The fight against Common Core and PARCC continues. With less than 3 weeks until testing begins, the “refusal” movement is growing by leaps and bounds every day. Dozens of parents descended upon Jersey City and Jackson to testify before Commissioner Hespe and the Study Commission that is tasked with evaluating Common Core and PARCC. One more event is scheduled for February 19th at the Blackwood campus of Camden County College and is promising to be electrifying. A large, angry group of parents are expected to attend. We are concerned about the conflict of interest that seems to entrench most of the commission members. All but 2 of them have connections to ACHIEVE which is an organization that is promoting Common Core and PARCC. Commissioner Hespe still continues to dismiss our concerns. It makes us wonder whether our words are falling on deaf ears.
However, there is good news. Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan is sponsoring three pieces of legislation regarding PARCC. Bill #3079 prohibits administration of standardized assessments in kindergarten through second grade. Bill #A4190 states PARCC may not be used to determine a student’s placement in a gifted/talented program, another program or intervention, grade promotion, as the State’s graduation proficiency test, any other school or district-level decision that effects students, or as of any evaluation rubric submitted to the Commissioner of Education for approval. Bill #A4165 allows a parent or guardian to exclude their child from administration of certain assessments. Please call or write your representatives and ask them to support these bills. They currently have bipartisan support.
Over 90 school districts have passed resolutions to accept “refusals” from parents not wanting their children to take the PARCC and End of Year assessments. Edison is one of them. That number is growing also, especially as we get closer to March when testing begins.
Governor Christie, recently speaking in Iowa said, “I have grave concerns about the way this has been done, especially the way the Obama administration has tried to implement it through tying Federal funding to these things. And that changes the entire nature of it, from what was initially supposed to be a voluntary type system and states could decide on their own to now have federal money tied to it in ways that really, really give me grave concerns.” Wow! Perhaps Governor Christie should have told Commissioner Hespe.
On the Federal level, Senators Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander are working together on a bipartisan bill to fix No Child Left Behind. Is it possible that they are paying attention to what is happening in New Jersey and other states around the country that have already “opted out” of PARCC and Common Core? It is sure to be at the forefront of the next presidential election. Politicians should be aware of the passion and conviction of parents like myself. We will NOT support any candidate who supports Common Core and/or PARCC. We will NOT stop until both are a thing of the past.