NJPSA Executive Director Pat Wright and Past President Emil Carafa appeared before the Assembly Education Committee February 10 to talk about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)and the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment system implementation. Citing strong support for the CCSS and the benefits students will receive as we transition to the new standards, both also called for the need for attention, time, resources, including financial support for professional development, time to implement the core and concomitant assessment system in light of evaluation and an end to mandates on the part of the Legislature while schools work through the myriad of challenges.
Executive Director Wright provided the committee with context for the CCSS introduction, explaining that implementing the new standards “demand a fundamental shift in how we prepare today’s students” and as such, “a fundamental shift in classroom instruction. “ Citing that it is, “not enough to simply buy a new textbook or an off-the-shelf program.” Wright called for intense professional development for teachers and leaders so that educators can fully understand the shifts in the standards. Wright also provided specifics on new assessments for the committee, explaining that, “Like the CCSS itself, the new assessments challenge students to apply what they know to new situations. They demand students critically analyze reading passages and mathematical problems. “
Carafa, a 22-year educator from Washington School in Lodi also provided insight into CCSS implementation at the local level in his school. He also provided the committee insight into his work as one of New Jersey’s members of PARCC’s Education Leader Cadre.
The duo presented as part of a panel on CCSS/PARCC which included representatives from the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) and the Education Law Center (ELC), among others.