QOD: Newark Superintendent Chris Cerf: "It's a Travesty" that a High School Diploma Doesn't Designate Readiness

From an interview on Friday with NJTV's Mary Alice Williams:

Cerf: I very much support the decision of the state and of the governor to stick with the PARCC test. It starts with having high, clear standards. It is a travesty that so many students graduate from high school, have the diploma in hand and when they go on to the next phase of life, college in particular, they need to take remedial courses. It is not the case that having a high school diploma is equivalent to being ready for success, so having high standards is important. If you are going to have high standards you have to measure whether those standards are being met and the PARCC does that better than any other test that was ever created.

Williams: But the PARCC testing this year the scores were just abysmal.

Cerf: Well, they were up, they were up considerably. In Newark, for example, in reading they were up by over 6 percent, which is 6 percentile points, which is a very significant increase. Remember the graduation requirement does not apply at the moment. It will first apply to students who are currently seventh graders.

Williams: So you’re hoping that by setting these standards high, and saying this will be a requirement for graduation, the kids will rise to that level by 2021?

Cerf: You really do have to set the standards high, otherwise you have a race to the bottom and that’s what we saw under the old regime. They define proficiency in such a low way that it had essentially had no meaning. Common core standards and the PARCC are a step in the direction of correcting that.