Responding to all the controversy over the PARCC exams, New Jersey lawmakers want to make some changes in how the state administers the standardized tests.
Testifying before the state Senate Education Committee, eighth-grader Jessica Rodgers said the South Brunswick School District superintendent allowed students who opted out of the PARCC exams to read.
“But there was a catch,” she said. “We had to read what the district wanted us to read. We were not allowed to read our literature books. So, for example I had to read a book on apes and ‘Fashion Throughout the Years’ instead of my assigned literature book, ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.'”
One measure advanced Monday by the Senate panel urges New Jersey’s education chief to develop guidelines on alternative arrangements for students who refuse to take the test.
During the recent round of testing, about 50,000 of New Jersey’s 1.37 million public school students did not take the tests. Many parents objected to the tests because they took away from classroom time.
Another bill would prohibit the state from withholding funding for school districts with high PARCC opt-out rates.
New Jersey Education Association president Wendell Steinhauer also urged lawmakers to pass the bill preventing the state Education Department from withholding state aid based on the number of students who refuse to take the PARCC tests.
“There’s no justification for the department to use threats and intimidation against parents and students,” he said. “No political appointee should be allowed to subvert the intention of the legislature to fund our public schools.”
Montclair resident Sarah Blaine also voiced support for that bill