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May 11, 2015

Law Removes State from Common Core Testing Consortium

Dee Black Senior Counsel Dee Black answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Arkansas. He and his wife homeschooled their children.

On April 6, 2015, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law House Bill 1241, which removes Arkansas from the Common Core testing consortium of which it is currently a member. The law prohibits the State Board of Education from renewing its participation in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) after the 2014–2015 school year. Public school students will still be assessed using the PARCC tests this year.

The new law does not mean that Arkansas will discontinue use of the Common Core State Standards in its public school curriculum. But the state board must take into account recommendations of the Governor’s Council on Common Core Review in selecting assessments for the 2016–2017 school year, none of which may be the PARCC tests. Further, the state board is now prohibited from entering into any contract for testing in excess of one year.

For homeschoolers, getting rid of the Common Core curriculum itself remains the goal. This is partly because there remains the potential for discrimination against homeschool graduates in the areas of college admission and employment if their secondary curriculum was not based on the Common Core State Standards. If high school graduates are supposed to be “college and career ready” after being taught the Common Core curriculum, public colleges and employers may require proof that this was the curriculum used before any student is admitted or applicant hired.

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