Author Archive: Marie Corfield

Gov. Christie’s pension battle: “Weird NJ”

Cross-posted with Marie Corfield. Promoted by Rosi.

Governor/Presidential Candidate Christie tours the country touting bipartisan pension and health benefits reform as the signature accomplishment of his administration. Part of that reform was his legal obligation to make regularly scheduled contributions in order to get the system off life support. (See here for CliffsNotes on the long history of the state’s underfunding of the system.)

Today, the Supreme Court of New Jersey will hear arguments in the ongoing pension battle between the state’s public employee unions and the Christie administration because the governor has decided he can’t come up with the full, legally obligated payments that he signed into law.  

More PARCC drivel from the Star Ledger

Cross-posted from my blog, Marie Corfield. Promoted by Rosi.

Oh my! The NJ DOE shill Star Ledger editorial board is at it again. This weekend’s propaganda piece is about Education Commissioner Hespe’s proposed punishments for school districts that don’t hit the 95% participation rate on PARCC, the magical test that can determine if your third grader will get into the college of their choice (it just won’t help you pay for it).

The exam is like an MRI for education. It can tell us where kids are failing and help diagnose the problem, even when it’s hidden in an otherwise well-performing district. But because parents in more affluent communities have become increasingly suspicious of the state test itself – not unlike the overwrought side-eye given to childhood vaccines – what’s now at risk is funding for kids who are most vulnerable.

WHAT?! “An MRI for education”? Vaccine refusers? Government more concerned about students not taking a deeply flawed and harmful test than they are about children not getting life-saving vaccinations? Did somebody put Crazy in the water?! I’m sorry, please excuse me while I clean up the coffee I just spit out, and adjust the antenna on the tin foil hat Tom Moran accuses me of wearing. I’ve simply got to find the comedy channel source of his claim.

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The Star Ledger’s Tom Moran is absolutely right!

Meant to feature this a couple days ago, but breaking news got in our way. From our friend Marie Corfield, cross-posted with her blog – Rosi.

Last week broke some kind of record. The Star Ledger started the week with a front page expose on the cost of the PARCC exam (no one really knows), and then, not one, not two, but three pieces of ‘reformy’ education propaganda appeared on its op-ed page.

Education blogger Stephen Danley made mincemeat of the third one even before it hit the presses. More Camden schools are being closed and turned over to charters, and the good people of that city have no say because the Camden Advisory Board of Education is “accountable to one group, and one group only: our children.” Lucky for them because if they were accountable to the taxpayers, things would be very different. Please read and share Stephen’s excellent piece. We must continue to expose the denial of democracy in that city.

But back to the first two…

Jersey Jazzman, Ani McHugh and I have called out Tom Moran on his blind faith in education ‘reform’ numerous times, but for whatever reason, he refuses to take off his rose-colored glasses. So, I am throwing in the towel. I surrender! Tom Moran is absolutely right. “This hysteria about the PARCC exam needs to stop.” This test will save humanity! Corporations, hedge fund managers and billionaires really are altruistically trying to save America’s public schools (the ones their kids don’t attend). There is no profit-making going on. It’s all a conspiracy theory. We’re all ‘tin foil hat’ crazies. Dear God, how could I not have known?

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WAKE UP, PEOPLE! THERE IS NO CONSPIRACY!

Can God save the children from #PARCC?

The prolific Diane Ravitch picked this up as well, asking her national readers if they had anything to top it. Promoted by Rosi. Cross-posted with Marie Corfield

This is the worst PARCC story I’ve heard:

A friend of mine who lives in one of New Jersey’s many wealthy suburbs with excellent schools and parents who routinely hire tutors for their children as early as first grade was with her daughter at a children’s Stations of the Cross event at her church.

The 14 Stations of the Cross are specific locations or ‘stations’ throughout the nave of a church where small sculptures or paintings depict the Passion of Christ starting with his condemnation to death and ending with his body being placed in the tomb. To ‘do the stations’ one moves through them chronologically, praying or reflecting at each stop. Every Catholic religious instruction program teaches children how to do this during Lent.

In this particular program hands-on activities were set up at each station. Children could write notes about any number of things as they related to the stations: people they needed to forgive; people from whom they needed forgiveness; things for which they were sorry; things they wanted to do better; etc.  

My #PARCC refusal letter

A Central NJ parent I know, has already written and sent a letter like this one. But she also asked her own children to write an essay to their principals explaining their own reasons why they didn’t want to participate in the tests. Her 7th-grader – Anna, 13 – concluded her essay with this: “PARCC is a waste of time for parents’ worried minds, students’ exhausted brains and teachers’ valuable time.” – Rosi

Cross-posted with Marie Corfield.


Readers, feel free to modify this letter to suit your needs.

February 25, 2015

Dear ——————,

We are writing to inform you that, as per our parental rights under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, we are refusing to allow our daughter, ————-, to sit for the PARCC PBA and EOY.  

12 public education facts ‘reformers’ don’t want you to know

Cross-posted with Marie Corfield. Promoted by Rosi.

In two previous posts (here, here), I discussed the ways education ‘reformers’ use savvy advertising and marketing to sell the unsuspecting public the notion that US schools are failing, teachers are ‘bad’ and unions are akin to The Walking Dead.

How many of you have heard radio commercials for the math tutoring center, Mathnazium? For the record, I know nothing about this company. I’m not claiming they do anything other than tutor students in math. They may very well be doing an excellent job. If that’s the case, more power to them. But, they are a business looking to make a profit, so their advertising has to appeal to parental fears, and make promises of success. I don’t have an audio clip of their NY market radio spots, but the ones I’ve heard make simplistic claims about US math PISA scores-similar to the graphic below-to make it sound like our schools are failing kids in math education.

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The selling of #CCRAP

Cross-posted with Marie Corfield. Promoted by Rosi.

In a previous post I compared the selling of PARCC to an as-seen-on-TV gizmo that promises to make your life perfect for only “3 easy payments of $19.95.” But unlike the Veg-O-Matic, frustrated, white suburban moms, and parents of all colors in all locales, have quickly discovered that the cost of the PARCC and its conjoined twin, CCSS, is anything but easy. They’re standing up and fighting back in droves. And that doesn’t sit well with the folks who market and sell this hokum. So, as Anthony Cody recently reported, somebody created an easy-to-use “How to Talk About Testing” ad campaign guide complete with a cute little bunny rabbit graphic and a classroom-friendly layout and fonts. I guess they figure if they treat parents like second graders, all will be well.

I wonder how many “easy payments of $19.95” this cost? And who created it? And who it’s being sent to?

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12 questions every parent must ask about the #PARCC

Cross-posted with Marie Corfield. Promoted by Rosi.

Parents, print this out and bring it with you next time you meet with representatives from the NJ State Board of Education, the NJ DOE, or any administrator anywhere who tries to tell you this test is a magic bullet:

(1)  The reading level of some of the language arts test questions has been found to be several grades above the tested grade. How is a child who cannot read at that grade level and can’t understand the text or the test questions expected to complete the test?

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This week in NJ ed ‘reform’: The truth is out there

Cross-posted with Marie Corfield.

This was quite a week in the battle over public education in the Garden State: Gov. Christie’s testing study commission heard mountains of testimony from concerned parents and citizens in three different venues; educators continued to host parent Take the PARCC nights; NJEA released a bombshell new poll showing massive numbers of NJ parents oppose the test; and NJ101.5 capped several days of PARCC discussion with a debate over the test.

Here are my thoughts:

A more perfect-er life for only $19.95

2000px-As_seen_on_TV.svgMy daughter and I have a running joke: All the world’s problems can be solved for only 3 easy payments of $19.95. If we just went out and purchased every single as-seen-on-TV product, our lives would be perfect.

That’s what ed ‘reformers’ want us to believe about the PARCC test. Just like the PedEgg, the Bacon Bowl and the Uro Club, PARCC promises to magically transform your child’s entire life from dull to dazzling-with just 10 easy hours of testing! No more struggles with ‘bad’ teachers who lazily sit around waiting to collect their pensions. PARCC will send them packing. White suburban moms will magically accept that their kids really aren’t brilliant when they see those crappy test scores. But wait! Call now, and Pearson will upgrade your flunkie kid’s educational experience with all sorts of Common Core/PARCC aligned learning materials guaranteed to make them College and Career Ready! (Just pay the cost of cuts to arts and foreign language programs.)

NJ parents say #PARCC stinks like #CCRAP!

promoted by Rosi

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Which stinks more?

Our garbage dumps or the PARCC Test? Credit: NJ Spotlight

Four years ago I attended the very first Parents Across America meeting in New York City where I heard Diane Ravitch, Leonie Haimson, Karran Harper Royal, Andrea Merida, Rita Solnet, Julie Woestehoff, Mark Mishler and several other passionate and dedicated parents from all across the country speak about what was then a young but rapidly growing movement. At the time, Gov. Christie was at the height of teacher bashing, and many educators were wandering around like deer in the headlights. I remember Diane saying that ultimately nothing would change unless and until parents led the charge.

And she was right.

I expected it to happen over night. The destruction of public education was completely obvious not only to me, but rank-and-file education professionals all across the country, not to mention education researchers and scholars. Surely if parents could just see…

Ah, but change doesn’t happen in a New York minute even if you live right next door. Steering this suburban ship away from the rhetoric and privatization schemes of education ‘reform’ required a lot more than teacher voices.

It required parents to stop, look and listen: