Using Two Assessments Could Cost Massachusetts Some Title 1 Funding

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Those who advocated for the Every Student Succeeds Act kept telling us that it was going to restore state and local control. Here is another example that talking point is a complete sham.

When Massachusetts Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester announced that the state would utilize a MCAS-PARCC hybrid assessment starting in the spring of 2017 he also stated schools could use either MCAS or PARCC this coming Spring.  Playing the Grinch on Christmas week the U.S. Department of Education warned that the Bay State could end up losing some federal funding as a result.

The Boston Globe reports:

The US Department of Education has warned Massachusetts that it could lose a modest amount of federal funding because the state plans to administer two standardized tests this spring as it develops a new assessment.

The warning was issued Monday in a letter from a DOE administrator to Mitchell D. Chester, the state’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education. It pointed out that states are required to administer a single test to all students by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, recently reauthorized by Congress as the Every Student Succeeds Act….

….Massachusetts obtained a federal waiver on the single-test requirement in 2011 to try out the PARCC — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test — which was under consideration as a replacement for the state’s longstanding MCAS test.

Both that waiver and a subsequent extension have now expired, according to the letter to Chester from Ann Whalen, a top federal education official.

The state’s violation of the act triggered Whalen to declare Massachusetts “high risk,” putting in jeopardy some of the federal funding the state receives under Title I, which helps fund schools with high percentages of children from low-income families.

Whalen’s letter did not specify how much federal money might be withheld if Massachusetts fails to switch to a single test by next spring.

This is exactly why the U.S. Department of Education should not be entrusted to approve state accountability plans. Educrats have been way too much latitude.