The State Board Does the Right Thing
By Phil Kauffman
Board of Education President
On Tuesday, the Maryland State Board of Education did the right thing for students. At its monthly meeting, the State Board approved the framework of a plan under which Maryland students—for the next two years—will not have to pass new state assessments in Algebra 1 and English 10 in order to graduate. Students will still have to take the exam and pass the course in order to graduate under this two-year delay.
You can learn more about these and other changes the State Board tentatively approved by reading the press release from the Maryland State Department of Education. Final regulations will likely come before the State Board in December.
We deeply appreciate this action, as it is exactly what my Board colleagues and I asked the state to consider in a letter we sent them earlier this month and in an earlier letter we sent last spring. We are grateful that Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery and the members of the State Board listened to the voices of teachers, students, parents, and education leaders who had concerns about the implementation of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests, especially in regard to this graduation requirement.
As I’ve said before, my Board colleagues and I support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the PARCC tests, which are aligned to the CCSS. We believe the new state assessments will provide meaningful data that can be used to measure progress and improve teaching and learning.
The two-year delay will allow Montgomery County Public Schools—and school districts across the state—to continue implementing the Common Core State Standards and PARCC assessments in a thoughtful, comprehensive manner, without having to worry about our students being unfairly punished during this time of transition. This will also give the state time to understand the effectiveness of the new PARCC assessments and make any necessary changes before the tests become a graduation requirement.
We look forward to working with our state leaders on this issue in the coming years.