Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, a potential gubernatorial candidate next year, has sent a letter to Eva Mancuso and the Board of Education asking them to reconsider Rhode Island’s new policy of using the NECAP test as a high stakes graduation requirement. The letter was also sent to Commissioner of Education Deborah Gist and Governor Lincoln Chafee.
Here’s the letter:
Dear Chairwoman Mancuso and members ofthe Rhode Island Board of Education,
I am writing today to reiterate my concerns regarding the use ofthe NECAP test as a determining factor for our state’s high school graduation requirement. I Wish to urge the Board of Education to initiate formal rule-making proceedings for amending the Board’s “Secondary School Regulations: K-lZ Literacy, Restructuring of the Learning environment at the middle and
high school levels, and proficiency based graduation requirements (PBGR) at High Schools.”
I have previously Written to express my deep commitment to improving student achievement in Providence and to Working with professional educators, parents and young people in our city to ensure that all of our students are prepared to succeed after they graduate from our public school system.
l believe that appropriate testing is a helpful measurement tool across ages and disciplines. Standardized testing is a tool that is used to evaluate students and professionals at all levels from early childhood screenings, to the bar exam, to training for police officers and firefighters. We are Working diligently in Providence to prepare our students for success in the future and to do Well on the standardized tests that they are required to take. Our district-Wide graduation campaign is evidence of that.
That said, I worry that the former Board of Regents has imposed a graduation requirement on our students that is tied to a questionable measurement of individual proficiency and graduation readiness. Particularly knowing that by 2014 – 2015 a new test the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) – will be in use in Rhode lsland to assess individual performance in important subjects.
It seems our collective attention should be focused on implementing the curricula and assessments that the new Common Core standards will require so that our educators, parents and students have the adequate time to prepare and adjust their teaching and learning strategies.
Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.