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Michele Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, released the following statement regarding the PARCC test results announced on Tuesday.

“Today, we congratulate New Jersey’s students, their parents and teachers for the great progress they have made on the latest round of PARCC tests. NJBIA commends them on their hard work, dedication and commitment to educational excellence.

“It is extremely important that our 20,000 member companies are able to hire career ready employees to fill available positions. The data provided by the PARCC results will enable the state to benchmark the progress that’s been made and to identify the gaps that exist to better prepare our students.

“A powerful workforce begins with an outstanding education system. New Jersey has taken great steps to better prepare our students for the world of work and greater student achievement. The current standards and assessments, which emphasize critical thinking, are equipping students with the integral skills to perform well in entry-level jobs. NJBIA looks forward to ensuring we are educating our future workforce for the jobs of tomorrow and one of the ways we determine this is through a rigorous assessment.

“We would also like to thank the Governor and Commissioner Hespe for staying the course and continuing to fight for high standards and a high quality assessment. It is clear from the increase in student participation, parents and educators understand PARCC’s value and the improvement from previous assessments.”