Context: Today members of the Legislature, led by Assembly Education Committee Chair Pamela Lampitt and Senator Education Chair Teresa Ruiz (both Democrats), asked smart questions of New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet regarding his proposals to water down accountability and standards by eliminating four of the six end-of-year course tests in high schools. (Last week he diminished the link between students outcomes and teacher evaluations from 30 percent to 5 percent.) According to The Record, “The questioning came just days after the administration shelved a preliminary vote by the state Board of Education to scale back the controversial PARCC test, after facing similar questions from board members who warned against rushing into changes. The delay is a setback for Murphy, who promised during his campaign to end PARCC, and who has announced a multi-phased plan to accomplish that.”
Here is a statement just issued by two of N.J.’s education advocacy groups, Better Educaiton for Kids and JerseyCAN.
We applaud Education Chairwomen Ruiz and Lampitt’s strong leadership during today’s hearing regarding New Jersey’s testing requirements. Their plan to convene a consortium of stakeholders to have a data-driven discussion on developing the next generation of assessment is exactly what New Jersey needs to ensure we are meeting the needs of our students, especially our most vulnerable children. We continue to echo the legislators’ bipartisan concern that this process needs to be slowed down and refocused on ensuring that we fully understand the impact of the proposed changes. We hope the State Board of Education will also be a partner in fully examining this issue. Eliminating tests without already having a high-quality objective tool to assess students’ college and career readiness in place is a piecemeal approach that will lead to confusion in the field. More importantly, it robs parents of a critical tool that can help them measure their children’s academic performance as compared to their peers. New Jersey should not strive to reduce testing to meet the bare minimum required under federal law. We need to be leaders in closing the achievement gap utilizing objective data on student performance.
Shelley Skinner, Executive Director, Better Education for Kids
Patricia Morgan, Executive Director, JerseyCAN
What do you think?