Thursday, December 18, 2014

“Go ahead, make my day!”: Take the PARCC Test by Sarah Blaine


“Sarah Blaine, a lawyer and mother in New Jersey, took the 4th grade PARCC sample test. She has a daughter in 4th grade. Blaine was outraged by the test questions. She wrote a letter to the members of Governor Christie’s PARCC Task Force and urged them to take the test before they make their recommendations” (Diane Ravitch’s Blog). 


"She writes: ‘…I have a fourth grade daughter. She was first identified for our district’s gifted and talented program for English Language Arts in kindergarten, as she came into kindergarten reading chapter books. Her vocabulary and analysis skills remain quite advanced for a child of her age. And I can tell you that she retains the ability to imagine. 

"Do you remember that, the ability to imagine with ease? Do you remember your childhood, when you could create imaginary worlds and people them with imaginary characters just by wishing them into existence? Do you remember building forts and castles that were as real to you as could be? 

"For a moment, for just a moment, I ask you to call upon what is likely your long-stagnated power of imagination. Imagine yourself at nine or ten years old. Imagine your room, imagine your friends, and imagine your school work.

"Then sit down. Keep yourself in your nine or ten year old mindset. Boot up your desktop, or power up your laptop, or unlock your iPad. Navigate to the PARCC website at http://www.parcconline.org/

"Navigate to the 4th grade English Language Arts PARCC practice test. Open it in front of you, right now, as you read this comment. If you refuse to sit down to take the sample tests yourself, then with all due respect I submit that farcical as this task force — with its 6 week window to issue recommendations — might be, you are not meeting your obligation as member of this task force.

"Remember as you work through the 4th grade PARCC practice test that you are not your current self — you are still your nine or ten year old self…’

"Can you truly look me in the eye and tell me with a straight face that this is an appropriate task for our children? Now can you truly look me in the eye and tell me in all honesty that a child who cannot succeed on this task is not on track for college or a career? 

"Now, can you truly look me in the eye and tell me as if you mean it that preparing our children for this work is what their teachers should be spending the year doing? Now, can you truly look me in the eye and tell me that your child self would believe that this test was fair and would not give up before the end? 

"Now, can you truly look me in the eye and tell me with sincerity that years spent preparing for tests like these aren’t going to suck the joy, imagination, love of learning, and creativity out of children — and their teachers?...”

The entire letter can be found at parentingthecore.


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