Members Discussed Controversial Standardized Test as Part of Budget Committee Review of FY 2016 Budget
(TRENTON) — Assembly Budget Committee Members John F. McKeon (D-Essex/Morris) and Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Essex) issued a multimedia package Thursday in which they discuss their continuing concerns over the implementation of the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) standardized test in New Jersey’s schools.
The PARCC is replacing the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge and was administered to all New Jersey students in grades 3-11 last month.
The multimedia package consists of the members discussing their concerns over PARCC implementation and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of comments from the members is appended below:
Assemblyman John F. McKeon (D-Essex), Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair:
“PARCC testing, in my view, is the number one priority to discuss with the commissioner today. There’s been standardized testing for a long period of time but for the first time, we’re tying in the testing of the children to teacher performance, and that’s got everybody in a whole different mindset — teaching to the test.
“Our kids absolutely deserve the best teachers, but doing it through this test is just ill conceived. There’s too much pressure on the kid; it’s got a chilling effect on the education and the best interest of the student; and we can do better.”
Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Essex):
“So, I’m not against standardized tests; my only concern with how PARCC was rolled out is I think that the administration should have been up front in giving a lot of the information and I think really focusing on how important it is to have some sort of evaluation of how our kids are doing.
“When we’re competing now worldwide against China, against Europe, my concern is moving forward, if we’re going to continue with PARCC, how is it that we are going to fix some of the glitches that happened? And if those glitches are going to be very costly, what is it that we need to do in thinking outside of the box to fix them?”
“We have a five-year, $100 million contract with an outside vendor. I’m not so certain that that’s anything other than a money grab, as opposed to in the best interest of evaluating our teachers and our students. So that’s what I’m very interested in discussing.
“Personally, I’ve never been a big standardized test person. You know, I don’t know if they’re a great forbearer of success. So, that’s a whole different philosophical question. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that we have one of the best public education systems in the country, and we’re throwing the baby out with the bath water.
“For the purpose that they’d be using [PARCC] here, I think it’s ill conceived, it’s expensive and we need to change.”