This morning students started texting parents shortly after school began as they found out their scheduled PARCC testing was canceled due to a problem with technology from the multinational, multimillion dollar testing company Pearson. Pearson acknowledged the problem, down playing the massive inconvenience and stress put upon schools, as an issue they were addressing.
Districts scrambled to figure out how to rearrange the schedules of students whose schedules had been altered already to accommodate testing. Teachers scrambled to get their students back into classrooms. Hours of wasted time. No teaching. No learning. Schools at the mercy of Pearson.
Just how Pearson likes it.
And as this unfolded, Commissioner of Education Hespe appeared before the Assembly Budget Committee. His answer to questions about this massive Pearson failure was that he was trying to get details, and it was totally unacceptable. Like Pearson, he downplayed the massive inconvenience caused to hundreds of schools across the state. In fact he sounded a bit like spokesperson for Pearson.
Commissioner Hespe, pay attention: What is totally unacceptable is the use of New Jersey’s children as forced consumers of a flawed product. What is totally unacceptable is the diversion of millions of scarce education dollars for the purchase of computers used solely for tests provided through a multi-million dollar contract with Pearson as the company profits. What is totally unacceptable is that the Department of Education has led the charge in intimidating and bullying parents and students into taking the PARCC test when it is not required for graduation and does not inform instruction. What is totally unacceptable is that the NJDOE continues to force PARCC upon us despite all the evidence that it is a bad test, costing us millions and interfering with real teaching and learning.
Alaska opted out of all standardized testing this year. Who thinks New Jersey would do well to follow suit?