Arkansas Replacing Common Core Tests with ACTs

Published June 19, 2015

Evelyn B. Stacey coauthored this article.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) has directed the state Board of Education to replace the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Common Core aligned tests with ACT and ACT-Aspire tests. The change, initiated on June 8, was recommended by the Governor’s Council on Common Core Review. Led by Lt. Gov. Tom Griffin (R), the Council includes parents, teachers, and school administrators. The Council had toured the state to hear concerns about the Common Core aligned curricula and the testing.

The Council stated it recommended moving from PARCC to ACT because the latter has “comparability between states; the minimal time spent testing relative to PARCC; and the ACT’s relevance to students.”

On June 11, the Arkansas State Board of Education voted 7-1 against implementing the governor’s and Common Core Review Council’s recommendation to replace PARCC. 

“I am disappointed by the State Board of Education’s decision to reject the Governor’s Council on Common Core Review’s recommendation,” Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin (R) said.

Hutchinson responded with a letter to State Board of Education Director Johnny Key directing Key to withdraw the state from PARCC.

In explaining his legal authority to withdraw, Hutchinson cited the Sept. 20, 2010 memorandum of understanding between then-Gov. Mike Beebe, former Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell, and State Board Chairman Naccaman Williams, “In the event that the governor or chief state school officer is replaced in a Consortium state, the successor in that office shall affirm in writing to the Governing Board Chair the State’s continued commitment to participation in the Consortium and to the binding commitments made by that official’s predecessor within five (5) months of taking office.”

“On the contrary, I have publicly expressed my support for withdrawing from PARCC,” Hutchinson wrote.

Hutchinson was sworn in as governor on January 13, 2015.

Lennie Jarratt ([email protected]) is the project manager for school reform at The Heartland Institute. Evelyn B. Stacey ([email protected]) is a research assistant at the Hoover Institution.

Internet Info

Replacing Common Core with Proven Standards of Excellence, by David Anderson, Ph.D., The Heartland Institute:

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s letter to the state Board of Education:

Image by Brian Cantoni.