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PARCC--Teacher Evaluations--Mercer County Adminstrators Association Resolution



WHEREAS, the members of the Mercer County Administrators Association fully support educational policies and practices designed to provide results that promote and improve student achievement, college and career readiness,  and best teaching practices,  and

WHEREAS, we are deeply concerned with the high stakes and ongoing costs associated  PARCC testing as well   as with the recent changes in the requirements for teacher and principal evaluations, high school graduation, and student teaching; and

WHEREAS, on August 31, 2016, at a time when our teachers, parents and students were eagerly preparing for an exciting start to the new school year, the Depattment  of Education  announced that students' PARCC test scores  will have triple the weight  in teachers'  and principals'  annual evaluations;   and

WHEREAS, the seemingly inconsistent guidance provided by the NJDOE officials to CSAs continues to disrnpt  the educational environment of school districts by providing inaccurate and/or incomplete information regarding  the diagnostic value of the assessment and the most recent untimely August 31, 2016 NJDOE Broadcast announcing  the change in mSGP percentages  for teachers and principal  evaluation;  and

WHEREAS, this state-level decision is contrary to the newly-enacted federal Every Student Succeeds Act -the federal law replacing the old NCLB legal framework -which expressly backed away from the NCLB 's elevation of annual standardized testing, and which encouraged states to adopt more flexible measures of student achievement and schools' success; and

WHEREAS, based upon the August 3, 2016 NJ School Board  of Education's  decision, beginning with the class  of 2020 all students must sit and take all sections of the PARCC;   and

WHEREAS, beginning with the class of 2021, NJDOE has required all students to pass the PARCC English Language Arts (ELA) 10 and Algebra I assessments as well as take all end-of-course PARCC assessments for which they are eligible (Algebra I, Geometly, Algebra  II, ELA 9, ELA  10, ELA  11);  and

WHEREAS, the use of alternative assessments will be eliminated for the Class of 2021 despite the fact that the current state passing rates on the PARCC Algebra 1 and ELA 10 assessments are 37 percent and 36 percent, respectively; and

WHEREAS, NJDOE has eliminated all other testing options besides PARCC as ways to satisfy state graduation requirements;  and

WHEREAS, NJDOE has eliminated the Alternative High School Assessment, previously used to satisfy state standards by thousands  of students unable to pass the HSPA;   and

WHEREAS, according to information compiled by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) based upon a settlement agreement reached with the Education Law Center and the NJDOE to resolve a lawsuit over new high school graduation policies, a preliminmy analysis demonstrated more than 10,000 seniors in 2015 - 2016 used the "portfolio review" process to satisfy the state assessment requirement  for graduation;    and

WHEREAS, the substitution of the new PARCC exams for the State's previous graduation tests -the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) and the Alternative High School Assessment (AHSA) -has dramatically increased the number of students using portfol i os to earn a diploma. (The number of po1tfolios submitted by districts for 201 6 was more than six times that of previous years, and more than half the senior class of 2015 - 2016, over 50,000 students - did not take or did not pass PARCC.); and

WHEREAS, more than fifty-six districts submi tted more than 1 00 portfolios; one hundred submitted more than 50; and nearly one hundred fifty districts submitted  l O or more;  and

WHEREAS, all of NJDOE's designated substitute assessments are English-only tests that do not provide appropriate  accommodations  for English  Language  Leamer students; and

WHEREAS, the August 3,d NJ School Board of Education's officially adopted edTPA, which is an assessment created by Stanford University faculty and staff at the Stanford Center for Assessment, Leaming, and Equity (SCALE); and

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Department of Education has awarded the implementation of edTPA to a third party provider; and

WHEREAS, this new assessment requires student teachers to submit video recordings of their classrooms to this third party provider  for evaluation in order to obtain  certification;

It is, therefore, the position of the Mercer County Administrators Association that the NJ Department of Education and the New Jersey State Board of Education's new graduation requirements do not align to our shared values, and we stand together in opposition of these changes that are detrimental to our students, teachers,  administrators  and school communities.

Further, it is the position of the Mercer County Administrators Association that the requirement  and submission  of videotaping of our respective district's students by student teachers under the provisions of edTPA with the subsequent  scoring by a third party provider  may not be allowed within  our  district's.

Further, that videotaping student teachers for the very purpose of licensure of a student teacher, without the benefit of the context of the classroom environment, student demographics and school culture does not align to our shared values.

NOW, BE IT RESOLVED  that the Mercer County Administrators  Association   hereby:

  1. Urges the NJ State Board of Education to immediatel y withdraw its newly passed graduation requirements and revisit the matter only after there is a greater understanding of the newly passed Every Student Succeeds  Act; and
  2. Urges NJDOE to implement the recommendation of the Governor's College and Career Ready Task Force, including a multi-year transi tion to a new assessment system that does not establish a minimum passing score as    a graduation  requirement  on the new PARCC  assessments; and
  3. Urges the New Jersey Legislature and the State Board of Education to immediately revisit changes made to student teaching  requirements; and
  4. Urges the NJDOE to conduct a top down review of the entire premise of state mandated standardized school exit exams; as well as the entire premise of high stakes standardized assessments in grades 3 - 12, with focus on value, validity,  cost, and disruption by said assessments to the instructional  environment of   schools; and
  5. Urges that New Jersey continues to provide multiple pathways to a high school diploma that include alternatives not based  on standardized  tests; and
  6. Urges that the New Jersey Legislature review/hold hearings on the impact of the NJ State Board of Education 's graduation  requirements; and
  7. States without hesitation, that in Mercer County we want meaningful learning in student-centered classrooms, taught by educators who are supported to pursue innovative best practices.      We care deeply about student learning, growth, progress,  and achievement.  We constantly strive to improve programs and enhance   educators'effectiveness. Iftying teachers' evaluations to any standardized test results made for stronger schools and more dynamic classrooms, then we would fully support doing so. But using standardized test scores to evaluate - and in many cases, unfairly punish - teachers does not help students or improve teachers or strengthen principals and assistant principals, or strengthen schools. It has never been shown to be sound educational policy.

RESOLVED, that this resolution be certified and submitted to our State Representatives, the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, the New Jersey School Boards Association, the New Jersey Principals  and Supervisor Association, the New Jersey Education Association, local municipal  leaders, the board secretaries of each school district in the county, the County Office of Education, and the Office of the Commissioner  of Education.


I, Thomas Smith, President of the Mercer County Administrators Association, in the County of Mercer, and the State of New Jersey, do hereby certify that the foregoing resolution is a true copy of the original resolution duly passed and adopted by the Mercer County Administrators Association at a meeting held on the 4th day of November,  2016.


Thomas Smith, President Superintendent  of Hopewell Valley

David  M.  Aderhold,  Treasurer Superintendent of West  Windsor  - Plainsboro


Crystal Edwards,  Superintendent of Lawrence                      Steve Cochrane, Superintendent of Princeton



Kathleen  Foster,  Acting Superintendent Robbinsville           Lucy Feria, Interim  Superintendent  of Trenton



Richard Katz,  Superintendent of East Windsor                     Michael Nitti,  Superintendent  of Ewing


Kiery  Schneider,  Superintendent  Mercer  CountySpecial  Services  School District and Mercer County Tech nical Schools

Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608