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Future of PARCC Testing in Arkansas is Topic of Debate

BY STATE REPRESENTATIVE NATE BELL –

After conducting a series of listening sessions around the state, the Governor’s Task Force on Common Core recently recommended non-renewal of Arkansas’s contract with PARCC for standardized testing. Governor Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Education subsequently announced that they did not intend to renew the contract for PARCC testing and instead planned to enter into a contract with ACT to use their Aspire testing as Arkansas’s primary measure of scholastic achievement.

Late last week, the State Board of Education voted 7-1 to renew the PARCC contract despite the strong objections of Commissioner Key, the Governor, and the legislature.  The board is entirely comprised of members appointed by former Governor Beebe and a divide clearly exists between two different approaches to standardized testing and overall education philosophy.

The PARCC contract will come for review before the interim legislative governing body known as ALC prior to final approval.  I serve on ALC and will vote not to review the contract renewal with PARCC.  If the Board of Education decides to once again ignore the legislature’s clearly expressed wishes then I will encourage the Governor to consider a special session to override the State Board’s decision and to require that the contract not be renewed.

PARCC has failed to fulfill its obligations under its contract with Arkansas. I have heard from many educators about the ridiculous amount of instructional time that is being lost due to the testing format.

I’ll know more on this subject soon and will report back to you as the situation develops.

I always appreciate your feedback. Please send email to nate.bell@arkansashouse.org if you have ideas, complaints or need assistance.

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