Gov. Lujan Grisham signs executive order to end PARCC testing

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Signing the first executive orders of her tenure in the Roundhouse, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says her administration is doing away with the controversial public school standardized test known as “PARCC.”

Flanked by a handful of teachers and Lt. Governor Howie Morales, Gov. Lujan Grisham signed two executive orders Thursday, targeting PARCC which stands for “Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.”

The first order directs the Public Education Department to “begin to build and identify meaningful strategies to move away from high-stakes testing,” while the second order directs PED to end PARCC testing.

“What we know about PARCC is that it is not a meaningful way to evaluate educators,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham during Thursday’s meeting.

The governor says she’s assembled a team of educators and lawmakers who will create a “blended” evaluation process that she says takes New Mexico’s unique educational system into consideration. 

“Given the fact that we have such problems meeting of the needs of our minority students, our bilingual education requirements, we’re going to have to really look carefully at what kind of independent tools will meet those needs,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. 

The executive orders earned praised from some teachers sitting at the roundtable with the governor Thursday.

“Taking a step away from having a punitive evaluation and having an evaluation that can actually help me be a better teacher is important and critical,” said Billie Helean, a Rio Rancho school teacher.

A union official, Ellen Berstein, who’s president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation also gave her approval of the governor’s order.

“I think now it will put testing in the appropriate context that it’s part of, but not all of the schooling,” said Bernstein.

While she’s directing PED to stop PARCC testing, the governor says by March students will likely still be taking some elements of the PARCC test. The governor added that her expectation is the state will be running on a different type of evaluation by August 2019.

“The message today should be to students and families that they should expect to see New Mexico schools transition immediately out of high-stakes testing,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.

To read the executive orders, click here.

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