The Ohio Department of Education has announced that taxpayer-funded school districts won’t suffer financial penalties if students refuse to participate in several grueling hours of Common Core-mandated standardized tests.
Richard Ross, the Ohio superintendent of public instruction, made the announcement in a letter to school districts, reports The Plain Dealer, Cleveland’s main newspaper.
Ross’s declaration comes as increasing numbers of parents are keeping their kids out of school in Ohio — and around the nation — in response to a battery of new Common Core-aligned standardized tests now being administered for the first time.
The tests are a creation of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a dwindling consortium of 11 states and the District of Columbia.
In his letter, Ross explained that, actually, Ohio law prevents the state from providing funding dollars for the students who don’t take a previous year’s required standardized tests.
“However,” the schools boss wrote, “Ohio law also allows the state superintendent to issue a waiver that permits the department of education to fund that student the following school year. Under that authority, the department has, in the past, automatically funded these students for many years.”
Ross indicated that state schools bureaucrats “plan on continuing the same practice this year.” Thus, Ohio “will continue to fund each student in your district, regardless of their participation.”
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires that 95 percent of students take statewide standardized tests. Congress is currently debating changes to the law.
The national rollout of new Common Core-aligned standardized tests has run into a series of embarrassing but predictable problems, as schools grapple with both technical glitches and a growing movement of hostile parents who refuse to let their children take the tests. (RELATED: Common Core Tests Barraged By Glitches, Boycotts Across The Country)
Monday marked the first day of widespread testing in several states, including New Mexico, where several hundred high schoolers attracted national attention when they walked out of class to protest the exams. (RELATED: Hundreds Of New Mexico Students Walk Out Of Common Core Tests)
New Jersey is facing a similar deluge of anti-standardized test hooky. Last year in The Garden State, about 1,000 students refused to take state standardized tests. This year, a single district — the Newark suburb of Livingston (Chris Christie’s hometown) — has already topped that figure, with some 1,100 out of 4,000 eligible students defying testing. High opt-out rates were seen in several other cities as well. More than half of Princeton’s eligible students sat out, for example.
About 100,000 tests were started in New Jersey on Monday, but the state is supposed to administer about 900,000 this year, meaning that as awareness spreads the number could balloon.
Parents in New Jersey have been nudged along by the state’s teachers, many of whom are fiercely critical of new PARCC tests. (RELATED: New Jersey Teachers Make The Case For Having Students Skip Tests)
PARCC, the testing consortium, used to be much bigger. It once boasted 23 states. However, state participation has dwindled dramatically as foes of Common Core have pressured state-level politicians. PARCC has also drawn fire for taking funding from the Obama administration.