The school board members seemed to know what was in store — they joked about “cutting her off” as she took the mic — and they were right to be concerned.
When New Jersey 10-year-old Elizabeth Blaine reached the podium in video recorded by her mom Monday night, she laid right into Common Core testing and she didn’t let up.
“I love to read, I love to write, I love to do math but I don’t love the PARCC,” Elizabeth said. “Why? Because it stinks.”
The PARCC, or Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is a Common Core test, and the Montclair School Board was meeting to discuss a policy that would allow parents to opt their kids out of taking it.
Elizabeth was all for the policy.
The PARCC is riddled with “very confusing and extremely hard questions,” Elizabeth said, and in a deadly mix of unforgiving technology and the application of concepts that students haven’t learned, the test is a counterproductive mess.
“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 what this means.”
By the time she was done speaking, the room had erupted with cheers and applause.
“I’m glad my mom and dad are letting me opt out,” Elizabeth said, “because I don’t want to deal with this nonsense.”
Watch Elizabeth’s whole speech below:
Monday’s meeting was a first reading of the opt-out policy, the Washington Post reported; the Montclair School Board will vote at a later meeting on adopting the policy.
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