State lawmakers are scheduled to consider a bill that could have major consequences for classrooms across the state.
The bill, sponsored by East Providence Representative Gregg Amore, would halt the adoption of new standardized testing, known as PARCC, which is linked to the Common Core, a new set of national standards for public schools. The bill is scheduled for a committee hearing on Wednesday.
Rhode Island has begun adopting the standards, although opponents charge they are untested and require further study.
Rep. Amore, who is also a high school history teacher in East Providence, says he has been hearing from a lot of parents who are concerned about the Common Core.
“I have been inundated by phone calls and email from parents who tell me their first, second, third grader is coming home disgusted, crying, upset, having no fun in school, “ Amore said, adding that he believes the new standards are to blame.
“What has changed? By and large the teachers have not changed, what’s changed is the standards.”
Amore's bill would create a commission to study the standards and the standardized test under development to go with them. He says there are too many unanswered questions about the impact of the new test and the standards.
State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, a strong supporter of the Common Core standards, says they are an important step toward improving public education. The standards were developed by a panel of educators and content experts commissioned by the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, a group that includes Gist among its members.
The standards writers aimed to create a set of national goals for each grade level so that public schools would provide a more equitable education for students from Rhode Island to California. More than 40 states are moving to adopt the standards.
Those states have formed two separate coalitions, which commissioned testing companies to develop new standardized tests to match the standards. Rhode Island is planning to begin using the new exams in the 2014-2015 academic year.