SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

June 21, 2014

Cities split on adopting New test

Salem says no, Beverly yes on PARCC

Local school committees continued to be divided about whether to adopt a replacement for the MCAS test next school year.

The Salem School Committee voted against the new PARCC test this week, while the Beverly School Committee voted in favor.

The Salem board, however, is scheduled to revisit the question in a special meeting of the School Committee Monday night, Superintendent Stephen Russell said.

Russell recommended in favor of adopting the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test for the 2014-15 school year, but was voted down by the School Committee, 5-2.

“I believe that it is inevitable that we are going to be moving toward PARCC, and if not PARCC, a new, updated version of MCAS,” Russell said. “I don’t see the value of continuing with the current MCAS for one year. I’d much prefer to put our students in positions where they’re increasing their chances for success as they get accustomed to the new assessment.”

Debbie Amaral, Nate Bryant, Jim Fleming, Patrick Schultz and Brendan Walsh voted against adopting PARCC. Mayor Kim Driscoll and Rachel Hunt voted in favor.

Walsh said he wanted to delay voting until the committee has more information on the PARCC test.

“There are so very, very many questions about the quality of the test itself,” he said.

Walsh said he also has a problem with state Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester serving as national chairman of the PARCC governing board.

“He’s not an unbiased messenger,” Walsh said.

Since the vote on Monday, Russell said he has been approached by several members of the committee who said they may want to reconsider. He said the topic will be on the agenda for Monday’s meeting at 6 p.m. at Collins Middle School.

School districts must decide to adopt PARCC by June 30 to be guaranteed the funding to administer the test. The decision can also be made up to Oct. 1, but with no funding guarantee. Peabody has already voted against using the PARCC test next year.

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