Bill to Eliminate PARCC Moving Through Ohio House

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A bill in the Ohio House may eliminate Common Core-based tests for math and English language arts.

State Rep. Andrew Brenner’s legislation would restructure the state’s testing model and get rid of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career exams, better known as PARCC.

Brenner, R-Powell, said the tests disrupt classrooms and curricula.

“It’s taken away completely the time they (educators) used for teaching,” Brenner said. “I mean, they cannot teach anymore.”

If House Bill 74 is made into law as it stands, it would eliminate PARCC, forcing the state to find a replacement test.

The House Education Committee is currently reviewing the bill. Brenner hopes to move it out of committee by next week to put it up for vote in the House.

This is the first year schools statewide administered PARCC tests. Schools have faced technological hurdles and heard earfuls from upset parents, stressed students and flustered teachers.

Lawmakers are working quickly to try to rework Ohio’s testing model as school officials pressure them to make changes.

The legislature passed a bill to protect students, teachers and districts from opt-out penalties associated with PARCC tests taken this year the first week of March.

Immediately after, Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, and Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, established a senate advisory committee of educators and testing experts to examine the state’s testing model. That committee begins meeting this month.

Lehner said she wants to give the tests time to measure their effectiveness before removing them completely.

“No one had seen the test,” Lehner said March 4, “yet somehow there were all sorts of decisions being made about how good or bad it might be.”

Yet, Brenner thinks the advisory committee is not enough and is ready to kill PARCC now. He called it a “time crunch,” saying if the state waits for the committee reports, a new testing model may not be in place for next school year, causing more of the unrest seen this year.

His supporters’ main objection is with the amount of time PARCC tests take. That includes test preparation time as well as time students actually take the tests.

Brenner said he has no particular beef with the assessment’s academic standard.

“There may be a lot of good questions in the PARCC tests themselves,” he said, “but there’s been no indication that they’re going to be able to scale this back to a level that’s manageable by the local schools for the next school year.”

Testimony on the bill continues Monday, March 23.