In this op-ed a Verona Public Schools mother urges parents to opt their kids out of upcoming PARCC tests because:
The PARCC assessments have never been validated and yet many administrators openly promote this very high stakes experiment being performed on our children, one that in years to come could cost them graduation. Isn’t it awfully risky to encourage Verona students to just “take it” and thus perpetuate its existence rather than be part of the opt out/refusal movement aimed at taking it down? Isn’t it risky to promote arbitrary gates to graduation and then try to figure out how to undo the mess made of students’ lives later?
Also, she says that “Verona didn’t fare well during last year’s PARCC testing, especially at the high school level where the passing rate for Algebra 1 was 23.5%, for Algebra II it was 29.3% and for Geometry it was 27.4%. “
According to N.J. D.O.E. data, 2.3% of Verona High School students are African-American and 6% are Hispanic. Everyone else is white or Asian. 1.2% are economically-disadvantaged and 0.7% are ELL. Verona High School has a 99% graduation rate and 95% of students take SAT’s.
The median family income is $126,000 and the median home price is $437,000. In other words, it’s a typical wealthy white Bergen County suburb.
Historically, almost all kids in this school achieved proficiency on state standardized tests, but that’s changed since last year’s implementation of PARCC because the old tests were dumbed down to an 8th-grade level.
Also, algebra and geometry scores are low because, as the D.O.E. notes, “PARCC Math 8 outcomes are not representative of grade 8 performance as a whole.” Many students took the Algebra 1 test in seventh grade.”
If you are privileged enough to live in cushy Verona, why take PARCC? Your kids are all going to college and they’ll take the SAT or ACT anyway, both of which can be used as a graduation qualifying test for PARCC per D.O.E. regulations. Verona residents, at least those who live in this mother’s privilege bubble, don’t care about the state’s ability to accurately gauge achievement gaps or about its ability to intervene in low-performing districts or college and career-readiness.