Will Superintendent Ritz agree to withdraw IN from PARCC?

August 14, 2014 1 Comment

Last week we wrote a post, which drew attention to the fact that Indiana has continued to be a member of the Common Core Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium for the past year.  This came as news to many, including most Indiana legislators, who were under the false impression that, in keeping with the spirit of HEA1427, both Governor Pence and Superintendent Ritz had provided PARCC with the written notification necessary to break Indiana’s contractual agreement long ago, back in July of 2013.  As we discovered, both Governor Pence’s letter and Superintendent Ritz’s letter notified PARCC of Indiana’s intent to withdraw from the PARCC Governing Board, not to dissolve its membership with PARCC entirely. This story gained national attention, when it was picked up and reported by Breitbart.

As a result of the coverage, last Friday Governor Pence’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Sean Keefer, sent a letter to the PARCC consortium providing written notification of the Governor’s intent to “withdraw from PARCC in all respects.”  While we were initially dismayed that this had not been done over a year ago, when it was reported that it was, we appreciate the speed with with the Governor’s office responded and handled the situation.  The question that remains is will Superintendent Ritz follow suit and do the same, or will Indiana remain a participating state in the PARCC consortium?

If the response that the Governor’s office received from PARCC is any indication, the answer to this question remains in doubt.   It seems that on more than one occasion, PARCC staffers have contacted Superintendent Ritz requesting clarification on the matter, but to no avail.  This begs the question as to whether Superintendent Ritz desires to maintain Indiana’s PARCC membership, as apparently was the case back in July of 2013, or whether she is now willing to provide the type of written notification that Governor Pence provided, which would officially terminate our PARCC membership.  Until this occurs, Indiana is off their website, but not off their membership roster.  Below is the contents of the email that was sent by PARCC’s Director of Communications, David Connerty-Marin, to Sean Keefer on Tuesday, August 12,2014:

Mr. Keefer:

Thank you for your email.  We appreciate the clarity on the subject.  As mentioned, we have contacted the Indiana Department of Education on numerous occasions since receipt of the letters last August.  Like you, we are interested in clarity about who is a member of the consortium.  While we are sorry to see Indiana leave we want to be clear about our membership on our website and in our materials.

We have not compiled an exhaustive record of contacts, but we do have record of phone of a phone call to the Department on October 24, 2013, in which Craig Hartzer indicated he, too, was not clear on the intent of the letters.  He said he would try to get clarity the next day, when Superintendent Ritz and Gov. Pence were scheduled to meet.  We did not hear back subsequently.  More recently, in May of 2014, our CEO Laura Slover, emailed Mr. Hartzer, who indicated he would get back to us.  This morning, Mr. Hartzer acknowledged our latest request for clarity and wrote that he would get back to us soon.

In the meantime, with your letter of Friday clarifying the intent of the letters we received last August, we have removed Indiana from the PARCC consortium website and removed references to it as a member.

As you know, the PARCC consortium MOU calls for the Governor, state education Chief, and Chair of the state board of education to officially notify PARCC of their intent to withdraw.  It would be helpful if you would encourage the Department of Education to send us a similar letter.  For the protection of all our member states, it is vital that we receive clear notice from the three legal entities (two, in the case of Indiana, where the Superintendent also serves as the Chair of the State Board of Education.)  Your assistance in that regard will be greatly appreciated.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.


David Connerty-Marin

UPDATE: A day after this post, on August 15, 2014, Superintendent Ritz provided PARCC with the written notification to formally withdraw IN from the PARCC Consortium. In doing so, she joined Governor Pence, whose written notification was sent a week earlier on August, 8, 2014.




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  1. Mark Watkins says:

    I heard Erin Tuttle on with Doc Thompson, she can be heard here starting at around the 1:15 mark


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