Jesiel and Wheeler Call For Reexamination of Involvement with PARCC

Representatives Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) and Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake), Wheeler of the neighboring 64th District, are sponsoring House Resolution 404 in an effort to reexamine the impact of PARCC testing on Illinois. The resolution also calls on the State Board of Education to be more transparent about the implementation and use of PARCC. Jesiel and Wheeler have been joined in this call by several other General Assembly members.

Under the Common Core State Standards, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) has been implemented as a means to evaluate student success in core instruction areas. However, the rollout of PARCC encountered a number of problems because the rules for the testing changed on numerous occasions in the days and weeks just before it was to be administered. This is why the resolution also calls on the State Board of Education to better communicate the process and the rules governing the testing in addition to asking the Governor to reevaluate the contract for PARCC.

“I commend Rep. Wheeler for filing this resolution,” said Jesiel. “As a ‘Nana’ of four children who will be entering school in the near future, I feel it's important to continue to evaluate testing methods to be sure that we are providing the best testing environment for our children. Many of my constituents have been reaching out to my office and sharing some very heart wrenching stories about the stress this testing is causing their children. I’m hopeful the Governor and the State Board of Education can work with the federal government to find a solution that evaluates students in a fair and helpful manner, and keeps our schools funded.”

Illinois is facing a major hurdle with PARCC because the testing is mandated under federal law. Under the law, any state that doesn’t administer PARCC to 95 percent of its students will lose federal education funding. In Illinois, this amounts to more than $1 billion. For this reason, Jesiel and Wheeler are hopeful the Governor will work with the federal government and federal elected officials from Illinois to find a solution that won’t cause major education funding to be lost, but allow parents their right to be involved in the education and evaluation of their children.

“The rollout of PARCC testing this year has been poor to say the least,” said Wheeler. “In most schools, teachers weren’t properly prepared to administer the testing, which has left our students unprepared and very frustrated. This is made worse because there is no legitimate way for parents to ask that their child not be tested because of the contract the federal government is demanding states comply with to maintain funding.”

Wheeler continued, “Many of my colleagues and I have been hearing from parents that are greatly concerned because their children, who are good students, have become so overwhelmed by testing that doesn’t align with their classroom instruction. As a former teacher, and a more importantly a parent, it’s clear we need to reevaluate PARCC and ensure that it doesn’t hinder our children’s scholastic success.”