Tag Archives: parent power

“The Other PARCC” film released today at 5pm

 

Dear Friends,

It’s finally happening!

RefuseFilm

 

Parents, teachers, students, activists, and community members gathered on this snowy afternoon in a room filled to capacity, to celebrate the premiere of a short film by Michael Elliot. The film was made with support from Montclair Cares About Schools and the collaborative efforts of too many people to name here right now.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Save Our Schools New Jersey for their tireless advocacy on behalf of our public schools and their incredible information  and handouts which were distributed at the event.

A special mention must go to the remarkable students  from the Newark Students Union. If only everyone would listen to them! Or the teachers, as in this brave and incredible letter from the teachers at Science Park High School in Newark, who refer to the PARCC as “30 Days of Destruction,” via Bob Braun’s Ledger.

And  of course, we thank Mr. Elliott for his artistry, vision, and extraordinary efforts to create this film for release on the eve of the PARCC.

We are united in our mission and vision to reclaim public education for all children.

Many people in the room this afternoon are refusing the PARCC, here in Montclair, Newark, Paterson, and all over the state. New Jersey begins PARCC testing tomorrow, Monday, March 2.

At 5pm today,  The Other PARCC: Parents Advocating Refusal on High Stakes Testing, was released  via this link.

Please watch and share widely.

Bloggers across New Jersey are also posting this and we expect it to also be posted nationally.

Here are two blogs by amazing and inspiring women we’re so proud to know as fellow activists and friends. Both  are featured in the film:

One is by The Education Activist, Melissa Katz:

One is by The Edu-Sage’s Companion, Awo Okaikor Aryee-Price:

Okaikor

So much work to do. We go forward.

Warmest wishes,

All of us at Montclair Voices

"Parent Power!" by Elana Halberstadt, 2015

“Parent Power!” by Elana Halberstadt, 2015

Parent Power Pushing Against the PARCC

Dear Readers,

Thank you and a warm welcome to our new subscribers!

The PARCC is coming up fast. Parents all over New Jersey are speaking up.

Parent activist and artist Elana Halberstadt created this drawing, “Parent Power!”

"Parent Power!" by Elana Halberstadt, 2015

“Parent Power!” by Elana Halberstadt, 2015

 

This image has been shared widely online, especially via Save Our Schools New Jersey Facebook post last week. As of this writing, it has been “liked” 183 times and shared 60 times. If you haven’t been to the SOSNJ website or Facebook page yet, go there! Excellent information updated daily, and some seriously awesome advocacy work by all volunteer members that will inspire you, give you hope, and move you to action.

Here’s a compelling letter in The Montclair Times, 2/19/2015, from Montclair parent and resident, Martha Evans:

The Montclair Times letter, by Martha Evans: “Parents: exercise right to refuse PARCC”

FEBRUARY 19, 2015    LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2015, 12:31 AM

Parents: exercise right to refuse PARCC

Controversy continues to escalate around the PARCC tests replacing NJASK — and for good reason.

People should pay close attention to why the vast majority of states planning to administer the PARCC have ultimately rejected it. Their reasons are the same ones we should all consider in deciding whether to subject our own children and teachers to these experimental new tests that lack credibility and unfairly discriminate.

The PARCC is designed to fail 60-70 percent of students — this has been borne out around the country, including among high achievers. While the scores won’t affect placement this year, make no mistake; that data will forever remain on the record of every child who takes the PARCC. Their scores will factor into teacher and school evaluations this year.

Superintendent Penny MacCormack has continued to repeat our state’s empty mantra — that the PARCC will provide more data than the NJASK ever did. This is simply not true. Teachers will never see the convoluted, developmentally inappropriate questions on the PARCC, let alone what students answered right or wrong.

With no diagnostic value, the PARCC will disrupt 12-14 days versus two for NJASK. At an estimated cost of $80 per student, Montclair will shell out roughly $350,000-$400,000. That’s excluding the district’s massive $2.1 million tech upgrades that went way over budget — and were made with no tech plan in place.

Despite MacCormack’s ongoing insistence to the contrary, last week’s report at the BOE meeting made it clear that Montclair schools are not tech-ready for the PARCC.

At the same meeting, our Board of Education put to rest Superintendent MacCormack’s persistent denial that families have the right to refuse the PARCC. Montclair joined 134 other districts and unanimously passed an official refusal policy. Every family should seriously consider using it.

Martha Evans

Montclair


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New Jersey parents and residents are waking up and pushing back against the PARCC in droves! Grassroots  Cares About Schools groups are continuing to form all over the state. And last week in neighboring Clifton, NJ, via the Clifton Journal,  families stood up to protest the PARCC at their local Board meeting.

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And, if you’re new to this conversation, or trying to get a deeper understanding of what’s going on, or just want to read a really excellent piece, Jersey Jazzman’s post offers an enlightening and comprehensive, spot-on overview of the state of public education affairs.

And what can you do?

The next Montclair BOE meeting is tomorrow, Monday, February 23, 2015. It promises to be a very interesting one in light of recent developments as reported in The Montclair Times  and Tap Into Montclair in the past few days:

Superintendent MacCormack resigned, and her Assistant, Matthew Frankel, has also resigned.

The MPS budget is showing a shortfall of $6M!

The MPS principals sent a letter /statement to the MBOE.

PrincipalsLetterPrincipalsLetter2

The public portion of the meeting is expected to begin at 7:30pm. Please check the MCAS fb page for updates. Come to speak or come to listen and show your support for our community. We are in this together. PARENT POWER! 

We hope to see many of you there!

Warmest wishes,

Montclair Voices

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video

Testimony in Trenton against PARCC: Parent, teacher and student power

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Dear Readers,

The turnout at the open testimony in Trenton, NJ yesterday was terrific!

Here’s a round up of a few articles, blog posts, and written and videotaped testimony that we’ve collected. You may also see more on the Montclair Cares About Schools or Save Our Schools New Jersey Facebook pages or via Montclair Education Matters blog.

Bloggers:

Sarah Tepper Blaine, Montclair parent
http://parentingthecore.com/2015/01/07/speaking-truth-and-democracy-to-new-jersey-state-board-of-education/

Colleen Daly Martinez, Montclair parent
http://whattodowiththekidsinmontclairnj.blogspot.com/2015/01/my-1715-testimony-at-nj-board-of.html?m=1

Marie Corfield
http://mcorfield.blogspot.com/2015/01/qotd-nj-boe-president-drops-bombshell.html

Students testimony:

Testimony from 10 year old:

And 2nd grade student Saige Price:

Press:

NJ105.com
http://nj1015.com/debate-over-new-jerseys-parcc-test/

NJ.com
http://www.nj.com/education/2015/01/parcc_exams_blasted_by_parents_teacher_students_at_open_forum.html#incart_river

NJ Spotlight
http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/15/01/07/anti-testing-turnout-puts-state-board-of-education-to-the-test/

Special Ed. parents, take note:

Testimony at Trenton yesterday from Allendale, NJ parent, Julie Larrea Borst:

It was a really good day at the State Board of Ed meeting. Some very good testimony provided by teachers, admins, students, and parents. Here’s mine:

7 January 2015
Good afternoon, my name is Julie Borst. I am a resident of Allendale and the parent of a special needs student who is currently a sophomore in an out of district placement at Pascack Hills HS in Montvale.
I am co-founder of Allendale Parents of Children with Special Needs; an organizer for both Save Our Schools-NJ and United Opt Out-NJ; a member of Ridgewood Cares About Schools; and a member of New Jersey BATs. My comments today are my own.
I am here to discuss the impact of standardized testing on students with disabilities. With the recent announcement of the PARCC exams as a graduation requirement, NJDOE and NJBOE have a responsibility to our most vulnerable students to provide an alternate path to graduation. The choice between PARCC, SAT and ACT is not an actual choice for students who are not performing at or even near grade level.
The continued mincing of words, “there is no ‘opt out’ available in NJ” is causing confusion for parents who are new to this process; and the statement is misleading. While the proper language is “refuse,” no parent should have to be faced with understanding that nuance. When a parent chooses to exercise their 14th Amendment rights, districts, NJDOE, and NJBOE should be supporting that decision, not having a play with words.
I urge you all to consider the “appropriateness” of standardized testing for these students. Is it appropriate to subject a student who educationally operates at a 5th grade level to 10th grade test? If that question was asked about a 5th grade student being required to take a 10th grade test, everyone would laugh and say it’s unthinkable. It’s absurd to even consider it. So why is that same logic not applied to our most vulnerable students?
I won’t even get into the absurdity of the “PARCC Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: (which states) Because a student’s disability may affect how well he or she does on the test, accommodations can be used to overcome or cancel the
effects of the disability…” It’s statements like this that make it impossible to take PARCC seriously.
Now, let’s presume there is no way out for SWDs taking PARCC in order to get a diploma. Then what? As a parent, my goal is to get my daughter as prepared as possible to enter the adult world as a functioning member of society. No standardized test going to help her become that person. Especially if there is no way for her to earn a diploma, the bare minimum needed to obtain a job.
There must be alternatives for PARCC and for graduation requirements. They must be offered in a timely and concise manner as this now affects this year’s juniors. Any alternatives, like portfolios, must be done in such a way as to not overtax teachers’ time. As of January 6, 2015, to the best of my knowledge, there has been no guidance for Special Services Teams on portfolios. We’re already four months into this school year and this is unacceptable.
There must be guidance on these issues and soon.
Thank you for your time.


 

This opinion piece (not part of Trenton testimony) on why the “reforms” are so hurtful:
http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/01/njs_education_reforms_are_more_hurtful_than_helpful_opinion.html#incart_river

Lastly, here’s a list of 12 reasons to oppose the PARCC from SOSNJ and which was published just before Christmas.

That’s it for now.

Stay warm, everyone!

All of us at Montclair Voices