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Lawmaker urges parents to opt out of PARCC test

Posted: 12:14 PM, Apr 19, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-19 17:51:25Z

A lawmaker in Frederick County is leading a charge to end PARCC standardized testing in Maryland schools.

Delegate David Vogt sparked a campaign Tuesday urging parents and students to exercise their right to skip the exam this spring. Vogt opposes what he calls a “policy failure that reduces students to test scores and wastes valuable classroom time.”

Students grades 3-12 take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test twice a year to evaluate math and English comprehension as determined by a national standard.

RELATED:  Baltimore City high school students plan walkout over standardized testing

While test makers say the exam determines college and career readiness, opponents such as Vogt believe standardized testing procedures waste time and distract from classroom instruction.

Vogt, a Republican delegate from Frederick, issued a statement criticizing the exam's effectiveness and encouraging Maryland parents to have their children opt-out of the latest round of testing which is set to begin in the coming weeks.

His complete statement reads:

"Parents, students, and teachers across Maryland have been very clear.  The PARCC test is a policy failure that reduces students to test scores and wastes valuable classroom time.  Unfortunately, state officials have failed to listen.  This spring, parents and students should send a message that decision-makers cannot ignore.  They should opt-out.

A reliance on standardized testing has failed our public education system.  It has handcuffed teachers, marginalized parents, and communicated to students that their test scores are the ultimate arbiter of their education.  We teach them to test, yet forget to encourage them to learn.  Then we wonder why they find no excitement in their educational experience.

I would rather every student in Maryland skip PARCC this spring than for policymakers to drag their feet for another year.  PARCC testing is currently a flawed, costly, and failed experiment, but it threatens to become a corrosive and enduring institution in an otherwise-successful education system.  We have already surrendered our local education system to a private, out-of-state organization, but that can still be reversed if only our decision-makers would act with our students' interests in mind.

To Maryland's parents and students, opt-out of PARCC while you still can, and I promise that my colleagues and I will continue fighting to kill it in Annapolis.  Exercise your right to skip the test this year, and use the opportunity to actually learn something instead."

The PARCC exam recently came under fire in Baltimore City after a group of high school students staged a walkout and protest in front of school headquarters on North Avenue. Students expressed their frustration with the biannual testing process, saying the exam positions students of color to fail and end up on a pathway to prison.

The young protesters said funding for test preparations should instead get redirected into job creation. Delegate Vogt sent out an email address to provide parents information on how to seek test exemption.