Somerville School Committee Chair Mary Jo Rossetti and her School Committee colleague Dr. Adam Sweeting testified before a capacity audience at the October 22 Board of Education meeting. Members and other state education leaders listened intently as Rossetti, who is also President of the MA Association of School Committees (MASC) and Sweeting raised valid concerns about the Department’s rush to implement the PARCC (Performance Assessment for Readiness for College and Career) assessment trials at the same time as districts are adjusting to the new educator evaluation requirements, adapting to the new Common Core curriculum and continuing to prepare students for the traditional MCAS testing program. Rossetti reported on recent conversations with school leaders from New York State where the Common Core testing is already underway, noting that the costs associated with implementation have already topped $2 billion of state and federal dollars (using paper and no technology vs. Massachusetts plan to implement the full use of technology).
Requesting that the Board of Ed delay introduction of the PARCC exam, Sweeting, who is also a professor at Boston University, believes that “a delay of one year would give us more time to finish implementing the educator evaluation system, get our English Language Learner teachers trained, and prepare with appropriate professional development all of our academic staff to introduce the Common Core.”
Rossetti also reminded the Board that Somerville has been very supportive of these latest Common Core reforms and has worked actively to educate their school colleagues and community members about the new reforms in order to help ensure that students benefit from the new curriculum. She concluded by noting that at MASC’s upcoming Joint Conference in Hyannis, the annual Delegate Assembly will be considering a resolution that requests the Board of Education to “allow sufficient time for educators to prepare students for the new testing system and for districts to secure the adequate technology to administer the PARCC program.”