Louisiana parents opt children out of PARCC testing

Published: Feb. 25, 2015 at 11:38 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 26, 2015 at 2:11 AM CST
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WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Parents in school districts across Louisiana are opting their children out of the PARCC test, the test associated with Common Core standards. Some have joined various Facebook groups that track which parishes are having problems and giving out advice.

West Baton Rouge Parish is also seeing some strong opinions from parents.

One parent, Angela Barrett, says those Facebook pages have become helpful in letting her know she's not the only one with strong concerns about Common Core and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career. It will compare students state by state on how well they perform.

Barrett, like others, took a letter to her daughter's school stating she was opting out of all tests associated with PARCC. But this week, her daughter came home with some news.

"Nicole tells me that they're taking PARCC practice tests in school," Barrett said.

Barrett says she immediately reached out to her third-graders teacher and school principal, reminding them she had opted her daughter out of PARCC testing. She says while she was at the school to make sure her daughter was not being made to participate in the math portion of the test, she says another parents was also there with an opt out letter.

Some schools are accepting the letters, others are not.

Wes Watts, the West Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent, says they've heard from at least 20 parents who do not want their children tested under PARCC.

While the scores may not directly affect the students, Watts says it does allow teachers and the school to see if they are being effective in the classroom and what areas they need to improve in. The scores could also impact the school performance score.

Barrett and other parents feel their children are being used as guinea pigs, to gauge how well they'll do on the real PARCC tests in just a few weeks.

In April, Watts says, there's more testing for third through eighth graders with the iLEAP and LEAP test. Then in May, another round of PARCC assessments.

Superintendent Watts says in his opinion, the students are tested too much, but the system cannot go against state rules.

Something Barrett says is part of the frustration.

"It's chaos, it's confusion," she said.

The superintendent in West Baton Rouge has scheduled a meeting with parents opposed to the PARCC test on March 5. He says he'll listen to their concerns and explain why they plan on using the test.

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