It’s Not Time for New Jersey to Walk Away from PARCC


New Jersey officials should rethink “unproven” PARCC assessments because “illegal underfunding” will prevent the proper administration and maintenance of the exams, argues Corey Teague, a former Paterson School Board member, on

“How can we be legally forced to pass a test without the fundamental tools necessary to even maintain it? That is just like asking us to build a house without a foundation,” Teague writes.

Contrary to Teague’s claims, high-quality assessments provide families and teachers with accurate information about how well their children are progressing towards college- and career-readiness.

Now is not the time for states like New Jersey to walk away from a high-quality assessment like PARCC.

“States are finally measuring to levels that reflect what students need to know and be able to do to succeed in college,” Karen Nussle wrote last year. “For parents and educators, that should come as a welcome change.”

A report by Achieve this year found more than half of states began closing their “Honesty Gaps”—the discrepancies between state-reported proficiency rates and those identified by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. New Jersey made “significant progress,” the Honesty Gap analysis notes, in large part by implementing challenging student assessments.

A Harvard University study comes to the same conclusion. “The last two years have witnessed the largest jump in state standards since they were established as part of the federal accountability program…In short, the Common Core consortium has achieved one of its key policy objectives: the raising of state proficiency standards throughout much of the United States.”

“[States] should really be commended for starting to be more transparent with parents and educators about how their kids are doing,” explains Sandra Boyd, chief operating officer for Achieve. “It really is the first step in improving outcomes.”

New Jersey families should be reluctant to go back on that progress. As Mike Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, wrote in USA Today: “Parents should resist the siren song of those who want to use this moment of truth to attack the Common Core or the associated tests. They may not be perfect, but they are finally giving parents, educators and taxpayers an honest assessment of how our students are doing.”