NJ Spotlight interviewed two superintendents, Tim Purnell of Somerville and Scott McCartney of Egg Harbor. Here’s an excerpt.
Q: How was your experience with PARCC?
Purnell: We fared very well with PARCC. I look at the difficulties with technology, and supporting the initiative. We had prepared ahead of time, and Somerville was a bit of an aberration, in that we had piloted it for two years. We knew what to expect.” But, “ until we make it a requirement for high school, that will be the point where we can truly steer the ship.”
McCartney: We had only piloted it one year, and one grade. And the test itself went well, the technology, the support was there, the program worked, the children didn’t seem to have any trouble with it.
Where we struggled was in the public sentiment, and we did have a pretty vocal group of dissenters around the PARCC test and the refusals. While we don’t have official numbers, we’re pretty sure to be below the 95 percent.
Again, it was a lot of misinformation and a lot of rhetoric that confused a lot of people.
Q: Does it give you the tools to deal with ineffective teachers?
Purnell: That’s not tried and true yet. We’ve had the reversals [in more than a dozen Newark cases], so we’re not sure yet how that will play out. That creates an uncertainty. Will there be a point where we can remove an ineffective teacher? We don’t know. In a year from now, we maybe will be able to answer that question