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PARCC and Common Core 
Information Site Oceanport, Monmouth Beach, Shore Regional, and West Long Branch

PARCC and Common Core

New Jersey is one of 46 states, plus the District of Columbia, to adopt the National “Common Core” State Standards (CCSS).  The objective of the "standards" movement in American public education is to hold all schools, teachers, and students, to high standards of teaching and learning.  These standards come from a national set of expectations for English Language Arts and Mathematics.  These national assessments reflect awareness that student proficiencies in literacy and mathematics largely determine success in school and employment.

Proponents of CCSS and the assessments that test them (referred to as PARCC – Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) believe that this push towards a national baseline will contribute to closing the achievement gap in lower socio-economic and special education students.  Since CCSS are internationally benchmarked, the intent is to also close the international achievement gap.  This is positive in that the United States has dropped considerably in educational rankings over the last few decades.  By having standards that are internationally benchmarked that gap should begin to close.  Lastly, the CCSS will allow states to compare standardized test scores accurately.  Up until now, each state had their own set of standards and assessments.  This has made it exceedingly difficult to accurately compare one state’s results with another state’s results.  This will no longer be the case with the CCSS and the PARCC assessments.

The Common Core Standards will require younger students to learn at higher levels than they ever have before.  With the increased rigor and higher-level thinking skills, early childhood programs will become more rigorous.  Pre-Kindergarten will be more important, and skills students used to learn in fourth grade would now need to be taught in second grade.  The CCSS will be a tremendously difficult adjustment for students and teachers initially.  Make no mistake; we are in a difficult transition.  It is not the way many teachers are used to teaching and not the way that many students are used to learning.  There will not be instant results, but instead will be a slow process.

According to the Department of Education, PARCC testing will “replace the one end-of-year high stakes accountability test” in 2015 and will be aligned to assess CCSS.  All stakeholders need to be educated on this new Common Core implementation, its assessment, and its teacher evaluation.  To learn more, please attend our Common Core Community Academy held at Shore Regional High School on April 22nd and 30th from 6:30 – 7:30 pm.   

Mr. Thomas G. Farrell