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Letter: More to these tests

I was encouraged by the Greenfield School Committee’s postponement of their decision about implementing PARCC tests next year. I was disappointed, however, with The Recorder’s coverage of this controversial issue, which contained misleading information.

Many districts across the state and country are rejecting PARCC, an initiative that will nearly double the amount of time our children spend taking tests, one that many parents, teachers and scholars are calling out as dangerously developmentally inappropriate, and will further reduce students merely to their scores on a test, setting students, teachers and schools up for failure, particularly the most vulnerable children in the most under-resourced areas.

For all of these reasons, there is a growing and well-documented state and national movement of parents opting their children out of the tests (see Unitedoptout.com), despite The Recorder story reporting only that “the state doesn’t allow such parental options.” There are no legal penalties for parents and children who opt out.

Also, the PARCC tests are designed to be taken online. The story stated that the state will allow districts to choose a paper version of the test if they are not prepared to initiate the massive tech overhaul required. What the reporter neglected is that this is only a temporary allowance. Districts adopting PARCC will be required, quickly, to come up with the robust technology infrastructure — the financial burden to do this falling on the district, during a time of limited budgets.

The only entities that stand to benefit from PARCC are the for-profit corporations that will administer these tests such as Pearson, and its shareholders. Those who extol the so-called “rigor” of these tests are parroting the corporate propaganda and are in partnership in the dismantling of public schools and the further stripping from the curriculum of creativity, critical thinking and opportunities for authentic learning and growth.

DEBORAH KEISCH

Greenfield

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