SADOW: Make Your Kids Take That PARCC Test If You Know What’s Good For Them

This is starting to get ridiculous. So is preventing your children from being tested over material learned during the school year because the exam is structured around the Common Core Standards Initiativereally striking a blow against an intrusive federal government, corporate greed, lower standards, or whatever bogeyman the standards are believed to be?

Yes, a very small number of families have divulged intentions not to let their children take these exams at the end of winter, including some in Ouachita Parish. Results from these are used to evaluate a significant number of teachers and all public schools; in fact, absences lower these scores. They also provide a marker for student progress.

Gov. Bobby Jindal, who was for CCSI before he was against it, called upon the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to provide alternate tests. But that would be wasteful and meaningless, because such tests, even if formulated in record time that could replicate the goals of instruction already performed, would not be comparable to those that came before and will come in the future, and BESE rightly disregarded the plea (which needlessly took the form of a useless executive order).

It’s unclear what objection parents might have over the act of taking a test. Do they think that in doing so the content presented in the questions is so sacrilegious that their kids, upon viewing them, will sprout horns and breathe fire? Worse, that their offspring will become mind-numbed robots subservient to an oppressive federal government?

Regardless, it turns out that the state has no central policy for dealing with absences during testing, leaving this in the hands of the individual districts. Some districts are strict enough that apparently unexcused absences during testing can prevent grade promotion, although for this year the recording of a zero grade by itself would not affect progression.

As some members of BESE, those who have expressed opposition to CCSI, have petitioned, perhaps it is time for BESE to set down a statewide policy on the matter. This brings up some tricky issues, for genuine cases of incapacitation should not penalize a child from not sitting to take an exam, yet rank disregard for a child’s educational health by parents in taking the luxury of fulfilling an ideological craving by abjuring the testing should carry consequences.

Because that’s what this petulance produces. It seems entirely silly, if not destructive, for some parents to value a psychological need of theirs related to an activity that does no child any harm above the goal of helping that child’s educational progress. Second only to exemplary moral training – a subject area unrelated in any way to the testing – parents most enrich their children through insisting upon and assisting them in obtaining quality education. Diagnosing their progress provides key benchmarks in pursuing this directly, and also in Louisiana indirectly because it can help provide for better teaching and incentives for schools as a whole to achieve excellence in the educative task. Parents simply hurt their children by making them stay home on these test days, regardless of their feelings about the standards.

Unfortunately, this derelict behavior by some parents to put politics before their children’s welfare smacks of teacher union tactics likeabandoning classrooms on certain days to engage in protests in an attempt to fatten their bank accounts. While money doesn’t appear to be a motive here, children become pawns just the same, and if the state won’t formulate policies designed to discourage this, districts should. When it comes to children, regardless of who causes it, political preening by adults should never be allowed to injure them in any way.

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