As standardized testing of third- through eighth-graders on English and math begins in New York’s public schools today, parents and school boards are speaking out about the Common Core standards and what they see as an over-emphasis on testing.
The Saratoga School Board voted to tell the state education commissioner the tests negatively affect students – and parents on Long Island are opting to exempt their children from the testing. The head of the state teachers union, Dick Iannuzzi, says students are going to be tested on material they haven’t been taught yet. He said polling commissioned by his union showed 91 percent of parents say students have not had enough time to work with the Common Core learning standards.
“Parents are upset. They really do not want their children being put in a position where they’re being assessed on material that simply has not been presented to them.”
The Department of Education said the assessments are designed to improve classroom instruction and get better results in the graduation rate and college and career readiness.
State Education Commissioner John King said in a video for parents on his department’s website that students living in poverty and English language learners are not achieving at the same level as their peers.
“The Common Core state standards are the answer to this problem. The standards are higher, the standards are fewer and the standards are deeper.”
Iannuzzi said the Education Department has acknowledged that scores will drop – perhaps as much as 30 percent. He does not want them used to promote students, choose students for gifted-and-talented classes, or to receive remedial services.
“No teacher would give a test where they know that students are not going to be in a position to succeed. And no parent would want a teacher to do that. And certainly no child would want to begin a test knowing that they are not expected to do well.”
Iannuzzi also does not want teachers’ performances evaluated on these test results.
“My members will have at least part of their end-of-the-year evaluation based on a score that will be meaningless in terms of reflecting their efforts in their classrooms and the growth of the children in front of them.”
He added, “The State Education Department listens very carefully, but doesn’t hear anything you say.”