Christie: ‘We Don’t Know Enough About PARCC’ to Make it a Grad Requirement Now
As students throughout the Garden State prepare to resume PARCC testing Thursday, Gov. Chris Christie said he doesn't know enough about the test yet to say whether or not he's comfortable having it as a graduation requirement.
"I'm comfortable with having a test to determine whether kids really know what they need to know to earn the diploma we give them," Christie said during Townsquare Media's "Ask The Governor" program Wednesday night. "We only have one year of results in on PARCC."
The governor said many of the objections about PARCC come from parents whose children have not performed well on the exam.
"Parents crack me up. They don't want their kids tested if the scores are bad. If the scores are good, they're happy to have them tested. This is silliness," he said. "What we know about the test that we used to to have, the NJASK, it was a bad test, it's an objective measure of success or failure in the classroom."
Christie said there will be some test, whether it's PARCC or another type of test.
Less than half of this year's 95,000 seniors passed the PARCC test last year as juniors. This includes about 22,000 kids who failed to get a passing score and 33,000 who didn’t take the PARCC, most of them protesting the new, longer, computer-based exam developed by a consortium of states to meet Common Core standards.
Education Commissioner David Hespe told lawmakers Wednesday that as many as 10,000 high school seniors in New Jersey will meet graduation eligibility requirements by taking an alternate route that will involve having educators review a portfolio of their work, rather than by passing the state’s graduation exam.
Christie said the reason so many more students are taking an alternate route program this year than in the past is because we're now "getting an accurate result" from the testing.
When asked by host Eric Scott why the state doesn't just deny someone a diploma if they can't pass the test or not have PARCC as a requirement, Christie said discontent with the results is not enough of a reason to do away with the entire exam.
"Just because you don't like the results doesn't mean you throw out the test," Christie said.
The governor, however, was quick to point out that the alternate route is "not a guarantee of a diploma."
"You give an alternate route. they have to prove in another way that they're competent. The alternate route is not a guarantee a diploma, it's an alternate route to get a diploma."
"PARCC is not a graduation requirement until 2021," Christie said, although it is an option for graduation requirement. "So anyone who's sitting and having anxiety today about graduation for their seventh grader should take a deep breath. "
The governor said he thinks most parents paying for public school education would want to know that their children are getting the knowledge they need to earn the diploma they get.
"I would rather have you angry with me than have your child not learn what they need to learn," Christie said.