Well well well. It appears that Governor Susana Martinez’s chosen one has become the Chair of the much-maligned Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or PARCC. Public Education Department Secretary Hanna Skandera was made chair of the overseeing board sometime late last year, although it doesn’t appear she or anyone else wanted to make that very public.
Probably for good reason. The multi-state test has received heaps of criticism here in New Mexico and in other states for its top down approach and increased time away from instruction, with more than half of the states that originally planned on implementing having since dropped the test altogether. Last school year thousands of students and parents across New Mexico protested the additional test forced on students with walk-outs, letter writing, and the launching of multiple groups around the state who helped parents successfully opt out of their children having to take the test.
Skandera replaces Massachusetts’ Commissioner of Education who held the post previously. Worth noting is that Massachusetts is not offering the PARCC in the coming school year but instead a hybrid test that incorporates other elements. Without knowing the details it appears that the organization was looking for leadership from someone more dedicated to keeping the PARCC alive, something we have no doubt Secretary Skandera will continue to do.
Skandera did secure the test with a controversial $108 million bid from the lone testing subcontractor Pearson Inc. With that kind of money being thrown around she can’t afford to be wrong, even if kids, teachers, parents, and administrators don’t want to implement more testing in New Mexico schools. What do they know anyway?