Wendell Steinhauer, president of the New Jersey Education Association, submitted an op/ed to NJ.com addressing the New Jersey Department of Education’s use of the PARCC assessment as a graduation requirement.
The problem with the NJDOE’s push to make the tests associated with thePartnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, a graduation requirement is much deeper than just a flawed process.
PARCC itself is a flawed assessment, and it should not be used as a graduation requirement this year, next year or ever.
PARCC disregards the work a student puts in over an entire academic career. Using it as a graduation requirement places more value on one test than on 12 years of learning, achievement and authentic, student-centered assessment.
Unlike teachers, PARCC cannot account for learning styles. Unlike teachers, PARCC cannot account for high-level critical thinking. And, unlike teachers, PARCC doesn’t know students, or understand what they have overcome, or recognize the intangible strengths that matter so much for future success. A standardized test can never replace great teachers. Making PARCC a graduation requirement would prioritize the mechanical judgment of that test over the professional judgment of the educators who actually work with and know their students.
Despite all the evidence against PARCC and the nationwide movement to abandon it, the DOE continues to foist this failed test onto our schools. Last year, more students refused the PARCC than any standardized test in the state’s history. How did the DOE react? It ignored parents’ concerns and pushed full-steam ahead. This year, PARCC had a serious technology failure that frustrated and confused students and families and deprived those students of even more learning time. What did the DOE do in the face of that failure? Nothing. That’s unacceptable.
The DOE has ignored parents, students and educators for too long. In the wake of thoughtful research-based criticism and passionate civil disobedience, we have seen no meaningful movement on this issue. That is evidence that PARCC is a political issue, not an educational one. That is why it is up to families, educators, and legislators who are willing to listen, to continue this fight in the political arena.