Dear NJPTA Community,
As you know, NJPTA is committed to being a strong advocate for the health, welfare, and future of New Jersey's children and their families. We value the voice and opinion of our parents. A key part of our mission is advocating for a high quality education for every child, regardless of their zip code. NJPTA and National PTA have been strong supporters of common, high education standards and aligned assessments for all schools as necessary elements of delivering this vision. New Jersey has always been committed to delivering an excellent education to its students. But recognizing that New Jersey students needed higher expectations to be truly college and career ready in the 21st century - our state leaders and educators adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010 to help all schools push to greater excellence.
Over the past 5 years, New Jersey teachers and educators have been working hard to align their curricula and teaching practice to these higher standards. As you know, it isn't always easy to meet a higher challenge and it takes time and perseverance. But in the long run, it is not only our students who will benefit from undergoing a higher quality learning experience - it is also our communities, our businesses, and our economy.
Today, New Jersey is undergoing a review of its academic standards in English Language Arts and Math (the standards known as the Common Core). Standards Review is a normal part of a healthy education system and happens every 4-5 years. As part of New Jersey's Review process, we have an opportunity as citizens and parents to participate in a Public Online Survey of these standards.
I invite you to please take a few minutes to participate in this Online Survey and help us keep our state academic standards high or make them even better. You need not be an education expert. Your input is valuable.
Click here for a one-page simple guide from our friends at We Raise New Jersey to help you navigate the Online Survey.
Thank you for your commitment to New Jersey children and families.
Sincerely, Debbie Tyrrell, NJPTA President
Star Ledger - How to tell N.J. what you think about Common Core...New Jersey is seeking public comment on its education standards for math and English.
By Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com The Star-Ledger
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on September 16, 2015 at 8:11 AM, updated September 16, 2015 at 8:20 AM
TRENTON — Should second graders be able to solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, nickels and dimes?
Is eighth grade the time for students to understand and apply the Pythagorean Theorem?
New Jersey is looking for the answers to questions including these as it reviews the Common Core standards, and it's giving the public the opportunity to weigh in on the debate.
The state Department of Education has created an online survey and scheduled three listening tours for New Jersey residents to offer their thoughts on Common Core, which outline what skills students should master in English and math by the end of each grade level.
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The first hearing is from 6-9 p.m. Thursday at Public Safety Academy in Parsippany. Individuals interested in speaking must register online.
New Jersey was one of the first states to adopt and implement Common Core, but Gov. Chris Christie in May declared that the standards are "simply not working" in New Jersey. Christie called for the state to conduct a point-by-point review of Common Core and recommend new standards with the help of New Jersey educators.
One of the problems with Common Core was that educators never bought into the standards, Christie said.
As the state looks for stronger support for the revised standards, the listening tour and survey are important parts of the review process, said Michael Yaple, spokesman for the Department of Education.
"It's a chance for parents, members of the business community, educators and other citizens to provide some perspective and insight," Yaple said.
The survey lists every standard for English and math from kindergarten through 12th grade. For example, under Common Core fifth graders should be able to "interpret figurative language, including similes and metaphors, in context."
Those who participate in the survey can indicate that they agree with the standard or respond that they think it should be revised, moved to a different grade level or discarded. Respondents can also provide written feedback about each standard.
While the survey is an opportunity to provide specific feedback about the standards, the listening tour offers a chance for parents to give more general thoughts, Yaple said.
"It's designed for citizens to share whatever their thoughts are when it comes to these standards," Yaple said.
Though Christie said the standards aren't working, New Jersey Department of Education officials have said the review process is more likely to result in tweaks of the standards than a major overhaul.
Adam Clark may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter at @realAdamClark. Find NJ.com on Facebook.