It’s time to completely boycott the PARCC tests
School is back in session all over Mercer County and beyond, and with it, comes my renewed call to take a dump on the PARCC tests. A big stinker. Right on it. Just a big ol’ steamer.
Now yes - this fecal call is indeed juvenile in nature and schoolyard scatology at its most base, but really, what choice have the powersthat-be left us?
And while I’m speaking metaphorically, the call is real: Every single New Jersey parent should boycott the PARCC test and not let their kids take it. It’s the only recourse for a system that’s running over taxpayers, students and teachers alike.
Led by Gov. Chris Christie and the recently stepped down Chief Dunce of the Division of Education David Hespe, the PARCC tests have grown from “mild annoyance” to “state sanctioned terrorism” over the summer months.
Now yes - this “state sanctioned terrorism” business is hyperbolic in nature and schoolyard scare tactics at its most base, but really, what choice have the powers-that-be left us?
In case you were busy enjoying your summer, here’s the two items on the PARCC agenda you need to get up to speed on …
1) As of 2021, high school students will need to pass the PARCC tests in order to get their diploma. As of now, only 44 percent of students pass the English part of the exam, and only 41 percent pass the math. Now I’m no math wizard, but as of now, it appears as if 59 percent of New Jersey high school students would not be receiving their diplomas if the rules applied this year. This seems … stupid. (Now yes, calling something “stupid” is indeed … etc. etc.)
2) How students do on the PARCC tests will now account for up to 30 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. All those worries about “teaching to the test” are no longer worries. If you’re a teacher, and 30 percent of your evaluation is tied to the PARCC test, you don’t have a choice but to do whatever you can to get your students to pass.
These two items taken together have made the PARCC tests public school enemy number one.
Understand: Through private conversation, taking calls on NJ101.5, emails, Facebook posts, and countless other interactions, I’ve yet to talk to one student, parent, teacher or administrator who thinks PARCC tests - especially when tied to graduation requirements and teacher evaluations — are a good thing. They are universally loathed.
And when you get down to it, it’s damn near un-American.
Dig it: We pay taxes to fund the schools. We don’t like the PARCC tests. The teachers, who are paid through our taxes, don’t like the tests. The administrators don’t like the test. The students sure as hell don’t like the test. And yet, from up on high, we aren’t given a choice in the matter. Seems completely backward.
Is there room for standardized tests in our schools? Of course. They have their place, as a barometer of sorts to see how students are performing. A tool to be used. Like a hammer when you’re constructing a house. It shouldn’t be the whole house.
Far as I can see, there’s only one remedy, and that’s to stand up and pull your kids out of school on PARCC testing days. Take them to a museum. Take them on a stroll of New York’s streets. Take them rafting. Take them anywhere. They’re bound to learn more.
And so, if my idea takes hold - we all boycott PARCC - then what choice would be left to the powers-that-be than to scale back its ridiculous demands on our kids and our teachers.
Remember - we’re the ones paying for this. We should have the final say.