Our Stance & Solutions
- Hannah Yattoni
The Standards Are a Step Forward, But It May Be Too Much Too Soon
We can call agree that having new standards is a good thing. It is important to keep up with the times and continue to further the education of kids. However, throwing so many changes at the schools at one time will cause problems for many schools, especially those who's standards were lacking previously. At Rochester, our standards were higher and closer to the new standards that are being implemented, however at smaller more rural schools, raising the standards so much in such a short amount of time will cause and is already causing problems. Teachers are forced to learn new methods and alter their lesson plans to accommodate all of the material needed.
New testing requirements
A large part of the new standards is the testing aspect. Students in grades 3-8 will be required to test in math and English during the 2014-2015 school year. The new tests will replace the ISATs. The are two parts to the test, one part is to be taken roughly 75% through the year and the other at 90%. These tests can be given online or with traditional paper and pencil. It is these scores that the students get that will then be used to assess the school and the district. Having to fit all of that material in before the day of the test can be challenging and may cause students to struggle to keep up with the faster pace of the class than they are used to.
New Tests Mean Complications & Less Trust in Results
Because of the new testing, there is not a general idea of what the test results mean. Now, everyone knows the scale and what the test scores mean on the ACT, but for the PARCC, the numbers that are reported don't have any value. Also, there were set guidelines for the schools to administer the tests, and they were tried and true. Now there are new rules and guidelines and the use of technology also poses problems.
Schools Should Have More Input
Dr. Bertrand brought up the point of education and who really has the power to decide what schools are required to teach. Under the U.S. Constitution it is a state right to decide education requirements. In this way the PARCC and Common Core Standards are being implemented in slightly different ways across various states, for example it may be required to score at a certain point on the PARCC test to graduate. The standards themselves need to be raised around the country, but as far as specific curriculum goes we believe that should be left to the district.