The New Jersey Assembly has passed a series of bills that will stop computer-based Common Core testing while a task force looks at recent education reform measures.
Peggy McGlone of The Star-Ledger writes that the bills are not stopping the use of the Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), but the results would not count toward student achievement or teacher evaluations.
The task force, of 15 members will take a long look at the Common Core State Standards and PARCC, the standardized test that measures students' mastery of the lessons. PARCC was piloted in the spring of this year, and will be taken next spring in place of the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK)and High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) tests. Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May) has introduced a bill that is similar to this one in the upper chamber, but it has not yet been heard by the Senate Education Committee.
In an article in The Record, Hannan Adely reports that all of this legislation is an effort on the part of many parents and educators to revoke Common Core. Supporters of Common Core say its standards are more rigorous.
Opponents believe that the process has been too rushed, that schools are not ready for a test change, and schoolchildren are being tested far too much. Another negative, brought forth by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), was that in the spring, during the pilot testing, there were computer problems.
The NJEA said that it would not be fair to test teachers with an instrument that was still having problems. Both teacher unions had no problem withCommon Core , but they were "frustrated" by the implementation. Some parents believe that students are spending too much valuable classroom time taking too many tests.
Common Core came about with support from the business world and state governors. They were intent on having a uniform list of what students should learn in English and math in order for them to be prepared for college and/or career. Those states which agreed to adopt the standards were eligible for millions in federal funds. Since their inception, however, the Common Core has faced controversy. Backers such as Bill and Melinda Gates have asked that there be a two-year delay on the use of test scores for teacher evaluation.
New Jersey State Assembly Democrat Mila M. Jasey also talked about a delay of the tests:
"This move will give us more time to assess what's going on statewide in terms of implementation and evaluation capabilities. Two major concerns from administrators, teachers and parents, alike, is all the time being spent preparing for testing and the lack of hardware capacity to conduct both the testing and evaluations."