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Common Core testing on schedule, discuss opt out consequences

1 year 8 months 1 week ago February 12, 2015 Feb 12, 2015 Thursday, February 12 2015 February 12, 2015 5:30 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Brittany Weiss

BATON ROUGE - As educators get ready to roll out the PARCC tests to students next month, school executives met to talk about what happens if parents opt their children out of taking them.

State Superintendent John White says students will have to take the tests as federal law says.

Schools will get zeros if a student does not take a test, which impacts the overall state school score. It's another wrinkle in the fight among parents, Governor Bobby Jindal and state education leaders regarding Common Core educations standards.

Although some superintendents are wary about numbers counting against them, White says the federal and state rules can't be changed overnight and the testing remains scheduled.

Last month, Governor Jindal issued an executive order saying parents should be allowed to opt their children out of exams. The back and forth is leading to confusion.

Many think the PARCC test controversy is political.

Superintendents in East Baton Rouge and Ascension Parishes say there's none or very few parents asking to opt their kids out. Zachary Community School District Superintendent Scott Devillier is frustrated about the whole ordeal. There are forms at the Zachary School Board office telling parents how to pull their kids from the tests.

"Kids always have to take a test," said Devillier. "We don't want to play a political game, we just want to educate children."

Iberville Parish School District Superintendent Ed Cancienne said he's frustrated that the governor and the state superintendent aren't on the same page.

"Public schools are being Manhandled and abused at the state level," said Cancienne. "Up here in Baton Rouge, I don't see any collaboration."

White said because of that, his "respect for the educators of this state has doubled."

Cade Brumley, Superintendent of DeSoto Parish schools says the back and forth has created friction between schools and parents.

"It's not that they don't trust the schools, it's that there's a fear of a federal takeover," said Brumley.

Pujol says her students have been preparing for these tests all year and it's important for all students to participate in the assessment.

"These standards are really about getting kids prepared to go into the highly technical workforce in which we now live," said Pujol. "Or to go to college and then go into the workforce."

The PARCC testing will take place March 16-20. White says the state will be looking at the participation rate and will know the exact numbers soon after.

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