Illinois high schools are dropping the PARCC test, and some state lawmakers say they're happy to hear it.

State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Peru, said she isn't thrilled about all of the time Illinois schools wasted over the past few years getting ready then offering the PARCC test. She's not excited about the $57 million the state spent on the annual assessment test either.

But Rezin said she's happy Illinois' state education officials listened to teachers and parents. "They didn't understand why they were taking the test. Many of them did not want to take the test." Rezin said she heard from many parents and students.

Rezin said Illinois State Superintendent of Schools Tony Smith should be commended for deciding to make a change rather than continue down an unpopular path.

Streator Township High School Superintendent Matt Seaton said the decision shocked him. Although the PARCC test was unpopular, he said local schools had a lot invested in it. "We've got three years-plus invested in this. And to have it gone in the matter of an email." Seaton said he and other superintendents learned of the decision to discontinue the PARCC test in an email Monday.

"Nobody is going to shed any tears that this one's gone," Seaton said. "If (the State Board of Education) is going to make a change, change to something our kids can use."

That's exactly how the state board is framing the decision. State Superintendent Smith said in a statement that Illinois high schools students will take the SAT instead. "School administrators overwhelmingly agree with ISBE that every high school junior should have access to a college entrance exam, a policy that promotes equity and access and that provides each and every student with greater opportunities in higher education,” Smith's statement read.

Elementary and middle school students will continue to take the PARCC test.


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