Parents should be allowed to exempt kids from PARCC test, lawmakers say

  • Students at Marlowe Middle School take the state's new standardized test, PARCC, this spring in Lake in the Hills.

      Students at Marlowe Middle School take the state's new standardized test, PARCC, this spring in Lake in the Hills. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/20/2015 5:43 AM

The state has started trying to outline a way for parents to exempt their kids from taking the new PARCC standardized test.

A plan approved by the Illinois House Tuesday would let parents sign a letter to school officials excusing a student from the test, and state law would protect students from punishment for declining.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Students from several suburban high schools boycotted the PARCC test in March. Juniors from Rolling Meadows High School, Hersey High School, Buffalo Grove High School and Prospect High School refused to take the standardized test and were not punished for doing so.

Now, lawmakers said, students have to choose to opt out themselves, often putting them in a tough spot with a teacher.

The House approved by a 64-47 vote, sending the plan to the Senate.

"I have teachers in my district that say it is completely unworkable," state Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican, said.

State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat, argued PARCC is the only state test the state requires.

"For the first time, we have test that is measuring what the children are supposed to have learned in the classroom," the House's No. 2 Democrat said.

Some parents say they shouldn't need a state law to opt their children out of standardized testing. And they say children with disabilities that keep them from performing at grade level should not be subject to the timed testing.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers is a test being given in several states to measure how well students are meeting new Common Core curriculum standards.

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