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Lawmaker Hopes To Give Parents Right To Help Kids Skip PARCC Test

Rep. Will Guzzardi
Dusty Rhodes
NPR Illinois

A measure pending in the Illinois legislature would give parents the right to have their children skip the standardized test associated with the Common Core curriculumThe plan proposed by Democratic Representative Will Guzzardi, of Chicago would require schools to honor written requests from parents for their kids to skip the PARCC test. Currently, students themselves can refuse testing, if they're able and willing to ask, but Guzzardi says there’s no policy telling schools what to do with those kids.
“Some schools and teachers and principals say, 'Sure, parent letters are fine, that suffices.' Some administrators say a parent letter is absolutely not sufficient," Guzzardi said. "Some say okay, if you’re not taking the test, you can go to the library and read a book. Some say if you’re not taking the test, you have to sit and stare at the wall.” 

Mary Hughes, the mother of a special needs child in a Chicago public school, spoke in support of the measure at the state capitol today.

“I assert that it is cruel that, according to the Illinois State Board of Education, I have to ask my sweet son to tell his teacher, who he very much wants to please, that he is not going to take the test that she told him he’s supposed to take,” Hughes said.

Guzzardi’s plan would require schools to provide instruction or enrichment activities to occupy students while others took the test. Guzzardi’s plan would require schools to provide instruction or enrichment activities to occupy those students while others took the test.

The State Board of Education opposes the legislation.

After a long career in newspapers (Dallas Observer, The Dallas Morning News, Anchorage Daily News, Illinois Times), Dusty returned to school to get a master's degree in multimedia journalism. She began work as Education Desk reporter at NPR Illinois in September 2014.
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