Phil Murphy, the Governor of New Jersey, is keeping his campaign promise to parents, students, and educators, according to a news article just posted by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA; see here). As per the New Jersey Commissioner of Education – Dr. Lamont Repollet, who was a classroom teacher himself — throughout New Jersey, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test scores will now account for just 5% of a teacher’s evaluation, which is down from 30% as mandated for approxunatelt five years prior by both Murphy’s and Repollet’s predecessors.
Alas, the New Jersey Department of Education and the Murphy administration have “shown their respect for the research.” Because state law continues to require that standardized test scores play some role in teacher evaluation, a decrease to 5% is a victory, perhaps with a revocation of this law forthcoming.
“Today’s announcement is another step by Gov. Murphy toward keeping a campaign promise to rid New Jersey’s public schools of the scourge of high-stakes testing. While tens of thousands of families across the state have already refused to subject their children to PARCC, schools are still required to administer it and educators are still subject to its arbitrary effects on their evaluation. By dramatically lowering the stakes for the test, Murphy is making it possible for educators and students alike to focus more time and attention on real teaching and learning.” Indeed, “this is a victory of policy over politics, powered by parents and educators.”
Way to go New Jersey!
I am so excited to read about this win. High stakes testing pushed me out of secondary education years ago. I wasn’t teaching a core class at the time, but test scores still made up a huge percentage of my evaluation score. It was so frustrating. Thank you for being a voice of reason and advocating against high stakes testing.
This change to the school the system, I feel is great for the teacher evaluation system. So much pressure is carried on the shoulders of teachers and to be evaluated on such a large portion on test score just does not seem completely fair. Yes, teachers play an important role in preparing their students for tests, but there is just more than that, that weighs in on the testing.
I miss New Jersey so much. I am a product of New Jersey’s amazing public school system. I’m now an 8th grade science teacher in Florida, and I’m so fed up with the way teachers are evaluated down here. Students are not cattle (VAM scores were originally created for agriculture; research it yourself if you don’t believe me). 70% of Florida teachers “earn” a VAM score based on a subject that they do not teach and/or students whom they do not teach. Many “earn” a VAM score that is simply a representative of their school’s average.
It seems Tallahassee is fighting hard to keep highly effective teachers out of turnaround schools. Florida’s unelected bureaucrats are making a push to have every student educated in a charter school. As I see it, I have one of two options. I either run for office to try to fix this backward system or I run home to New Jersey where the legislators are competent.
Florida already pays their teachers next to nothing, and to add insult to injury, highly effective teachers are being fired for low VAM scores. Entire grade levels are being taught by permanent substitutes as low VAM scores have forced principals to fire teachers that they’ve personally deemed to be highly effective. The entire concept of VAM is ridiculous; I’m glad that New Jersey recognized this. I know so many teachers who have left Florida to teach in states that treat students and educators like people and not cows. I really do want to stay here and fight for what’s right. I just don’t know if I have the energy.