Indiana Private Schools and PARCC Assessments

A recent story out of Florida involving the former Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction, now Florida Commissioner of Education, Tony Bennett illuminates what may very well be a huge problem for some private schools in Indiana down the road.

How will they be able to afford the technology upgrades needed for the PARCC assessments and the assessments themselves?

I ask because it has been seen as a potential  problem with better-funded public schools in several states, including Florida where the Orlando Sentinel reports that Bennett and the Florida State Board of Education are considering a “plan B” for implementation.

The State Board requested more than $400 million for new school technology in the next year, but Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a smaller hike of $100 million.

“One hundred million won’t get done everything we need to get done,” Barbara Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County schools, told the board.

Education Commissioner Tony Bennett praised the new standards, which 45 states have adopted, as academic guidelines that “will transform the way our students learn.” The new tests, he said, were key to making sure they are well taught.

But he said there are “complexities” to implementing both, among them the “technology readiness” of the 22 states, Florida included, that plan to use the new tests from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career. They are to replace FCAT math, reading and writing exams.

He said within the next few months his staff will devise a “Plan B” in case implementation cannot proceed as planned by 2015.

Indiana private schools who receive vouchers may find themselves in a bind, and this is an example of why private schools should fight against the Common Core.  Apathy could cost you.

Prior to Indiana’s voucher program, private schools that were accredited either by the state or by another independent accrediting body were able to use a variety of recognized standardized tests – ISTEP, Iowa Test of Basic Skills, ERBS, Stanford, etc.  The voucher law changed that.  Now all private schools receiving vouchers, regardless of their accreditation has to offer the ISTEP test which will be replaced by the Common-Core aligned PARCC assessments. 

Not only will this impact the curriculum of a private school, but it will impact the pocketbook.  Public schools are receiving some state aid to implement the tests.  Will that be true for private schools as well?  If not, how in the world will they be able to afford implementing the test?