In the wake of the Murphy administration’s very belated release of the results from last spring’s standardized tests, and the revelation that student scores plummeted, NJ101.5 asks “Does NJ Have Too Much Standardized Testing in Its Schools?” This is an odd question to ask when it is clear that without the state’s standardized tests, we would not know the extent of the learning loss from COVID-related school closures. (Inexplicably, Murphy has still not released the breakdown by district, which is essential to remediating the learning loss.) It turns out that the article’s title comes from the comments made to the legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Schools by the NJEA’s lobbyist and two members of the Assembly who sit on the committee, ASW Mila Jasey and ASM Ralph Caputo.
Back at the NJEA after a stint as a Deputy Chief of Staff for Murphy (tells you all you need to know about the coziness between Murphy and the NJEA), NJEA chief lobbyist Den Cornavaca said:
“They move classrooms. They move teachers. They hire substitutes. They close down rooms for security purposes. It is incredibly disruptive for days to the learning environment.”
Of course, that’s what we would expect from the NJEA. Preferring to bury the reality of the learning loss that the NJEA abetted, Cornavaca and the NJEA seek to discredit the tests that show the learning loss. Cornavaca’s words reveal that NJEA wants to avoid accountability for its own actions, regardless of the cost to students, which fits in very nicely with Murphy’s own desire to bury the facts.
ASW Jasey and ASM Caputo dutifully parroted the NJEA’s line. Jasey:
“We really need to think about how we use our time and use it for the best outcomes for our students. Because time is limited, and the more time we spend testing, the less time we spend teaching.”
Caputo: “These kids need help. They don’t need more tests.”
Sunlight maintains a database of NJEA PAC contributionss, which reveals that from 2011-2020, Jasey received $74,700 in contributions (2d-most in the Assembly) and Caputo received $39,500 (8th-most). And of course Murphy has benefited from $15 million-plus in NJEA money. Your tax dollars being put to work by the NJEA — apparently to very good effect for the NJEA.
Too bad for New Jersey students, and especially minority students, who saw the learning gap widen substantially. Shamefully, these politicians, whose job it is to educate New Jersey’s children, would prefer to allow the facts to be buried and help protect their special-interest benefactor.