By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
10% is 10% too high, Save Jerseyans, according to the New Jersey Education Association.
On Tuesday, the NJEA offered a mixed response to a letter addressed to Commissioner of Education David Hespe from Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Education Committee Chair Teresa Ruiz; the legislative leaders, seeking to appease the powerful union, are asking the Christie Administration to keep students’ scores on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) as a 10% metric for the purposes of evaluating teachers.
“The percentage that counted for teacher evaluation was decreased to 10% through legislative leadership and department regulations,” the legislators explained in their letter. “This decrease showed a good faith effort to allow schools and teachers to adjust to the new statewide assessment over three years. We, as Legislators, always want to take a measured approach to policy. Teachers are the most important individuals when it comes to a child’s educational experience and we must ensure that we are taking a responsible approach.”
NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer was thankful but not impressed.
“NJEA appreciates Senator Sweeney’s and Senator Ruiz’s acknowledgment that the stakes for PARCC should not be raised next year,” he began in a statement. “However, we still strongly support legislation placing a moratorium on all use of PARCC results for at least three years. Parents and educators alike are clearly very troubled by PARCC, and for good reason. We call on the Senate to pass all four bipartisan PARCC bills that have already passed the Assembly by overwhelming margins. Parents, students and educators deserve to know that legislators have heard them and are willing to act on their behalf. Passing those four bills is an important first step.”
Concerns over the test itself, the equity of its impact on teachers (see above), and a spooky spying scandal have eroded public confidence in the test, but any attempted changes to the status quo are likely to draw strong opposition from the Governor himself who recently warned that a growing number of PARCC opt-outs by parents on behalf of their kids (14% of 11th graders and growing) could result in higher taxes to compensate for lost aid.