PARCC, Common Core, and Moving the Bar Again After Everyone’s Jumped


From Catherine Gewertz in Education Week:

If you’re paying close attention to every twist and turn of the state assessment chronicles, you could be forgiven for concluding that Florida has finally, officially, dumped the PARCC assessment consortium.

New details have emerged suggesting that this is the case, but no one’s calling the gravediggers just yet.

In a Jan. 7 story, the Bradenton Herald quoted state department of education spokesman Joe Follick as saying that PARCC “will not be considered” because it didn’t submit a formal application along with other companies that responded to an October solicitation (called an “invitation to negotiate,” or “ITN,” in Florida) to replace the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT.

But a key part of what Follick said didn’t show up in the story. In an email to me, he sent his full quote: “Since PARCC did not submit an application in response to the ITN for Florida’s new assessment, they cannot be considered during the ITN evaluation process.”

That last part—”during the ITN evaluation process”—is kind of important: It means that while PARCC can’t technically be considered an applicant, the state still has the option of choosing it, since procurement rules allow it to choose another testing vendor if the responses to the ITN do not meet its specifications or needs.

The likelihood of that happening, however, given the political realities in the state in recent months, is another matter entirely. Indicators that the Sunshine State would dump the PARCC tests have been gathering for some time (see here, here, and here).

PARCC wasn’t allowed to submit a proposal in response to the ITN, since it’s funded by Race to the Top money, a PARCC spokeswoman told the Herald. But it submitted information about its offerings and urged the state to consider it along with the other vendors.

There are some problems with PARCC returning. Its removal is part of the republican bill which blankets several provisions regarding Common Core. The other is the little problem of the results that PARCC got in New York that sent policymakers running for cover.

Republicans lawmakers have stated that they are awaiting education commissioner Pam Stewart’s recommendations  she will present  to the state board on January 21. But they know there’s an elephant  in the room. Whatever Stewart decides will have to be shoved into Florida’s discredited accountability systems. Florida’s students, teachers, families and schools have already jumped knowing that the ruling class in Tallahassee will move the bar again.

About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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