Bacallao loses Common Core test battle with Fayette school


Former District 2 Fayette County Board of Education member Mary Kay Bacallao is running in a crowded field for the job of state school superintendent primarily on her opposition to the Common Core Curriculum, but she was unable recently to keep her daughter from taking a Common-Core-based test required by the Fayette County School System.

Bacallao tried to opt her daughter out of taking the CRCT (Criterion-Referenced Competency Test) administered by the school system in mid-April. Her opinion on the test notwithstanding, her daughter attended school the day of the CRCT and was tested.

Bacallao on her Facebook page on April 10 posted a letter sent to the Fayette County School System stating why her daughter would not be permitted to take the CRCT in mid-April.

“Since the items on the test are fully-aligned to the Common Core (standards) in math and ELA (English Language Arts), this test will not measure progress outside of the new narrowly-defined government-dictated standards,” she said, noting that the test de-emphasizes reading.

In math, she said, skills taught and tested two years ago when these students were in fifth grade, such as circumference and the area of a circle, will be included on the test.

“It is not a diagnostic or placement test. It was not designed to be used for instructional planning,” Bacallao said. “Growth outside of the lower level standards will not be measured. Results on these tests should not be used to evaluate or rate teachers because students below or beyond the standards will not be able to show growth.”

Her letter drew a response from Whitewater Middle School Principal Connie Baldwin, who said the school is required to test active and present students.

“I do not advise you to keep (your daughter) at home during testing,” Baldwin said. “If (she) is present, she is to be tested. I can not advise you on your decision, but to share what we have been instructed to do according to the testing procedures as set by the state.”

Contacted Tuesday, Bacallao said though she opted her daughter out of the test, she did send her to school on the day of testing.

“She took the test because I sent her to school that day,” Bacallao said.

Bacallao is no stranger to having her say and to speaking out against the Common Core standards in place in Georgia schools.Bacallao recently resigned her position on the school board to enter the race for Ga. State School Superintendent.

Bacallao has been an outspoken critic of the state’s standardized tests since she entered office in January 2013.