Plan delaying tests to evaluate teachers on hold in N.J. Senate

The New Jersey Senate has put off a vote on a measure delaying new standardized tests to evaluate teachers.

The “common core” of what students are expected to learn in English and math is intended to improve teaching standards and better prepare students, but opponents say there’s a rush to get it in place.

Darcie Cimarusti, representing the Highland Park Board of Education, told lawmakers Monday that judging teachers’ performance based on standardized tests can be dangerous.

“What it does is it penalizes teachers for teaching special-ed children or for teaching high-needs skills-fragile students across the state,” she said. “That’s not what we want to do. We want to lift up our teachers. We want our teachers to feel valued and appreciated, not just that their only value is based on how they can get a child to achieve on a test.”

Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Atlantic, said the Senate put off action to delay the new standards because of concerns that Gov. Chris Christie would veto the bill.

Christie is considering an executive order that would reduce the proportion of the teacher evaluations that are based on the standardized tests, Van Drew said.

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