Christie can’t afford to ignore PARCC spying scandal

By Alyssa Lafage | The Save Jersey Blog

There has been steadily growing concern about the impact PARCC testing will have on education in New Jersey, Save Jerseyans. Local groups such as the Concerned Citizens of New Jersey have been working diligently to educate and alert New Jersey parents, teachers and students of the problems with Common Core, focusing not only on the insufficiency of standardized tests in determining a student’s knowledge, but that through these tests, student privacy is at risk.

Those concerns were validated earlier this week when former Start Ledger reporter Bob Braun shed light on the actions of Pearson, a PARCC test provider, and the company’s interactions with the NJDOE.

Braun reported that Pearson is monitoring New Jersey kids’ social media accounts and reporting their findings to the NJDOE. According to The Washington Post, a spokesperson for Pearson confirmed that the company is monitoring the internet for test questions being posted publicly. One Republican legislator is now demanding an investigation.

key holePearson has millions of dollars riding on the success of the PARCC tests in New Jersey alone, so an attempt to maintain the integrity of the test and their intellectual property isn’t extraordinary. But what is troubling is the subsequent move by NJDOE to do Pearson’s bidding by hunting down and disciplining students locally.

Activist Jan Lenox of CCNJ did not seem surprised by the news and told Save Jersey that all of this points to a larger issue of privacy in standardized testing, something that officials are reluctant to acknowledge:

“At a Senate Education Committee meeting last Thursday, Commissioner Hespe was asked by a Senator about student data sharing. He and Bari Erlichson both insisted that no one should be concerned with student privacy issues. That’s clearly not the case.”

Lenox’s group has Common Core legislation pending in the State Senate that addresses PARCC testing which they plan to continue to push. S2154 was set aside last summer after Governor Christie issued an executive order which created a commission to review PARCC tests.

Read more about the ongoing fight against Common Core in New Jersey here.

Lenox hopes that the recent buzz about PARCC testing will stimulate more conversation about education in the state and what she calls a detriment to educational freedom, and privacy rights. She said that her group, along with others in the state, are mobilizing to work together in new ways and are more motivated now than ever.

“We have partnered with many groups throughout the state. We had a group leaders meeting just last week. This was our second meeting and seven counties were represented, including Cape May, Salem, Cumberland, Monmouth, Passaic, Somerset and Morris. All groups have been lobbying their districts and county representatives continually, and are keeping the pressure on.”

Earlier this month at a town hall meeting in Fairlawn, Governor Christie was asked if his “grave concerns” about Common Core extended to the PARCC testing, to which he essentially said “no.”

“When the results come back, I may have grave concerns about PARCC. I’m not yet concerned, but I am aware. Let’s wait for the statistics to come in.”

While the Gov might not be concerned with the educational impact of PARCC tests just yet, he should be concerned with the optics of his Department of Education working so closely with Pearson to abuse the privacy rights of New Jersey students.

8 thoughts on “Christie can’t afford to ignore PARCC spying scandal

  1. @Christopher Yes, when the company collects the data, turns it over to the government AND demands discipline.

  2. It amazes me how after all the hearings, and public debate from concerned ,well informed, and educated parents, teachers, and educators, that they refuse to discuss the many many problems that exist in the Common Core curriculum and the PARCC test that aligns with it. It is all just dismissed or ignored. Then to add insult to injury, Christie insults the intelligence of the very same people, and so does Hespe. Then making matters worse, instead of addressing the problems, they turn to the state run media and forums to push disinformation on the public who are not as informed. Talk about signing his own political death sentence? Not too smart is he? Or as usual, it all about the money, and what does that say about his work ethic? Is he that uninformed about this issue, as tens of thousands of NJ students and parents are in full blown civil disobedience in his own state? Seems to me he is living in Presidential fantasyland. Just another Big Government Prgressive and crony capitalist. If he really cared about the people of NJ, he would sit down roll up his sleeves and get to work. Just a big empty barrel that only makes a loud noise. He can blame the Democrats all he wants, but how can you get what you want when you are never in Trenton trying to work with them. It did not stop Reagan.But then again, you have to stop fundraising and stay in NJ. I know, such an inconvience.

  3. I concur. Posting to Facebook and/or Twitter is public unless they marked posts private. While it might be ‘creepy’ for them to do it it isn’t illegal nor would it be wrong to make sure questions are not being shared.

    I think the PARCC is bunk but this thing is silly.

  4. You wrote “…they refuse to discuss the many many problems that exist in the Common Core curriculum and the PARCC test “.

    I hate to break this to you but your post never discussed the “many many” problems either.

    Later on you wrote: “Just a big empty barrel that only makes a loud noise”.

    You also spent a good deal of time labeling Christie “Big Government Prgressive and crony capitalist.”

    I hate to break this to you again but all you did was make loud noise. You didn’t post one thing wrong with the PARCC test and all you really did was throw and sling mud.

    It would be funny if you weren’t really serious.

  5. That’s not the issue. The student divulged nothing of substance but Pearson saw fit to demand the NJ DOE to track down and discipline the student for something trivial done AFTER the test and off school grounds. This is a foreign owned private company giving orders to NJ public officials to enforce a gag order of dubious legality.
    I can’t imagine how anyone thinks this is acceptable.

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