Volume 5/Issue 28

  • NJ Exceeds PARCC Test Average Scores
  • Spending on 2015 Legislative Elections Tops $30 Million
  • Gov. Christie Gains Endorsement of Influential New Hampshire Newspaper

NJ Exceeds PARCC Test Average Scores 

Last week, the state Department of Education (DOE) released test results showing that New Jersey students outperformed the national average on the PARCC assessment.  New Jersey students, on 14 of the 18 exams for grades 3-11, surpassed the averages for the 10 states participating in PARCC.  

DOE Commissioner David Hespe said, “New Jersey is actually a very high performing state in terms of the PARCC consortium average and in relation to other states, and that I think provides some additional context.”

During its presentation to the State Board of Education, DOE officials stressed that PARCC outcomes and comparisons to other states will help them better prepare students for college and beyond.

President of the State Board of Education Mark Biedron echoed those sentiments saying, "I think this is a baseline for us to start our work."

During the state board of education meeting, the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) also released a study comparing PARCC to NJASK, New Jersey’s previous elementary and middle school test.  The results of the study found that PARCC was a more rigorous exam and a better way to assess student’s analytic, critical thinking, and research skills. 

According to Katherine Bassett the head of NNSTOY and New Jersey’s top teacher in 2000, “New Jersey had a good test.  Now it has an even better one.” 

Spending on 2015 Legislative Elections Tops $30 Million 

The NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC) reports that $30.4 million was spent on legislative elections this year, a record amount. 

Legislative candidates themselves, spent over $19.7 million, with Democratic candidates raising more contributions than their Republican counterparts.  However, independent interest groups spent $10.7 million on the Assembly races, representing 35-percent of all spending, which is the largest share ever for a statewide election according to NJ ELEC. 
 
NJ ELEC Executive Director, Jeff Brindle points out ““Virtually all the $10.7 million in independent spending benefited Democratic candidates…”  The General Majority PAC, a nationwide Super PAC focused on electing Democratic state legislators, led the special interest group spending, distributing $4.4 million to just four targeted districts.  The General Majority PAC received a majority of its funding from Garden State Forward, the New Jersey Education Association’s Super PAC, though other unions also contributed. 
 
In the end, Democratic challengers defeated four Republican incumbents, while current Democratic Assembly members retained their seats in two competitive districts.  

Gov. Christie Gains Endorsement of Influential New Hampshire Newspaper

Governor Christie recently received the endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader, an influential newspaper in the Granite State whose backing has shown to give past presidential candidates a bump in the poll ratings. 

In its endorsement, “For our safety, our future; Chris Christie for President,” the newspaper highlights his experience prosecuting terrorists as U.S. Attorney and dealing with natural disasters.  The editorial lauds the Governor’s reputation as a “straight talker,” stating that “Other candidates have gained public and media attention by speaking bluntly,” but that “Gov. Christie knows what he is saying because he has experienced it. And unlike some others, he believes in what he says because he has a strong set of conservative values.”

The Governor’s presidential campaign is focused heavily on achieving a good result for the New Hampshire primary to provide momentum, and he has spent more time in that state than any other, so the conservative newspaper’s endorsement is significant.