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, NorthJersey.com 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.