On September 20, 2013, during a Senate Education Committee hearing on Common Core, TN Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman made a statement that we believe should have been plastered on the front page of every newspaper in the state:
"But TCAP, I think most educators would say is inherently not a very strong test, not as strong as what we're aspiring to do because, ya know, it's a multiple choice test and, um, it doesn't have significant critical thinking or problem solving..." (Go to this link and forward to 57:50 to hear this quote for yourself.)
So, let us get this straight:
- being denied valuable classroom instruction,
- experiencing undue anxiety and stress,
- and receiving little-if any recess time
- and teacher job security and licensure depends upon student performance on this very same test?
Parents, teachers, and students have known for years that the TCAP is not a "strong test," nor does it accurately predict a child's ability to think critically or problem solve. Clearly, Mr. Huffman is aware of the limitations of TCAP as well. Which begs the questions:
- Why did Mr. Huffman and the Department of Education, in spite of this knowledge, continue to create and endorse misguided policies based on this test?
- Why does the DOE state that parents must allow children to take the TCAP when it is clearly is not a "strong test"?
- And why, now that Mr. Huffman has admitted the weaknesses of this test, are we giving the TCAP this school year - especially since the TCAP does not test the Common Core standards that our children are currently being taught?
(This was reposted from www.StopTnTesting.com, an organized, committed, and growing group of Tennessee parents advocating for their children and against high-stakes standardized testing).
Huffman claims that PARCC will be better than TCAP, but New York's experience with PARCC last year tells quite a different story:
The PARCC test was given to students in New York state last school year and 70% of students failed the PARCC and are now required to take double math and English courses instead of band, chorus, art, or elective classes. Parents in New York are outraged!
... but they are not outraged at their children for failing the PAARCC,
... and they are certainly not outraged at teachers,
Parents are angry at the STATE of New York for giving the inappropriate test.
And they are angry at PEARSON Publishing, too, who was paid millions of their tax dollars for the PARCC test. Even more outrageous, Pearson included brand name products embedded in the PARCC test questions!
In fact, NY parents are so upset that tens of thousands of them have opted their children out of state testing, even if it hurts their child's grades. (Click HERE to read about the powerful nationwide opt-out movement).
According to the Truth in American Education website,
These States have pulled out of Common Core testing:
- Utah (Smarter Balanced)
- Oklahoma (PARCC)
- Georgia (PARCC)
- Alabama (Smarter Balanced & PARCC - they were an advisory state)
- Indiana (PARCC)
- Kansas (Smarter Balanced)
- Pennsylvania (Smarter Balanced & PARCC)
- Alaska (Smarter Balanced)
- Michigan (Smarter Balanced)
- Kentucky (PARCC)
- North Carolina (Smarter Balanced)
- Iowa (Smarter Balanced)
According to the Hechinger Report, PARCC is even MORE expensive than TCAP:
TCAP cost for TN = $20 million
PARCC will cost TN = $21-$25 million
...PLUS the cost of TECHNOLOGY and internet capabilities that our schools do not currently have to administer the tests.
...PLUS the cost to train teachers & administrators on the testing technology and also hire technology specialists to keep district computers updated.
...PLUS we will STILL have to pay for TCAP testing for Science & Social Studies because PARCC only tests English & Math!
Legislators: Please do not make a mistake forcing an unproven test on our children that is an expensive, unfunded mandate to our districts. Vote to delay or completely pull out of the PARCC testing for our children, like the smart States listed above have wisely done.