It’s a big week in Springfield. An important bill, known as HB 306, could come up for a vote any day now. This bill would potentially jeopardize over a billion dollars in school funding while offering a way out for parents who oppose the modernized state test that kids across Illinois are taking.
Higher learning standards are putting students on the path to college and careers all across the country, and new tests are being administered that align with these standards. Our old tests didn’t measure advanced ways of learning and have left many parents, teachers, and students confused and frustrated. Thankfully, that’s changing this year.
The new state assessment, called PARCC, is a better test that requires critical thinking and moves away from simply filling in a bubble. PARCC replaces the ISAT for elementary school students and the PSAE for high schoolers. It is the only test available.
While moving to PARCC is positive in itself, HB 306 also takes a dangerous gamble. Federal education funding is closely tied to a requirement that states set reasonable academic standards and measure student progress toward achieving them. That is why federal law requires that at least 95% of our students take the state test. Creating a process that encourages families to refuse PARCC risks $1.3 billion in federal Title funds for our schools – funds that benefit our neediest students.
Tell your legislator: support higher learning standards and vote NO on HB 306. We can’t afford to lose federal funds, and most importantly – we can’t afford to lose accountability for our kids.