CPS PARCC testing shakes up Chicago

Dillon Jacobson, Staff Reporter

Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced on March 2 that PARCC standardized testing would be administered to Chicago Public Schools students in compliance with state and federal law. The decision was announced after the Illinois State Board of Education and US Department of Education threatened to withhold nearly $1 billion in funds from districts refusing to administer PARCC testing.

Despite these threats, parents, teachers, and students are still speaking out against PARCC testing in Illinois. Raise Your Hand, a parent led education advocacy group, is urging parents to not only request a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education, but to also contact legislators informing them of their concerns regarding the PARCC tests. Raise Your Hand has started a petition to delay the implementation of PARCC testing in Illinois.

An official statement released by the Chicago Teachers Union said, “[We are] extremely disappointed in the decision of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked Chicago Board of Education to administer the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) throughout the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district in the wake of intimidation by the Illinois State Board of Education and U.S. Department of Education.”

Though some people are advocating that parents have their children opt out of PARCC testing, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has stated that “ISBE does not recognize a parent’s right to opt a child out of required student assessments” in a letter to CPS principals.

Elisabeth Heurtefeu, the Lasalle Language Academy principal, has resigned as a result of the PARCC testing. According to DNAinfo.com, Heurtefeu said, “Rigorous standards were needed. What was not needed was over testing .” Though Heurtefeu expressed that leaving Lasalle was an extremely tough decision, she also said, “I don’t compromise with my beliefs… I just made my decision to go toward something that will be more in line with what I do believe in.”

The next round of CPS PARCC testing will take place May 18-21.