Monday, January 26, 2015


Supt. Trish Kocanda
This time it comes from the leader of one of the nation's wealthiest and most progressive districts. Supt. Trish Kocanda of Winnetka Public Schools has written a "warning letter" to parents,  community members, and staff about the PARCC Common Core exam scheduled for March and May.

Kocanda's letter is published in today's Washington Post:
As we learn more about the assessment, we grow wary. We are concerned about the amount of instructional time it will displace, the impact this will have on students, and the usefulness of the results.
The Post's Valerie Strauss writes:
Winnetka, just north of Chicago, is one of the most affluent communities in the country. The Winnetka Public Schools district Web site says that the system has “led the nation in progressive education and served as model for educators who value the development of the whole child.” There are about 2,000 students in the system’s schools, all of whom leave the eighth grade and attend nationally recognized New Trier Township High School.
Kocanda's letter comes on the heels of Ed Sec. Arne Duncan's call for even more and earlier high stakes standardized testing.

Back in November, the superintendent of neighboring Evanston Township launched a blistering attack on PARCC testing.
“Students taking both PARCC mathematics and reading language arts tests will spend more time taking PARCC tests than aspiring lawyers will spend sitting for the Bar Exam with no payoff,” said Pete Bavis, District 202 assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
Last week Chicago Public Schools delayed most PARCC testing for a year, with Supt. Byrd-Bennett claiming that that not enough computers were in place to administer the tests to more than 10% of CPS students. She made no critique of Common Core testing but was obviously worried about possible results and fallout from the tests.

But you can bet Winnetka's blast at Duncan's testing madness won't be the last.

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