Editor's note: January marks a new phase in our journalism. Due to the merger between WUIS and Illinois Issues, we now have a number of journalists that enable reporting on a beat model. A beat allows a reporter to learn events and people more thoroughly than general assignment reporting. Each reporter is focusing on key issues in the state. We're calling it the "Illinois Issues Initiative."
Watching her daughter play volleyball, April Standage sounds like any good sports mom. She keeps an eye on the refs, she encourages the players, and she keeps a mental tally of the score. And like any good sports mom, she would much rather watch the game than talk to a reporter.
It turns out that Standage has loved sports all her life. Starting in middle school, she played volleyball and basketball, threw the shotput and discus, and ran the 4-by-200 in track. Her 15-year-old daughter, however, is just now discovering sports.
Illinois schools are preparing to implement a new standardized test based on the Common Core standards. Some school districts have pleaded with state officials to delay the implementation of the new test, but Springfield school officials say they're ready.
Educators refer to this new test as the PARCC test. That’s the acronym for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. It’s a standardized test, designed by the Pearson company, that will be given to most Illinois students beginning in March.
If you want to get an idea of how controversial the new Common Core standardized test is, consider this: The number of states that have legalized marijuana use (23) is double the number of states that have agreed to use this test (11). Only eight of the 11 states signed on have agreed to use both the elementary and high school portions of the test. Illinois is one of these states.