I love to read, I love to write, I love to do math. I don’t like the PARCC. Why? Because it stinks. I’m glad my mom and dad are letting me opt out because I don’t want to deal with this nonsense.
Elizabeth Blaine, who was barely tall enough to see over the podium, had the courage to speak those word at a recent New Jersey school board meeting. The PARCC she referred to is the “Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers,” which is one brand of testing that will be used to assess students under the Common Core standards.
When she appeared on Fox & Friends this week, the tiny girl, wearing a sweet blue dress with white tights and a sparkly headband, calmly explained to host Elisabeth Hasselbeck that when the audience gave her a standing ovation after her speech she felt “very honored that everyone was so happy for me and that they were impressed with me and they respected me.”
Hasselbeck asked why the Common Core issue was so important to the little girl. “Well, I don’t really like the PARCC because it has many problems and we have — it’s all on computers, so we have to be typing when most of us have never even typed before,” Blaine said. “And we’re not required to take a typing test, but — typing class, but then we have to type on the test.”
“You’re saying a majority of the kids don’t even know how to type when they do this test,” Hasselbeck said.
She wanted to show viewers another example of the work 10 year olds were being tested on and put up a slide containing a question that shocked Elizabeth Blaine when it appeared on her PARCC practice test:
Identify a theme in “Just Like Home” and a theme in “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” and write an essay that explains how the theme of the story is shown for the characters and how the theme of the poem is shown through the speaker. Include specific details from the story and the poem to support your efforts.
“I think most grownups reading that right now would feel dizzy,” Hasselbeck said. “How do you feel?”
“I didn’t understand it at all, mostly because I didn’t understand the poem,” Elizabeth Blaine said. “And mostly because we haven’t even done anything with themes. I don’t even know what a theme is.”
Hasselbeck asked Elizabeth’s mother, Sarah Blaine, why she is opting her daughter out of the PARCC testing. “Sarah, I’m looking at you as a mom … for a parent to want to opt out … why do you want to opt out of this for your child?”
“I feel the best way to speak back against these standardized tests is to vote with our feet by not letting our kids take these tests,” she said.
“Strong mom, strong daughter,” Hasselbeck said. “I have to say, you’re a wise student, Elizabeth. I want to thank you for joining us and for speaking out for truth for all those students who feel the way you do. Well done.”
Common Core-aligned testing, including PARCC testing for states choosing that method of assessment, is not yet fully operational in schools. According to PARCC/Pearson’s website, they are currently conducting “field testing” and “collecting data” before they can set performance levels for college and career readiness.
In the meantime, preliminary practice tests, like the one Elizabeth Blaine took, are available online.