We received this from a district parent who attended the PARCC Family Presentation at the George Inness Annex of MHS on 11/13/2014:
Gail Clarke, who led the PARCC Family Presentation, mentioned that the PARCC has been field-tested around the state and that the results were excellent. What she didn’t mention was that the results of these field tests were not released to the public – so we’ll just have to take her word that they were a success. The same way that we’ll have to take her word that, as she stated, teachers “won’t be teaching to the test” or filling up valuable class time with test prep (which, as we’re learning, is simply not true).
One of the slides in her presentation listed info about how the PARCC results will be used. Two of the ways in which they’ll be used were especially interesting:
- To assist teachers in supporting students
- To inform parents and students on progress towards “on track” college and career readiness
The first point makes no sense, since as Clarke stated, scores from the March and May tests won’t be shared with students/parents until September or October. How then can teachers “assist” and “support” their former students, who will be learning all new material in their next grade level? Also, it’s tough for teachers to “assist” and “support” students when they don’t have their students’ specific test results to refer to, since from what we’re learning, specific question-by-question PARCC results won’t be made available to teachers.
The second point is so vague and general, it’s laughable – and so perverse, it’s sickening. Which colleges in particular are being referenced, and which careers? And are we to believe we should be using the PARCC results to measure whether children in elementary and middle school – and even the first and second years of high school – are on a path that, unless corrected, will lead to lifelong failure and humiliation if their scores aren’t high enough?
To top off the non-transparent farce that was this presentation, questions needed to be pre-submitted by attendees. Those that were selected for answering were chosen based on whether they were critical of the PARCC, Central Office, the Board of Ed, or the NJDOE (or as Clarke said, “political”). If they were, they weren’t answered.
All in all, the presentation achieved Clarke’s goal of perpetrating the dishonesty of the NJDOE as well as silencing honest discussion from concerned parents about the PARCC.
P.S. Speaking of dishonesty and non-transparency, Clarke said that the PARCC would be downloaded when administered to students in order to avoid problems with online interruptions or connectivity difficulties. I learned from teachers that Clarke told them that the test would be administered live on the Internet. And Central Office wonders why they have a credibility problem.
This statement made by a teacher at the 11/17/2014 meeting and posted via Montclair Education Matters, offers an additional perspective.
Finally, concerning the PAARC standardized exams and the Core Curriculum Standards, I would like to quote Dr. Chris Tienken, Assoc. Prof. at Seton Hall University and co-author of ‘The School Reform Landscape: Fraud, Myth and Lies,’ who spoke recently at a Montclair Cares for Schools forum and said: “All these standardized reforms… rest on pillars of sand.” He further added that ‘one-size-fits-all curriculum standards’ seeks to homogenize education. “Local school boards have been reduced to state adopted polices.” And he added, “Testing is not learning. Test preparation is not teaching.”
The video of Dr. Chris Tienken’s remarks was posted on Montclair Cares About Schools’ Facebook page.
As we get ready for holidays,
we’re thankful: to you (for reading and sharing).
Thankful for brave parents and teachers who send us stories (keep ‘em coming).
Thankful to every one who speaks up and works for democracy and justice here and everywhere.
All of us at Montclair Voices