The moment of truth is coming to Newark schools

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Is it time?
Is it time?

The world of bullfighting gave us  the phrase—el  momento  de la verdad—and there is no exact  translation. The English words  “moment of truth” don’t capture the sense of crisis and urgency and, especially,  revelation. The Newark public schools have come to the moment of truth when all players—school employees, parents, union leaders, student activists, politicians, civic organizations, state leaders—will have no choice but  to reveal who they are, what they want, what they can accomplish, what they are willing to do, how they see their futures.
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Let’s hear it for failure, bullying, underage drinking–and, of course, PARCC testing

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BLOGJELLIGSome might believe the relentless testing regime plaguing public schools—but not the most prestigious private schools—will improve learning. Others have endorsed testing as a way of attacking veteran teachers who, of course, are frequently  blamed for failure but far less often credited with success.  Then there is a group—who knows the size?—who view testing as a kind of philosophical sorting out process, all but divinely mandated, that separates the saved from the doomed.  One of these, the superintendent of a major New Jersey school district, wrote these bizarre words in a note to his staff:
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Cami Anderson ducks questions about payments to former aide

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Tiffany Hardrick meets with Forrest City residents last July. Photo: Times-Herald
Tiffany Hardrick meets with Forrest City residents last July. Photo: Times-Herald

Members of the Newark school board Tuesday night demanded that Gov. Chris Christie and state Education Commissioner David Hespe force  state-appointed school superintendent Cami Anderson to show up and publicly explain why she paid Tiffany Hardrick,  a former top aide, as much as $25,000 after Hardrick left the city and began working in another state.
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NJ: Cami Anderson aide was paid for two jobs in two states

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Tiffany Hardrick meets with Forrest City residents last July. Photo: Times-Herald
Tiffany Hardrick meets with Forrest City residents last July. Photo: Times-Herald

Cami Anderson, Gov. Chris Christie’s educational overseer in Newark,  somehow managed to allow Tiffany Hardrick, an old associate, to be paid as a  Newark employee even after Hardrick started working in an Arkansas school district last spring. A state audit revealed the irregularities–possibly costing New Jersey taxpayers some $25,000–but Anderson’s own friends in Trenton already have rushed to help her out.
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NJ, Pearson, and PARCC: Lies or ineptitude?

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BLOGPEARSONTWEETA legal analyst for the New Jersey education department told a legislative committee the other day that Pearson, the multi-billion dollar British corporation that produces the PARCC tests,  could protect its “intellectual property” rights in the test by searching out what students are posting about the test on social media sites. The only problem with what Patrician Morgan said was this: Pearson doesn’t own the tests or the test questions.
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NJ admits Pearson can get private information about children

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Are you spying on me, too?
Are you spying on me, too?

New Jersey’s education commissioner Thursday blew off a legislative committee hearing and a crowd of angry and frightened  parents worried about spying on children–but his act of contempt led to a startling revelation: PARCC test publisher Pearson can  pry out private information from children posting on Twitter and Facebook.
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Links between NJ education and Pearson are cozy indeed

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Andrew Erlichson/LINKED-IN
Andrew Erlichson/LINKED-IN

Bari Anhalt Erlichson, an assistant New Jersey education commissioner and chief testing officer who supervises PARCC testing throughout the state, has a personal connection of sorts to PARCC’s developer, the British publishing giant Pearson. Anhalt Erlichson is married to Andrew Erlichson, a vice president of a company named MongoDB. MongoDB (the name comes from humongous database) is a subcontractor to Pearson, that helped to develop its national student database that provided the larger company with access to student records. Pearson later sold the center to Hobsons which no longer deals with MongoDB.
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Parents just don’t get social media, chief NJ testing officer says

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Erlichson, third from left, with friends from the NJ School Boards Association, which supports PARCC

The chief testing officer for the New Jersey education department is blaming others–particularly parents and educators–for the uproar about a private company’s monitoring of the social media accounts of children taking state, standardized tests known as PARCC.
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The Brave New World of testing expands

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BLOGHANOVERTwo other New Jersey school districts–Hanover Park Regional in East Hanover and South Orange-Maplewood–were notified by state officials that “monitoring”–spying?– Twitter traffic revealed students  had used social media accounts to post a forbidden messages regarding the  PARCC tests.  No surprise, really–it’s happening everywhere, including Maryland where a state official said he gets daily reports from Pearson, the publisher of the standardized tests. on what students are saying about testing on their internet accounts. Continue reading