Senator proposes eliminating PARCC testing


Sen. John Sapien will introduce legislation next year for the fourth time to try to get rid of the controversial PARCC testing.

With Democrats in control, he’s hoping this new administration will finally bite.

“I think it’s a good time for us to get a fresh start on our educational system.  I know we have some challenges in front of us and I think by revamping our education system and revamping our testing system, it gives us a unique advantage,” the Democratic senator said.

PARCC, or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers assessment, is based on Common Core standards and is taken by students in third through eleventh grades.

“Parents will get information about their child on how they’re doing in reading, language arts and math,” former Education Secretary Hanna Skandera said while introducing updates to the standardized testing in June 2017.

Since the assessment’s implementation in 2015, it has drawn criticism mostly from parents.

Some argue it’s created a system where teachers spend all their time preparing kids for testing instead of teaching what they really need to know.

“It’s very prohibitive, it’s all online,” Sapien added. “Some parts are not in the multi-languages that we need, like Spanish. So, we end up using part of the [Standards Based Assessment] — the old test — to meet some of the requirements that the federal government has for us.”

The Albuquerque Teacher’s Union on Wednesday said it supports Sapien’s bill, saying right now too much emphasis is put on the test results. 

“It should not be used to decide whether the student advances and whether or not the student is able to graduate,” Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein said.

Sen. Sapien doesn’t want to do away with all testing but adopt a different one, or create one that works better for New Mexico’s kids and the state’s unique make-up.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are other states who have examples out there that we can utilize who can provide some mentorship to use in developing a test, or there are federal tests that the government has accepted,” he said.

Sapien said he also doesn’t like how New Mexico came to adopt the standardized test, since he said the former education secretary was on the PARCC board.

Maryland, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. also still use the PARCC test. Many states that used it years ago have since eliminated it.

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