New worry: What will replace PARCC?

To the editor:

In the latest budget bill, Gov. Kasich threw out the PARCC test, which has been a horror show for students, parents, and teachers in our public schools. This test is too expensive in tax dollars, instructional time, and stress on our students. I believe it was clear to educators and many parents that the PARCC test is about profits at the expense of students. I heartily applaud this move.

What worries me now is what will the Ohio Department of Education replace it with?

As a teacher, parent, and taxpayer, I strongly feel that local control is our best option. We have always done testing with students. Tests are necessary to evaluate student progress and see when reteaching is needed. The problem with the ODE making the decision as to how all students will be tested is that they are not educators working with real students. Educators across the state, myself included, end up testing students twice because the state-required tests don’t give us the information we require for effectively educating our students.

Having said that, I recognize that the likelihood of regaining local control is slim to none unless the public demands it. There is too much money to be made to simply consider students’ needs.

As I see it, our second best option would be to have a coalition of parents and educators make the decision as to what test will replace the PARCC. The criteria for choosing this test would include:

• Minimal taxpayer expense.

• Relevant and timely results given back to teachers and parents.

• Minimal disruption of instructional time.

• Eliminate the need for teaching students how to take the test so that real and relevant instruction can be maximized.

• Eliminate state-imposed consequences from test scores so that parents, teachers, and administrators can decide what the information means based on real students in real life.

I urge all of your readers to contact Gov. Kasich, their state representatives, and the Ohio Department of Education and urge them to make a careful and informed choice in replacing the PARCC test. The decision must me made based on what is best for kids not who is making a profit.

Janet Garrett