New Jersey education officials said they will no longer use a standardized test question that forced 9-year-olds to reveal a secret. The decision comes after outraged parents accused the state of going on a “fishing expedition to pry” into private family affairs.
“This was an outrageous question,” said Richard Goldberg, a dentist in Marlboro, NJ and a father of twin 9-year-olds. “How could you put these children in that position on a test where you are just supposed to be testing whether than can write and spell?”
The question appeared on the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge text, given to third-graders last week. Students were asked to reveal a secret and then write about why it was difficult to keep.
The question was reviewed and approved by a panel of teachers, according to the state Department of Education. However, over the weekend, state officials decided it would not be included in future exams.
“We’ve looked at this question in light of concerns raised by parents, and it is clear that this is not an appropriate question for a state test,” spokesman Justin Barra told the Associated Press.
Goldberg’s twin sons were among 4,000 third graders who took the exam. He told Fox News that the question smacked of “Big Brother” and wondered what the state was really up to.
“These kids are nine,” he said. “What’s the purpose of a question like that?
He initially contacted local schools officials who referred him to the state. Goldberg said he wrote a letter to the NJ Dept. of Education but never received a reply. That’s when he decided to lodge his complaint on Facebook and a local newspaper.
“This is not just a parent griping about something or being overly sensitive,” Goldberg told Fox News. “This was a really bad question. It opens up a whole can of worms.”
With reporting from the Associated Press