Washington Post -
The Chicago Public Schools, the third largest system in the country, has decided to buck a mandate to give all its students a new Common Core test known as PARCC this school year, a decision that could have implications across the country for Core testing.
The Chicago Tribune reported that school district chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett, with support from the school board, made the decision not to give the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test to all students. Instead, students in just 66 of more than 600 schools in the Chicago system would take the PARCC test. The other schools will use standardized tests that they have already been using.
The decision came just as Mississippi pulled out of the PARCC, one of two federally funded multi-state consortia tasked with creating new Common Core tests. (The other is the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.) PARCC, which had 26 states in 2010, has suffered major defections in recent years, and now it has fewer than a dozen states — including Maryland — plus the District of Columbia. PARCC officials have said the consortium will not collapse but continued defections could challenge that assessment.
The decision by Chicago could also affect the national discussion with mandated annual standardized testing, perhaps the most contentious subject in the debate about rewriting No Child Left Behind. Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who just became the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, has said he will push legislation rewriting NCLB, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, onto the Senate floor by the end of February, and has suggested abandoning annual standardized testing that is imbedded into the law. The Obama administration has pushed to continue annual testing.