suburban-moms-are-a-gullible-bunch/


  7. - See the forest - Monday, Mar 2, 15 @ 2:08 pm:

    Illinois is spending $59 million on PARCC testing this year. Pearson is earning hundreds of millions on PARCC testing.


  8. - Carhartt Representative - Monday, Mar 2, 15 @ 2:16 pm:

    The tests were set out last week. Everybody knew it was coming. The end of the year will feature two weeks of PARCC, two weeks of NWEA, and another two weeks of PARCC. Presumably learning should be happening sometime. My son has a fantastic teacher, who actually made the Constitution fun and has taught a bunch of middle schoolers to do research papers my college professors would have been happy with. Because of testing, they will probably not have computer access the rest of the year–nor will they have access to the art room or library. What a waste. Even worse, they are getting late notice because Rahm wanted to look like he put his foot down until after he won the Feb. 24 election.


  9. - Kyle Hillman - Monday, Mar 2, 15 @ 3:50 pm:

    When Mayor Rahm Emanuel mandated changes to school curriculum, it didn’t come with funding - it came along cuts. At Gale Academy (serving some of the poorest in Rogers Park) that cut was almost a 1 million in two years.

    To pay for the new mandates, CPS cut Gale’s technology and just as important technology teachers. Now we are going to administer a test DESIGNED to be taken on computers to a school who had their entire technology budget gutted.

    How is this supposed to work?


  10. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 2, 15 @ 4:32 pm:

    ===that cut was almost a 1 million in two years.===

    Kyle, you’re on the Local School Council at Gale. Can you tell us what the total school budget is so we can better understand how a $1 million cut over two years resulted in the school not being able to offer the test on computer?

    I understand how painful it is to make cuts, but if you’re telling me you took out all of the computers needed to take this standardized test, I’d guess that the LSC is making some poor choices with the budget.


  11. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 2, 15 @ 8:53 pm:

    ===Illinois is spending $59 million on PARCC testing this year. Pearson is earning hundreds of millions on PARCC testing.===

    The questions for those exams are typically written by independent contractors, for pay rates that often work out to less than minimum wage, without any benefits. They even have to pay the full 15.3% in Social Security and Medicare taxes.
    It’s part of the growing independent-contractor economy described at robertreich.org.
    Perhaps this partly explains the teachers’ antipathy toward the tests.


  12. - Carhartt Representative - Monday, Mar 2, 15 @ 8:58 pm:

    =The questions for those exams are typically written by independent contractors, for pay rates that often work out to less than minimum wage, without any benefits. They even have to pay the full 15.3% in Social Security and Medicare taxes.
    It’s part of the growing independent-contractor economy described at robertreich.org.
    Perhaps this partly explains the teachers’ antipathy toward the tests.-

    I do find it ironic that college graduates making $13 an hour without benefits are telling us if our children are career ready.


  13. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 2, 15 @ 9:38 pm:

    Carhartt, you seem a little off regarding the minimum wage.

    Anyway, your comment misses the point. The writers are well prepared to do their task, which is to write questions and answers to the standards. And those questions and answers are thoroughly reviewed.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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