Education

Oct 4, 2013 6:35 PM by Chris Welty

School Districts Aren't Ready for Mandated Change

Major changes are on the way for standardized testing statewide.

The new test, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC will be online. It tracks students' progress in English and Math. Schools will have one year to prepare for the new online test and PARCC will be fully implemented in Louisiana by next school year.

State Superintendent of Education John White is optimistic testing moving online. Despite Acadiana school districts telling KATC they are not ready, White disagrees.

"You must be reading different facts than what I'm reading," said White.

He says 38 school districts are ready. We spoke with representatives in Evangeline, Vermilion, Lafayette and Acadia Parishes who said it will be a stretch for them to be ready.

"Evangeline Parish has a lot of work to do and we aren't quite ready for PARCC," said Evangeline Parish Technology Facilitator Connie Bertrand.

She says laying the infrastructure for PARCC will cost her district more than two million dollars.

"Since you have such a large number testing at any given time in that window, it's going to run very, very slowly if you don't have adequate band width," said Bertrand. She also says the district will have to upgrade to FIBER and they don't have the money. "We've talked about borrowing, but nothing is definite." The district has applied for grants, but so far no luck. Evangeline Parish like many others still needs to buy more computers and software for the test.

"Technology isn't a question of some test, it's a basic way of living for our kids and our families. They shouldn't be expected to sit down and bubble anything anymore," said White.

We asked State Superintendent of Education John White for comment today and he says the state has partnerships with technology vendors to help defray the cost for districts.

A spokesperson for the Lafayette Parish School System tells KATC Lafayette Parish is behind. Some of the hardware the district previously bought is already outdated and they are evaluating how to come up with the money to fund the mandated changes.

Chris Welty
cwelty@katctv.com

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