WCIA CBS 3: PARCC proposal getting mixed reaction

http://www.illinoishomepage.net/news/capitol-news/parcc-proposal-getting-mixed-reaction

By Kelsey Gibbs

April 28, 2015

ILLINOIS -- Last month, the state rolled out a brand new assessment test, the PARCC exam. While many students are taking the test, there are also a lot who are refusing, which could hurt their grades and school funding. 

Soon, students could have a choice which wouldn't hurt the districts. A bill held in the House would allow parents to request a test exemption for their student. It's a proposal which is getting a lot of mixed reaction. 

"A test score is just one indication of what a child knows and can do." 

Students across the state are required to take the test, but not without some major complaints.

"Not only is the PARCC more rigorous than the previous version of other state assessments. But, the format of the test and they types of questions that are on the test are totally different." 

Rochester Superintendent Thomas Bertrand says the test is only hurting the students. 

"A lot of the concerns are given to the amount of time it took to prepare students to take an online test and the actual amount of time it took to take the test." 

Bertrand says he'll give the test, but understands if a parent wants their child to opt out. Lawmakers understand that as well. 

"In the core of the problem here is that we're asking children to refuse to take this test. We're putting 8-year old kids, students with disabilities at the center of this debate." 

Representative Will Guzzardi's (D) bill would give parents the option of deciding if their child should take the test. 

"If we don't pass legislation on this issue now, we're going to see more next year of what we've already seen this year which is chaos and confusion and students being put in really inappropriate positions at school." 

But, the governor has already said he will veto the bill if it's passed. The secretary of education says the opt out choice will result in the state losing $1 billion in federal funds. One way or another, educators just want an agreement. 

"Our elected officials in our state Board of Education will hear the concerns of educators out in their field about the overemphasis on standardized tests." 

The bill was called for a full vote last week, but was sent back to committee. Guzzardi says he is still going to push the bill in this session.