Arkansas Parents May Boycott Common Core-Aligned Tests

arkansas flagThe Times Record Online reports that Arkansas parents may boycott tests that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

This spring, Arkansas schools for the first time will administer tests that are aligned with the Common Core standards, which the state has gradually implemented over the past three school years. The tests were developed by a coalition of states, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.

Grace Lewis of Mount Vernon, chairman of Arkansas Against Common Core, said the group is not calling for a boycott of the PARCC tests, but it has heard from parents who want to keep their children out of the tests.

“We tell them that’s completely their right to do that,” she said.

A local school in the area is threatening that students will be held back if they don’t take these tests.

But Cabot School District officials say the tests are mandated by state law and that students can be held back a grade or kept from graduating if they refuse to take them.

“We’ve already started getting calls from parents about the PARCC assessments that will be coming up in spring … saying ‘my kid is not going to take that test,’ … for whatever reason they might have,” Cabot Superintendent Tony Thurman said during a Dec. 16 Cabot School Board meeting.

Thurman said students in grades 3-8 who refuse to take the tests could be “retained” at their current grade level in the following school year.

Linda Payne, director of professional development and testing for the district, said at the same meeting that high school students can be denied credits needed to graduate if they have refused the PARCC assessments.

“The law says you cannot receive graduation credit, or graduate, if you have not taken the test,” she said.

They are not necessarily getting a thumbs up from the Arkansas Department of Education which I find strange.

The Arkansas News Bureau asked state Department of Education officials whether school districts have the authority to hold students back a grade or deny them the credits needed to graduate if they refuse to participate in the PARCC tests. The officials noted that the language of Arkansas Code Annotated 6-15-2009 has been written into Education Department rules.

Department spokeswoman Kimberly Friedman declined to comment on whether Cabot officials are interpreting the rules correctly,

“It’s a local district issue,” she said.

The law does seem, on the surface to indicate that, but a “benchmark assessment” does not have to be PARCC.  The law doesn’t state that.

I’m not going to act as though I’m some sort of expert on Arkansas education law.  What I do encourage parents to do is to be aware of what the law states before making a decision, and they may even want to consider consulting an attorney.  Also, get to know what some of your other options might be in regards to homeschooling or private school options (if available) should you decide to proceed even under threats like this.  Perhaps even consider what, if any, legal remedies would be available if the school district tries to make good on its threat.

I just find it telling that the state doesn’t seem to be backing the local school district up.

One thought on “Arkansas Parents May Boycott Common Core-Aligned Tests

  1. Ahem.
    AR home educating laws provide the home educators must provide the SAME “NORM REFERENCED” TEST as the public schools provide.
    Which these days, is NONE.
    So AR homeschoolers have no provision for testing.
    This was done on purpose because the ps administrators and lobbyists know: Home educated children cannot be compared to ps educated, since the so far surpass them.

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