The New Jersey Board of Education Doubles Down on Stupid


The New Jersey Board of Education has voted to tie PARCC to high school graduation. This idea has been wildly unpopular, as has the assessment itself. The teachers’ union president came out in opposition. At least one local school board passed a resolution opposing it. I believe there have been more. They started the move toward using PARCC as a graduation requirement in April which will put a damper on the opt-out movement in the state.

The New York Times reports:

The New Jersey Board of Education voted on Wednesday to require high school students to pass tests aligned with contentious standards, even as other states have moved away from these assessments.

Beginning in 2021, in order to graduate, students will have to pass the Algebra 1 exam and the 10th-grade English exam given as part of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or Parcc, tests. This year, just 44 percent of students statewide passed that English exam and 41 percent passed Algebra 1.

Under the new rules, those who do not pass can still graduate if a portfolio review of other work is approved.

The Parcc test was one of two main assessments designed to align with the Common Core standards, a group of learning goals for students devised to ensure they were being adequately prepared for college. The standards were adopted across the country starting in 2010, encouraged by money from the Obama administration, but they have faced a strong backlash. Many states have stepped away from the tests, or from the standards altogether.

New Jersey is moving in the opposite direction.

It was stupid to adopt the assessment in the first place from a validation and fiduciary perspective, but leave it to New Jersey to double down on stupidity.