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Committee looks to opt out of school testing plan

Kimberly Jordan kjordan@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Mar 11, 2014 at 11:45 PM

The Legislative Ad Hoc Committee discussed bills from the latest legislative session at its Tuesday meeting.

Committee Chair Wendell Marlowe said he went through the latest update from March 6 and “checked some of them on the state website just to see what was going on out there.”

The one that caught the most attention from the committee had to do with Common Core and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. 

The proposed bill mandates the state Board of Education and Department of Education immediately withdraw from the [PARCC] and Common Core standards.

“I went on the website and pulled up some information about this, and this bill would increase state expenditures by $10 million for 2014-15 and would increase it by $3.9 million in subsequent years,” said Marlowe.

“There’s no way in the world, I don’t think, the state would pull out of PARCC if it’s going to cost that kind of money.”

Committee member Jeff Joines said he has not talked to anyone who was “hung up on PARCC. There’s a lot of folks who like Common Core, but you get PARCC rammed down your throat.

“Here’s the thing that bothers me about all this. It was a mandate from the federal government that says ‘OK, if your going to take this money your going to participate in this program,’ so the state of Tennessee says ‘OK we’re going to take the money.’ Now the state of Tennessee says, ‘we took the money, it was a bad deal and now you’re going to have to pay for it.’ It’s solely on the back of the taxpayers of this county who are going to have to pay for it.”

Committee member Eugene Murray said it should be researched and taken to the Wilson County Commission.

“It sounds like it’d be less expensive to send the money back, if we can figure out how much we got, rather than spend $6 million every year for testing. Sounds like something we need to watch and introduce it to the full commission.”

Marlowe said he was going to talk to Wilson County Schools Deputy Director of Finance Mickey Hall to see if they could get together some numbers of just how much money was taken. As a principal, Marlowe said he would love to be able to opt of the PARCC tests.

“If I could get out of PARCC I would be happy. PARCC is the testing side of this, and it’s enormous. It’s time consuming, and I don’t think it’s good for kids. The standards are great, but this testing it’s horrible.”

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