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“This is Against American Ideals”: Rhode Island Teachers Respond to PARCC


by Janet D Johnson & Brittany A. Richer — October 14, 2015

According to the current dominant narrative on public education, an “achievement gap” separates those who are academically successful from those who are not. An examination of the data used to fuel this narrative reveals specific patterns: a student’s race and socioeconomic status (SES) strongly predicts his or her academic achievement. Yet, educational reform efforts have ignored the impact of economic and social inequities, what Nygreen calls the “consequence gap” (2013, p. 171).

In addition, current educational policies in Rhode Island disregard teacher perspectives. This research addresses this problem by disseminating results from a survey given to Rhode Island public school teachers. 298 teachers responded to the survey. 107 (36%) respondents were elementary school teachers, 95 (32%) were middle school teachers, and 96 (32%) were high school teachers. 117 (39.5%) teachers taught in urban districts, 68 (23%) taught in urban ring districts, 79 (26.5%) in suburban districts, and 32 (11%) in rural districts. 162 teachers also wrote open-ended responses. This paper focuses on four major themes in the data: student perceptions and responses to the PARCC test; the effect of the PARCC test on teaching; the impact of educational policies that marginalize teachers; and opportunities for change.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: October 14, 2015
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18146, Date Accessed: 12/17/2017 10:47:44 AM

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About the Author
  • Janet Johnson
    Rhode Island College
    E-mail Author
    JANET D. JOHNSON, PhD, is an associate professor of secondary education and co-director of the URI/RIC Ph.D. Program in Education at Rhode Island College. She is a critical educator dedicated to teacher agency, critical literacy, and yoga as a tool for supporting underserved youth in navigating the competing discourses in schools. Her recent publications include:

    Johnson, J. (2012). “’I want to test my own unique ideas:’ Tensions in the teacher candidate-cooperating teacher relationship.” In Flessner, R., Patrizio, K., Miller, G., and Horwitz, J. (Eds.) Agency Through Teacher Education: Reflection, Community, and Learning. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.

    *Johnson, J. (2012). “’A rainforest in front of a bulldozer:’ The literacy practices of teacher candidates committed to social justice.” English Education. January 2012, 147–179.

    *This article won the NCTE Janet Emig Award.


  • Brittany Richer
    Rhode Island College
    E-mail Author
    BRITTANY A. RICHER is a sixth grade teacher at the Lawn School and a graduate student in the Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning program at Rhode Island College. Her research interests include constructivist pedagogy, including how student choice affects academic performance, social growth, and self-discovery.
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