New Jersey Senate to Vote Thursday on Slowdown of Common Core

Jul 9, 2014 by

The New Jersey state Senate will vote Thursday on a bill that establishes a task force to study the Common Core standards, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), and the use of student test scores on the Common Core-aligned assessments for evaluating teachers’ performance.

Though Gov. Chris Christie (R) is believed to be unlikely to sign the measure, A3081, the Asbury Park Press reports that Christie has indicated he will make an announcement about the Common Core standards and PARCC, such as the possibility of an executive order that would make changes to the standards and its aligned testing, sometime soon.

The bill received wide approval in the Assembly on June 16 by a vote of 72-4.

According to the bill, PARCC assessments cannot be used as either a high school graduation requirement or other student accountability measure for at least two years or longer if the Education Review Task Force’s final report is not completed within the year it is administered. In addition, the legislation states that student’s test scores on PARCC assessments cannot be used for at least two years as part of a teacher’s or principal’s performance evaluation.

The bill also provides that school districts would have the option of administering the PARCC assessments online, in paper-and-pencil format, or a combination of the two methods, during the next two school years.

The Education Review Task Force would have 15 members, including acting Education Commissioner David Hespe, or his designee, and eight members who would be recommended by the following stakeholders: the American Federation of Teachers New Jersey; the New Jersey Association of School Administrators; the New Jersey Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; the New Jersey Council of County Vocation Schools; the New Jersey Education Association; the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association; the New Jersey School Boards Association; and the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network.

Additionally, state Senate president Stephen Sweeney (D) and state Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D) would each appoint three public members to the task force, including a parent or guardian of a student enrolled in a state public school and one expert each in English/Language Arts and math instruction and curriculum.

An editorial in Newsworks cites the Democrat-controlled New Jersey Senate’s original decision to postpone the vote on the bill as ostensibly “a move to give Christie an opportunity to put forward his promised compromise, likely to be a state regulation or an executive order – or both.”

According to the editorial, however, “More likely, the Democratically-controlled Senate is elated at the opportunity to put Christie in a real jam.”

Parental approval of the Common Core standards has plummeted, and many of the key Republicans who are considered potential 2016 presidential nominees have openly declared opposition to the controversial standards.

As the Newsworks editorial states:

Thus, Christie is faced with a dilemma: should he stand firm on his long record of advocating for higher academic standards for students (the Common Core) and empirical measurements of effectiveness for teachers (PARCC)? Or should he join his Republican brethren by opposing “top down” initiatives and tossing his well-documented commitments to standards and accountability in the trash heap?

The Education Review Task Force would also be charged with examining the costs of implementing the Common Core standards and the PARCC tests, as well as alternatives to high-stakes testing.

by Education News
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via New Jersey Senate to Vote Thursday on Slowdown of Common Core.

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