n a fundraiser that both raises cash and builds a sense of school community, the North Side Parent Teacher Council is heading over to McDonald’s, Madison Street at Desplaines, this evening from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Teachers and school administrators will step behind the counter and serve up dinner and snacks to parents and kids.   

The PTC gets 20 percent off the top of every sale and there will also be a tip jar with all of the proceeds going to the group.

McTeacher’s Night — anyone else tired of the Mc-puns? — is a variation of a school fundraiser that the Forest Park McDonald’s owners, Jan and Ray Nelson have seen work at other McDonald’s. We applaud them for this community-connecting effort.

And let’s hear it for the teachers. Twenty-five teachers from Grant-White and Garfield Schools have signed up to work the drive-thru, bus tables, serve ice cream. That response is so strong, the teachers will work in just one-hour shifts. It is a credit to the faculty that they see the fun in this event and have the team sense to turn out.

Even Supt. Lou Cavallo will be on hand starting at 4 p.m. He’ll be manning the shake machine. 

For reasons we don’t understand, relations between the local PTCs and the district have not always been the warmest. This is a positive step toward a more connected future

 Calibrating testing

Responding to a statewide parent and educator backlash to the overreach of the new state-administered PARCC testing program, the state board of education has announced it will shorten the number of hours devoted to the testing.

In its first year, the standardized test was given in two parts, over 8-9 sessions. In the next school year, it will be given in one fell swoop with fewer sessions, and the math and English testing will be shortened.

While we have long believed in the necessity of standardized testing as a key element in holding all public schools accountable for educating every child — and this may be the only issue on which we give President George W. Bush some credit — we are also aware of the clear limits of such testing.

Forest Park Supt. Lou Cavallo lauded the state school board for its revisions to the PARCC testing regimen. He rightly notes that, with the rollout of the Common Core curriculum, every teacher needs every day available for teaching to this more rigorous standard. Setting aside more days for standardized testing is not logical.

District 91 public schools also have its own ambitious and personalized testing programs which are administered through the course of the year. We see great value in these individualized tests, which allow teachers to customize instruction for each student as the school year progresses. This is time better spent than on extended standardized testing. 

All said, we give the state board credit for listening to the critiques of its new test, which got high marks in areas other than the sheer volume and time involved, and making adjustments.