New Jersey 10-year-old explains why Common Core tests are ‘nonsense’

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MONTCLAIR, N.J. – A New Jer­sey 10-year-old is get­ting a lot of atten­tion after deliv­er­ing a speech to her local school board about the rea­sons she thinks Com­mon Core test­ing is “non­sense.”

Eliz­a­beth Blaine, whose moth­er Sarah Blaine is for­mer teacher and attor­ney who writes an edu­ca­tion blog, attend­ed the Mont­clair School Board meet­ing Mon­day to weigh in on a pro­pos­al that would allow par­ents to opt their chil­dren out of Com­mon Core aligned stan­dard­ized test­ing known as the Part­ner­ship for the Assess­ment of Readi­ness for Col­lege and Careers test, the Wash­ing­ton Post reports.

A video of Blaine’s speech was post­ed on YouTube Mon­day and has so far gar­nered well over 70,000 views. It’s also been picked up by Fox News, The Blaze, The Dai­ly Sig­nal, and oth­er media outlets.

Here’s what she had to say, accord­ing to the Post:

I love to read. I love to write. I love to do math. But I don’t love the PARCC. Why? Because it stinks.

For exam­ple, I took a EOY (end of the year) prac­tice test for math in prepa­ra­tion for the PARCC. On the prac­tice test there was adding, mul­ti­ply­ing, and sub­tract­ing frac­tions, long divi­sion, and geom­e­try. All of these things we have not learned (or even start­ed learn­ing yet). And we are sup­posed to know these con­cepts men­tal­ly by the end of the year!

I also don’t like the PARCC because it is all on computers.

On the test we will have to type full essays in a time lim­it, when most of us have not typed ever before! We might have tak­en a tech­nol­o­gy class, but we are not required to. Why couldn’t they make the test on paper? Also, my tech teacher told us that if, dur­ing the test, we click out we’re out.

[Note from Sarah Blaine: The tech­nol­o­gy teacher told the class that if any of them acci­den­tal­ly click out­side of the test­ing win­dow on the com­put­er dur­ing the PARCC exam, then the com­put­er will lock the child out of the rest of that day’s test­ing session.] 

Anoth­er thing that I don’t like is that we have lost six peri­ods due to PARCC prepa­ra­tion. The prepa­ra­tion is for the tech­nol­o­gy on the test. The tech­nol­o­gy includes things like using a drag and drop ruler, a drag and drop pro­trac­tor, drop-down win­dows, and scroll bars that only move cer­tain mini win­dows only. And, there is this part (on some ques­tions) where you make your own equa­tion to show your work. That’s good, right? Yeah, but to make the equa­tion it’s very com­pli­cat­ed and hard.

So the math prac­tice test stinks, what’s next? Why, the ELA test of course. On the ELA test there are some very con­fus­ing and extreme­ly hard ques­tions. For exam­ple, one of the essay ques­tions was:

Iden­ti­fy a theme in ‘Just Like Home’ and a theme in ‘Life Doesn’t Fright­en Me.’ Write an essay that explains how the theme of the sto­ry is shown through the char­ac­ters and how the theme of the poem is shown through the speak­er. Include spe­cif­ic details from the sto­ry and the poem to sup­port your essay.”

This is crazy! I am one of the most gift­ed stu­dents in my grade (or so my mom says) and I have not even the slight­est clue as to what this means.

Also, on the ELA test there is a video, a Maya Angelou poem, and two sto­ries. Along with that, there are ques­tions to go with the poem and two sto­ries. I had no idea what any of the ques­tions to do with the poem meant and I didn’t under­stand the poem itself either. The ques­tions for the first sto­ry were sim­ple enough, but were ter­ri­bly word­ed. The sec­ond story’s ques­tions were about the same.

Now you know about the ques­tions and tech­nol­o­gy on the PARCC. I am glad my mom and dad are let­ting me opt out, because I don’t want to deal with this non­sense, as I stat­ed before. I agree with the pol­i­cy being vot­ed on tonight and hope that it pass­es through.

Thank you.

Sarah Blaine told the Post’s Valerie Strauss her daugh­ter wrote the speech her­self, and her involve­ment was lim­it­ed to fix­ing a few typos and explain­ing how to use imbed­ded quo­ta­tion marks.

Eliz­a­beth Blaine’s com­ments drew a round of applause at the meet­ing, though school offi­cials did not vote Mon­day on the mea­sure to allow par­ents to opt their chil­dren out of PARCC.

The Mont­clair school board is expect­ed to decide on the pro­pos­al at an upcom­ing board meet­ing, the Post reports.