Despite this technicality, we here at Momma Bears do believe that, as written, the Conference Committee bill that was approved by the full House on Wednesday does essentially ax the effectiveness of the 1-year PARCC hiatus. The TN Board of Education (BOE) will seek out bids for Common Core-compliant tests from other testing companies for the 2015-2016 test; however, the CC report/bill requires that these tests must be field tested prior to the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year to even be considered. That appears to leave the BOE with two test choices: the PARCC test and the Smarter Balanced Assessment--a.k.a., the "other" Common Core test that is currently being developed. (Don't forget that Ed Commish Huffman is on the Executive Committee of PARCC, so we have no doubt he will be lobbying hard for PARCC.)
So, instead of using the hiatus as an opportunity to examine other test options that could save the state much money, teachers much hassle, and children much heartache; we are basically stuck with an extra year of twiddling our thumbs as the PARCC continues to barrel down on us like an out of control locomotive.
Oh, and we are pretty sure that this 1-year break actually helps Huffman save face because it is clear from reports across the state that TN would have been nowhere near ready to adequately administer PARCC a year from now. So now Huffman, Haslam, and the leadership in the legislature look like they actually give a hoot about the desires of the electorate/legislature, when we are pretty sure they are just relieved that they now have an extra year to try and get our state "ready" for the PARCC.
We have news for Mr. Huffman and his buddies: As long as you and your cohorts continue to disrespect teachers and parents, starve school districts of resources, and treat our children like products rather than human beings, Tennessee students, as a whole, will never "succeed" at any high-stakes test. Raising the proverbial bar to 6 feet and then telling children who can only jump 3 feet to clear it is nothing short of insanity. But we strongly believe that, if you implement some of the following suggestions, TN students could easily clear that 6-foot bar:
1) Fully fund our schools.
2) Implement wrap-around services that will help ameliorate the impact of poverty on learning.
2) Pay our teachers what they are worth.
3) Allow teachers to actually teach instead of test.
4) Respect a child's need for play, exercise, and the arts.
5) Encourage parents to be active participants in their children's education.
Until then, Tennessee students will never reach their fullest potential because, contrary to your beliefs, simply expecting more won't make children achieve more.