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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Growing number of states abandon PARCC testing group

A number of states are deciding to bail on the PARCC national testing consortium that is creating exams to go along with the move to the Common Core State Standards.

Oklahoma superintendent Janet Barresi announced Monday that her state would walk away from PARCC because the tests will take too long and the state doesn't have adequate technology to accommodate them, the Oklahoman reports.

Pennsylvania officials have indicated their plans to leave both PARCC and Smarter Balanced, the other Common Core-affiliated testing group, according to Education Week. Michigan is backing off Common Core, the National Review reports.

And Indiana has scaled back its involvement in Common Core and the associated tests since the departure of Tony Bennett, now Florida's education commissioner, reports State Impact Indiana.

Florida, meanwhile, is hedging its bets.

Bennett remains a strong supporter of CCSS and PARCC, but he's also been evaluating other testing options for Florida — just in case PARCC isn't ready. Florida lawmakers this spring passed legislation delaying the move to Common Core tests until every school has the technological capability to handle the load — raising concerns similar to those that led Oklahoma away.

A growing grass roots movement further challenges Florida's Core commitment, launching protests in increasingly high profile places. And superintendents, while still backing the move, are clamoring for a fair, reliable and valid transition from the current standards to the next, hoping not to kill the accountability system they support.

How will this all play out? The next few months hold the key, as Bennett is supposed to present a plan for Florida testing and also begin preparations for Common Core transition committees. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 8:29am]


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