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For those teachers assigned to the task of finding resources supporting Common Core State Standards, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a resource that is spreading rapidly on a global scale:

• TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).
• TED Talks —  1700+ talks to stir your curiosity
• TED covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.
• TEDEd — lessons and videos that introduce new topics to learners in an exiting, curiosity-inspiring way.
• TED Books —  little books about big ideas, shorter than a novel, but longer than a magazine article
• TED Blog —  Follow TED on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinerest, Instagram, YouTube, and TED Blog

As Education Chair of the Education Association of Township High School District 214, I emphatically do not support the use of PARCC as a means of assessing CCSS for the following reasons:

  • The level of text complexity used in the PARCC assessment is equivalent to that used at the graduate level or of that needed upon entering a career related to science (1470L).

Grade 11 Sample Items:
Passage #1 Abigail Smith Adams 1744-1818
1220L (Ind Rdg 1320L)
Passage #2 Abigail Adams Braintree March 31,1776
1130L (Ind Rdg 1230L)
Passage #3 John Adams July 03, 1776
1370L (Ind Rdg 1470L)

What does the complexity of text written at 1470L look like?
The link below offers a sentence diagram showing the complexity of the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence.  This sentence is 20L less complex than text students need to read independently to comprehend the sample passages of PARCC.

Declaration of Independence – 1450L (20L less complex)

  • Students are not developmentally able to complete the multi-step, finitely detailed, mental manipulation of text needed to process information at the level of sophistication used in PARCC assessment.  Students with disabilities, ELL students, and low-income students will be most negatively impacted. PARCC will filter and separate classes since only the most elite student population will achieve at the level required by PARCC.

PARCC Administration

TASK (Grades 6-11) Lit. Analysis:
1.  Read an anchor text that introduces topic.
2.  Gather key details about passage to support understanding.
3.  Read two additional sources and answer questions about each text to learn more about topic.
4.  Write final essay to show reading comprehension.
5.  Synthesize understandings into a writing that uses textual evidence from multiple sources.

  • Students must complete the above process using text that most do not understand.
  • Total Administration Time:  (Grades 6-11) Lit. Analysis – 120 minutes.
  • Sp. Ed. Extended Time:  +60 min (180 min), +120 min (240 min)
  • The frontal lobe of a human’s brain is not fully developed until after age 20.  (We teach adolescents, not mini-adults.)

PARCC SAMPLE QUESTION #6 – PART A 2040L (Ind Rdg 2140L):
Which two statements best summarize Abigail’s ideas regarding the occupation of Boston, based on the letter to her husband?

a.  Disease wiped out many of the residents of Boston during the occupation of their town.
b.  Many of the homes that were occupied in Boston were left in better condition than expected.*
c.  It is likely that another town in the Colonies will be similarly occupied in the near future.
d.  Only the president’s and solicitor general’s homes were left unharmed by those who occupied Boston.
e.  The people of Boston do not know whether or not they should return to their homes.
f.  As long as citizens of other towns take steps to avoid what led to the occupation in Boston, they should be safe from a similar fate.*

In order to correctly respond to the question above, students must understand the meaning of the words occupation, residentssolicitor, and fate, and they must understand the idiom, wiped out.  Also, they must comprehend the text of the passage used in this portion of the assessment 1130L (Ind Rdg 1230L).

PARCC SAMPLE QUESTION #6 – PART B 1210L (Ind Rdg 1310L):
Choose two quotations that best support the answers in Part A.

a.  “I am fearful of the small-pox, or I should have been in before this time.” (paragraph 3)
b.  “I find it has been occupied by one of the doctors of a regiment…” (paragraph 3)
c.  “…some individuals discovered a sense of honor and justice, and have left rent of houses in which they were, for the owners, and the furniture unhurt, or, if damaged, sufficient to make it good.” (paragraph 4)*
d.  “…whether we could rest in our own cottages or whether we should be driven from the seacoast to seek shelter in the wilderness…” (paragraph 5)
e.  “Though we felicitate ourselves, we sympathize with those who are trembling lest the lot of Boston should be theirs.” (paragraph 6)
f.  “They have time and warning given them to see the evil and shun it.” (paragraph 6)*

In order to correctly respond to the question above, students must understand the meaning of the words occupied, regiment, sufficient, cottages, felicitate, sympathize, including the archaic words lest, and shun, and they must understand the idioms driven and lot.

  • Similar to the ACT, PARCC has not been proven to be a valid measure of student achievement, nor has it proven to be a predictor of college and career readiness or success.  Research indicates the best measure of student achievement is a student’s GPA and class placement.
  • PARCC will destroy teacher autonomy since it encourages a competitive atmosphere and forces teachers to “teach to the test.”  It can be used to control districts and to destroy local autonomy.  It may have a negative impact on other disciplines such as humanities and the arts, which teach students how to think and be creative.  It will also take time away from teaching since it requires a significant amount of time to administer and must be given three times a year.
  • The financial resources of districts will be unduly burdened due to the substantial cost of technology and implementation required for PARCC assessment. Those who will gain are those in the private sector – test makers and technology suppliers.  No federal funding is available to support districts in the transition.
  • There is a political agenda and a money trail tied to CCSS and PARCC.  One that entails the privatization of public education. Research pertaining to Charter Schools shows this to have a negative impact on society as a whole by draining public funds while having no accountability.  Additionally, districts are being manipulated since existing federal funding will be cut if schools opt out of using PARCC assessment.

Download PowerPoint presentation.

EA Contacts
To stay current on continuing developments, visit:

District 214 Education Association Website
http://d214ea.org/ea/education

D214 Education blog
http://district214ea.wordpress.com
http://gerriksonger.wordpress.com

D214 Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/D214EdAssoc

D214 Twitter
District 214 EA@D214EA
https://twitter.com/D214EA
Gerri Songer@D214EdAssoc
#D214 EA Education Chair Report
https://twitter.com/D214EdAssoc

Other Sources of Information
Also, visit:

Diane Ravitch’s blog
http://dianeravitch.net

FairTest
http://www.fairtest.org

Testing Talk
http://testingtalk.org

Public School Shakedown
http://www.publicschoolshakedown.org

Network for Public Education
http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org

We Are One Illinois
http://www.weareoneillinois.org

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