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Outgoing N.J. Chief Takes Aim At Union 'Misinformation'

In a parting shot to the New Jersey Education Association, the Garden State's outgoing chief, Christopher Cerf, issued a seven-page memo March 5 outlining "misinformation" he claims the union has been spreading about several key initiatives.

In the letter, Cerf says the NJEA has claimed that the state's education department is rushing implementation of the Common Core State Standards, incorporating new and unproven tests into teacher evaluations, and seeking to "amplify" the role of tests. 

In fact, Cerf counters, the NJEA endorsed the law that created the new evaluation system; that the evaluations will begin a full year before assessments aligned to the common core are given to students; and that the law caps the weight given to test scores in the new teacher reviews.

The NJEA seems nonplussed by Cerf's memo, according to Politicoa spokesman told the paper that it preferred to focus on its relationship with the incoming state chief.

Teachers' unions across the nation have been accused of using support for the common core as a point of leverage for slowing down new teacher-evaluation systems, or de-emphasizing test scores as one component of those evaluations, as my colleague Andrew Ujifusa and I have reported.

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