Thursday, October 22, 2015

Marshfield School Committee Votes on PARCC Resolution

I wanted to update you on a vote that was taken by the SC at this week’s meeting.  SC Member, Sean Costello brought forth a resolution related to the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education's (DESE) pending deliberation on whether to make PARCC the state’s official proficiency assessment for graduation.  The resolution called on  DESE to NOT move forward with PARCC and to keep MCAS in place.  There was  a great deal of discussion on the concerns that have come up with PARCC as well as on the merits of the current system and what we’ve been able to do with data we that has come from years of MCAS testing.  In the end, the Committee voted unanimously to support the resolution (see below) and it has been submitted to DESE for their consideration.

DESE will be voting on this matter in less than a month and if you did not see it, Commissioner Chester noted that he is now looking at a possible move that would use some aspects of PARCC to help create an “MCAS 2.0”.  Here’s a link to the Boston Globe article on this option:   This option will be discussed at the DESE board on November 16th, before they vote on the 17th.  We will update everyone once DESE makes their decision.

Resolution Opposing Implementation of PARCC Testing

WHEREAS:          the Marshfield Public Schools provide a safe, healthy and collaborative learning environment that fosters respect and responsibility, empowering all to achieve their maximum potential; and

WHEREAS:           the future well-being of our society relies on a high-quality public education system that effectively motivates and prepares all students for college, careers, citizenship, and lifelong learning; and

WHEREAS:          the Marshfield School Committee fully understands the obligation of the District to administer, with its very best efforts, a state-mandated proficiency test; and

WHEREAS:          school districts in Massachusetts and across the country have been spending increasing amounts of time, money, and other resources on high-stakes testing; and

WHEREAS:          student performance on standardized tests is used to make major decisions affecting individual students, educators, schools, and districts; and

WHEREAS:          concerns have been noted over the years on the over reliance of a single state assessment and the impact the pressure of said exams has had on students and educators across the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS:          Marshfield has used the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) proficiency test as a tool to gauge student progress and adherence to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and has utilized this important data to improve curriculum, and enhance instructional strategies; and


WHEREAS:          the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam system is scheduled for review and a future implementation decision in the fall of 2015 regarding its use as a statewide assessment in all Massachusetts public school districts; and

WHEREAS:          the usage of MCAS testing in Marshfield Public Schools was reaffirmed over PARCC testing in a 2014 School Committee vote; and

WHEREAS:          the implementation of PARCC exams requires massive infrastructure expenditures in technology at every level, in districts across the Commonwealth, with no financial plan to support these costs in an era in which school budgets are strained with accelerated, decreasing state aid; and

WHEREAS:          initial findings from some districts administering PARCC testing raise concerns on whether it reliably tests skills in an age appropriate fashion; it puts too much of a financial burden on districts trying to meet the technology needs of the assessment; the extensive time needed to appropriately plan for and administer PARCC outweighs any potential benefits and negatively impacts the teaching and learning that takes place in those schools; and

WHEREAS:          the Marshfield Public Schools District 5-year Improvement Plan for 2013-2017, approved and adopted in 2012, set forth a goal to maximize the potential of students, staff, parents and community partly through providing sufficient time to assess the effectiveness of emerging practices; be it therefore

RESOLVED:          that the Marshfield School Committee and the Marshfield Public Schools District supports more time for educators to teach and students to learn; and be it further

RESOLVED:          that the Marshfield School Committee does not support the potential implementation of PARCC testing as an unfunded mandate; and be it further


RESOLVED:          that the Marshfield School Committee calls on state education policymakers to reject the implementation of PARCC testing over MCAS; and be it further

RESOLVED:          that the Marshfield School Committee encourages state policymakers to re-evaluate the practice of current and proposed future methods of standardized testing; and be it further

RESOLVED:          that the Marshfield School Committee affirms the aforementioned statements in order to encourage educators, parents, and other members of our community to work together to support our teachers, enhance positive educational practices, and better prepare students for lifelong learning.