News Local/State

Lawmaker Hopes To Give Parents Right To Help Kids Skip PARCC Test


A measure pending in the Illinois legislature would give parents the right to have their children skip standardized tests.

The plan proposed by Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) would require schools to honor written requests from parents for their kids to skip state assessments. 

Currently, students themselves can refuse testing, if they're able and willing to ask. Even if they’re allowed to skip the test, there’s no policy telling schools what to do with those kids.

“Some schools and teachers and principals say sure, parent letters are fine, that suffices," Guzzardi said. "Some administrators say a parent letter is absolutely not sufficient. Some say O.K. if you’re not taking the test, you can go to the library and read a book. Some say if you’re not taking the test, you have to sit and stare at the wall.” 

Mary Hughes, the mother of a special needs child in a Chicago public school, spoke in support of the measure at the state Capitol in Springfield Wednesday.

“I assert that it is cruel that, according to ISBE, I have to ask my sweet son to tell his teacher, who he very much wants to please, that he is not going to take the test that she told him he’s supposed to take," she said.

Hughes and other parents are upset about the PARCC test -- the new assessment tied to the Common Core curriculum. 

Guzzardi’s plan would require schools to provide instruction or enrichment activities to occupy those students while others took the test. 

The State Board of Education opposes the legislation.