Estimates for the cost of technology need to fully implement new student assessments to accompany the Common Core standard have been as high as $100 million. The Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) recently submitted comments to the draft recommendations of The Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards (MCCRS) and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Implementation Review Workgroup. MABE’s submission includes comments on the Workgroup’s responsibility to report on school technology needs and to request state funding for technology needs associated with the new assessment.
In response to the Group’s charge to “assess the technological readiness and the needs of the public schools for the implementation of the PARCC assessments, including what resources will be needed to teach students the necessary computer skills to take the PARCC assessments,”
MABE requests that the State Workgroup fulfill this charge by assessing both MSDE and local school system technological readiness for administration of the PARCC assessments. This assessment should include references and links to existing statewide surveys and RTTT [Race to the Top] updates and reports which contain much detailed information on the issues and challenges to achieve technological readiness, and what resources and investments will be needed.
With regard the the Group’s charge to “recommend a plan to meet the technological infrastructure needs of public schools related to the implementation of the PARCC assessments,
MABE. . . requests that the State Workgroup recommend the development of a statewide plan, and reference other related procurement and planning initiatives. For example, the Workgroup should reference the assessment of broadband capacity which is being conducted under a separate legislative mandate; and the Workgroup should reference the investments already made by local school systems, and identify remaining unmet needs.
In addition, MABE supports a Workgroup recommendation for a stand-alone state funding initiative to support local technological infrastructure and hardware investments; toward the goal of ensuring a level playing field of equitable access of all students to comparable educational technologies. MABE requests that this request reference the initiatives in recent years to provide $25 million for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) projects; and to provide $25 million for school safety and security related upgrades.
For more information, see all of MABE’s comments on the recommendations, additional documents from the Workgroup meeting and our previous posts, Workgroup Discusses Common Core Implementation in Maryland, and Maryland’s Common Core Implementation Work Group Reviews Draft Recommendations.