From the Craig-Haddaway Campaign:
Harford County Executive and candidate for Maryland Governor David R. Craig called today for the state’s withdrawal from the common core national test, citing a lack of clarity over how much the new system will cost, concerns about test questions and that only 9 percent of teachers feel ready to implement it.
“There are red flags going up everywhere threatening the statewide K-12 education system, and it’s time to cut our losses now,” said Craig. “Common core has its own set of issues and the national test that is lumped in with it just compounds the problem. The State Department of Education is embracing a federal education agenda that forces too many changes onto teachers and students at once, and it’s time to put the word ‘Maryland’ back into our schools.”
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, which goes by the letters PARCC, is a national testing organization that received part of a $330 million federal grant to implement the test in 18 states that have adopted common core. Despite the federal grant, the organization estimates the cost to administer the test will be nearly $30 per student, at least $2 million more than the Maryland state test being phased out.
“I have not seen one example of a government expenditure coming in below estimate,” said Craig. “This is a floor of what taxpayers can expect to pay to implement the PARCC test, not a ceiling. Let’s see the bill because whatever the final amount due is will be coming out of the budget for teacher salaries, school supplies and building construction.”
Harford County Public Schools has budgeted $18.5 million to implement the test. At a stop at a county public school classroom this week, Craig took note of confusion over the wording of a test question that baffled the teacher, the student and the county executive himself.
“The problem with outside groups designing tests is there is no accountability in the classroom,“ said Craig. “When I was a teacher, we developed our own tests and our students then could measure up with any other student in the world. They are making this far too complicated. Let teacher’s teach.”
A survey released November 13 by the Maryland State Education Association shows just 9% of teachers across the state feel that their school has the technological and physical capacity to administer the PARCC exam. This summer, state test scores dropped dramatically as common core was being rolled out.
PARCC tests are being piloted in Maryland and other states this year and they will replace existing Maryland assessments beginning in 2014-15. By ending Maryland’s involvement in PARCC, the state would join Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Oklahoma and Utah in removing the test from state classrooms.
Craig has previously called common core a “great mistake.”