New bill allows Ill. parents to opt kids out of PARCC

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Monday, March 9, 2015
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House Bill 306 would allow Illinois parents to opt their children out of the controversial PARCC test.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Just as the weather warms up, it's test time for Illinois students. All are required to take the Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers, known as PARCC.

Many parents want to opt out of the new standardized test, but legally they can't; only students can refuse to take it. Now, some state lawmakers have introduced legislation letting parents make the decision, known as House Bill 306.

"It will give parents the right to write a letter on students behalf opting student out of standardized tests," says Rep. Will Guzzardi.

HB 306 also says schools must provide students with an educational option if they opt out of PARCC, but parents say some districts have sit and stare policies.

"After my son refuses the test, he will be left to meditate or nap at his testing station for duration of assessment," says Jennette Kling, whose sun is a student in Villa Park.

The controversial state test is the first given that is tied the Common Core academic standards. Unlike the ISATS, it involves critical thinking and writing for students in 3rd grade-through high school.

"It asks students not just to write the right multiple choice question," says Mary Fergus, spokesperson for the Illinois State Board of Education, "but also shows how to get there, the evidence."

Most Illinois students will take the test online. Critics, including Chicago Public schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett, questioned the districts readiness for a computer-driven test. Others say the test has not been fully vetted .and some worry that PARCC takes too much classroom time.

"I want my children to learn while at school," says Angel Kahl, whose child is a student in Crystal Lake. "I'm not interested in having them pulled away from core instruction to practice or participate in yet another standardized test."