Cerf V. NJEA On Common Core & Eval

From New Jersey, this letter from outgoing state education Commissioner Chris Cerf is a doozy. He goes public with the behind the scenes back and forth playing out in a lot states (pdf).

A few highlights:

…We have consistently clarified these facts with the NJEA, which often they concede in private, only to then make baseless accusations in public….

…how else can you reconcile recent statements below claiming that test scores have no place in evaluation systems after they endorsed a bill that explicitly required test scores as one component of evaluations?…

…I cannot say for certain why the new leadership of the NJEA has decided to engage in a deliberate campaign of misinformation.   I do know that they are personally aware that their statements are false, as I have engaged them directly with the incontrovertible, publicly verifiable facts.  In response, they exhibit what can only be described as reckless indifference to the truth.  When the educational well being of children is at stake, the least we can expect of interest groups is a commitment to honest debate.   One might also hope for a commitment to civil discourse and a pledge to avoid ad hominem attacks.  The NJEA has decided at the very top of the organization to eschew these basic elements of responsible political discussion.  I find that highly regrettable and, frankly, a significant change of direction from the previous leadership of the organization, with whom I personally built a strong and trusting relationship – albeit one marked by spirited disagreements….

Over the past few months the kinds of complaints that have long been aired about the teachers unions in private seem to be coming up in public more.  Whether that’s a lasting shift or something happening now because of the critical point Common Core is at remains to be seen but it’s an unmistakable change.

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