Reality Check: SMART ACT A No-Brainer? - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Reality Check: SMART ACT A No-Brainer?

(Source: FOX19 NOW File) (Source: FOX19 NOW File)
FOX19 - We won't know how Ohio students fared during PARCC testing this past school year until this fall when their scores are released but we do know that parents, teachers, administrators and even lawmakers are giving the new Common Core tests failing marks. 

PARCC stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and if you think the title is long, you should see the exams. Tests for English/Language Arts and Math currently take up to ten hours depending on the grade level. 

Thirty-two percent of total testing time during the school year is now dedicated to Common Core. Just one reason why thousands of parents and students across the country “opted out” of the test last year. 

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown tells FOX19 NOW that PARCC demands too much from students and teachers alike.

"If we don't fix this it's going to mean more challenges for an already challenging environment in public education," Brown said.

Easier said than done; Ohio's Department of Education wants a 20 percent reduction in the average time students spend taking PARCC. 

Governor Kasich recently endorsed legislation that would do just that only to have state lawmakers shoot it down. The problem is federal law mandates that states test in English and math as a condition of receiving federal funding. 

If Ohio dumps PARCC cash-strapped school districts could lose as much as $750 million. Senator Brown is now leading the charge to get Congress to pass the SMART Act which would shorten Common Core testing nationwide and would create federal funding to help schools pay for testing materials. 

"It still brings accountability. The schools need to be accountable, the teachers need to be accountable, but we shouldn't be over-testing"
adds Brown.  However, the SMART Act is facing hurdles of its own: The tests are owned and distributed by Pearson Education North America which has reportedly made billions selling testing materials nationwide while lobbying Congress to the tune of $8 million since 2009.

Parents against PARCC are currently organizing online and have taken their fight to Washington complaining that the test is just too difficult for grade school students. Brown's SMART Act might just might be the no-brainer they're looking for.

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