Parents Across America opposes both the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the associated tests created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). We wish to place our position in the following context:
1) PAA is NOT opposed to learning standards or assessment. We believe it is important for school communities to have a shared vision and goals for student learning and effective tools for monitoring student progress.
2) PAA is NOT opposed to federal involvement in public education. We believe that the federal government and the U.S. Department of Education have an important role monitoring and addressing issues of school resource equity and student civil rights, and researching and promoting best practices in education.
3) PAA recognizes that the push for national standards and tests did not start with CCSS/PARCC/SBAC. We acknowledge the real desire of many who support CCSS/PARCC/SBAC to improve the quality of education, especially for some of the nation’s neediest children. However, we believe such efforts are based on a faulty analysis of the challenges facing public schools and a disregard for the harmful and ineffective results of standardized test-based accountability.
We oppose the CCSS standards because they are not derived from any community’s shared vision of a quality education. We oppose PARCC/SBAC assessments because they are products of the same companies whose tests are being rejected daily as time-wasting intrusions on real learning by growing numbers of parents, teachers, students, and administrators across the nation.
We oppose CCSS/PARCC/SBAC because we believe that they were designed to allow corporate interests easier access to the “educational marketplace” and to private student and family data. CCSS/PARCC/SBAC will provide new ammunition for the attack on teachers and the teaching profession when scores show even more “failing” students and schools. Ultimately, this new, even more coercive version of top-down, test-focused education will deprive too many of our most vulnerable children – children of color, children living in poverty, special needs students, English-language learners – of the empowerment and opportunity that deep learning and strong schools can offer them.
PAA calls for an immediate nationwide moratorium on implementation of CCSS/PARCC/SBAC. This moratorium will provide states and local districts the opportunity to step back from CCSS/PARCC/SBAC, allow for extensive public review and input on these programs, and decide for themselves, without federal intrusion, if or how these materials will be used.
We believe that, if used at all, CCSS should be considered as recommendations only in the development or revision of local standards, and that, if used at all, PARCC/SBAC tests should be voluntary for schools, teachers and students and have no high stakes.
PAA has very different ideas about what’s needed in education than those embodied in CCSS/PARCC/SBAC. Please see our position paper, “What is a Quality Education?” Please also see our companion papers, “Common Core Basics” and “Annotated References.”