NJEA ads target standardized tests

Parents, teachers push back hard on PARCC

Published on Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The statewide chorus of parents and educators speaking out against high-stakes standardized testing in New Jersey is growing louder.

Today, NJEA launched a six-week TV and web ad campaign featuring parents and teachers discussing their concerns with the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) tests, which all students in grades 3-11 will take beginning March 1.

The campaign’s first four 30-second spots show candid conversations among parents and teachers about the negative impact of PARCC testing on students, school budgets, programs, curricula, and instruction.

“Parents are fed up, and they’re ready to speak up,” said NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer.  “This ad campaign gives parents and teachers a voice in a debate that’s been dominated for too long by people with no connection to what’s really happening in classrooms today.”

The ads direct parents, educators and other public education supporters to njkidsandfamilies.org, a website providing information about high-stakes standardized tests; links to allow parents and the public to “take the PARCC” to understand its many flaws; and how to connect with others who share their views.

Last fall, NJEA conducted focus groups of parents, who talked about how spending on PARCC is causing program cuts; about the amount of “teaching to the test” their children are experiencing; about the narrowing of curricula to allow more test drilling in language arts and math; and about the unprecedented stress parents and their children are experiencing because of high-stakes standardized tests.

Based on those focus groups, NJEA worked with other stakeholders – including Save Our Schools New Jersey, an all-volunteer organization which represents over 23,000 parents and public education supporters – on polls of parents and voters, which were completed in December.

Those polls showed overwhelming support for:

  • Passing a legislated “Bill of Rights” that provides full transparency on the frequency, costs, and impact of high-stakes standardized testing;
  • Limiting the number of hours spent on standardized testing, test preparation, and test drilling;
  • Requiring testing companies to report their profits and their political contributions;
  • Giving parents the right to refuse letting their children take the PARCC (“opt-out”); and
  • Delaying any high-stakes decisions based on PARCC tests until their results and impact can be studied.

“We brought parents and teachers together for two full days of discussion,” said Steinhauer, “and these ads give a glimpse into their concerns with what high-stakes standardized testing is doing to our children, their education, and the very future of public education.”

For More Information, Contact:

Steve Wollmer, Director of Communications
(O) 609-599-4561, ext. 2311; (C) 609-731-8995

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