Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Rahm caves to Rauner threats. CPS will give high-stakes PARCC exam to unprepared schools

“I continue to personally and professionally believe that to administer PARCC this year is absolutely not in the best interest of our students." -- Byrd-Bennett

Rahm Emanuel looked befuddled as he hemmed and hawed last Thursday when Phil Ponce asked him straight-up -- Should CPS administer the PARCC test? I knew then that despite Byrd-Bennett's protestations, the mayor had already folded and wasn't about to stand up to threats from his pal, Gov. Rauner to withhold funding for city schools.

I hate bloggers who quote themselves. Having said that, I wrote the next morning:
He's lost. Non-responsive. I can't really blame him on that one. He's an education know-nothing and his own schools chief Byrd-Bennett has ordered that full PARCC testing be put off for a year, blasted the testing process and called the PARCC test “unproven.” All Rahm can do is mutter something about how the test needs improvement. He admits, "We haven't even gotten the results back from last-year's tests." But you can tell he's going to cave to Arne Duncan and Rauner's guy Meeks on this one and give the test anyway 
I was right. BBB announced yesterday that with a week to go before the PARCC testing window opens, all students in 3rd through 8th grade will take it.

Rahm's resistance turned out to be a sham. He could have asked Arne Duncan for a testing waiver and taken the state to court if they dared deny Chicago its share of federal dollars directed at the education of kids in poverty.

If he had called Rauner's bluff, he would have most certainly won the battle in the Democratic-controlled legislature and in the courts, leaving Rauner with egg on his face. He also might have reversed his falling polling numbers.

Once again, Rahm left his faithful schools CEO hanging in the wind. He and David Axelrod probably thought they could get through the first round elections without losing votes from angry CPS parents by delaying PARCC. Many of them are militantly opposed to subjecting their kids to the 11-hour testing regimen and the test-prep curriculum. Rahm must have figured he could win the election outright, avoid a runoff, and then give the test despite their hew and cry. He obviously guessed wrong.

The Sun-Times reports:
And with just a week before the testing period begins, parent groups and the Chicago Teachers Union are ramping up efforts to show parents how to get their children out of taking the tests, which they have said are burdensome to children and not ready for mass distribution.
I'm hoping Chuy Garcia will come out strong against the testing madness that is PARCC, call on willing parents, teachers and students to opt-out, and stand up to Rauner's threats.

A SmallTalk Salute goes out to the Local School Council at Nettlehorst Elementary. H/t Michelle Gunderson.

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