Having a snowy day here in East Brunswick…
Commissioner Cerf has forwarded his resignation as the Commissioner of Education for New Jersey, ending three years of working on the Christie agenda to advance PARCC testing, control the teachers’ union, promote charter schools, and increase teacher/administrator accountability. It is unlikely that his replacement will do anything more than to continue these programs. Cerf will move to a position with Amplify Insight, a division of Amplify Inc., a company owned by News Corp, Rupert Murdoch‘s media enterprise, according to njspotlight.com.
Cerf was at the helm when deep cuts were made to school funding in NJ three years ago and has loudly announced both the successes and failures of the state system. Many districts have not yet recovered from the impact of those decisions and are now meeting new struggles with unfunded mandates proposed by the NJDOE. At the center of the controversy is the implementation of the Core Standards in Math and Literacy, which has driven the revision of curricula statewide with little money to support change.
Here’s more about Amplify Insight, a company that provides support for online testing: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/marketplacek12/2013/03/amplify_insight_wins_contract_from_common_core_testing_consortium.html
Additionally, the NJPSA Executive Director appeared before the State Assembly Education Committee this week, stressing the organization’s support for both the Core Standards and PARCC, but siting the need for “attention, time, resources, and financial support for professional development” to make real change happen.
For those of us with “boots on the ground,” the PARCC tests represent a challenge to educators that is worthy, but the computer-conducted assessments drive up costs and require both training for teachers and accommodations for students. Along with the STEM initiative, the costs for technology need to be addressed before these tests are given quality preparation, administration, and interpretation.
Finally, the African-American Read-In for New Jersey has grown to include a variety of contemporary authors and genre, including a good deal of nonfiction about the African-American experience, especially during the Harlem Renaissance. In my district, we had K-12 participation in the AARI, as we have done for the past six years. A worthwhile and dynamic effort.
Enjoy the day off, NJ. Waiting for a nice, warm National Poetry Month in April! Our district will be visited by Dodge Teaching Artists. http://www.grdodge.org/
Keep reading and writing,