Update on N.J. Senate Bill to Delay PARCC Testing

Yesterday NJ Spotlight published my column about the politics behind Senate bill 2154, which would establish an "Education Task Force" and delay NJ's implementation of teacher evaluations informed by student growth via the PARCC assessments, the accountability instrument aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Today John Mooney has an update on the status of this bill, which has been the subject of a variety of rumors regarding its prognosis:
The most-closely watched was a bill that would delay the use of new state testing in the evaluation of teachers and schools. Support for the bill gained momentum in the last couple of weeks, and the state Senate appeared poised to pass it yesterday and move it to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk.

But as the day progressed, the legislation was held at the last minute, as Christie himself offered up news of a possible compromise -- although he wouldn’t say just yet what it was.

State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) after the session did not rule out reviving the bill when the Senate meets again on Monday, but he said he would first wait to see what Christie would present.

“He has mentioned to us he is working out something … but if we haven’t come to agreement on some kind of executive order by Monday, then we’ll move (on the bill),” Sweeney said in an interview.
The details of the compromise are anyone's guess, but one possibility is to move forward next year with the PARCC assessments but delay for one year linking the results to teacher evaluations.

The Spotlight piece also describes the efforts of Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) to garner enough votes to pass another education bill that would extend the Urban Hope Act for one year. Singleton was successful -- by the skin of his teeth -- and this legislation that allows for hybrid charter schools in Camden, Trenton, and Newark will remain active.

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