City tests scores released Wednesday plummeted after officials made the year's statewide exams more difficult.
On the math exams, only 54% of third- through eighth-graders passed, compared with 82% the year before, a shocking decline of 28 percentage points.
Reading scores also dropped a whopping 27 percentage points, from 69 % during the 2008-2009 school year to only 42 %.
The disturbing decline comes in the wake of a study commissioned by the state and released last week that found the high-stakes exams had become easier to pass over the last four years.
The state significantly raised the bar in response, essentially erasing recent gains made by city kids.
The nose dive brings tests scores even lower than they were four years ago, when the state revamped the exams. In 2006, 51% of city students passed the reading exam and 57% passed math.
The study performed by a team led by Harvard professor Daniel Koretz found that the tests became easier to pass, easier to predict and tested a narrow set of skills, suggesting that skyrocketing scores did not mean students were learning more.
This year, the state raised the passing score, made it less predictable and added more material. Next year, the exams will get even tougher.
City students' declines was matched by other big cities in the state.
Charter schools statewide also saw massive declines, dropping to 60% passing math from 89% last year and 43% passing English, down from 76% in 2009.
I can hear the spin from Klein and Bloomberg already.
These scores are the fault of teachers.
More teachers need to be fired.
More schools need to be closed.
Seniority protections need to be eradicated.
Tenure is what caused this.
And of course the op-ed people at the Post, Daily News, and Times will go along with Kleinberg.
So will the wankers at the Washington/Kaplan Test Prep Post and Newsweek.
Fire more teachers. Close more schools. More Gates Foundation reforms are needed.
Never mind that it is clear the Gates/Bloomberg reforms have NOT worked.
Not even by the measurement the Gates/Bloomberg people set up to evaluate the schools.
The test scores are shit.
Children CANNOT read at grade level; they CANNOT add, subtract, or divide.
And that's AFTER closing two hundred schools and putting even more on the city and state list (via RttT) for closure.
At what point will the newspaper people look at the mess created by Bloomberg and Klein and say, "Oh, we were wrong. The reforms have NOT worked. Bloomberg and Klein do NOT know what the fuck they are doing with the school system. And since the Obama/Duncan plan is the Bloomberg/Klein plan on steroids, the RttT/Obama NCLB Jr. plan will NOT work either"?
I know, I know - silly reality-based educator.
Why blame the people who run the school system and made all the policy changes (how many curriculum changes and DOE re-organizations have we had since Kleinberg ate the school system whole?) when you can blame teachers who have been forced to carry out the boss's orders instead.
Well, at least we now have definitive proof that the Gates/Bloomberg reforms are horseshit.
Now the fight becomes getting the right people blamed for this mess.
Hint to Jonathan Alter, Bob Herbert, Nicholas Kristof, Evan Thomas, David Brooks, Michael Goodwin, Jay Matthews, Richard Cohen, et al.
It ain't the teachers' fault.
You can fire as many as you want.
You can cheer the firings in Washington D.C.
When the people running things do NOT know what the fuck they are doing (or worse, don't really care), the system will get worse, not better.
Here in NYC, the scores have gone down over the last four years.
Shame that info couldn't have been released BEFORE the Education Mayor coronated himself with a third illegal term.
Oh, and btw ed deformers, the charter school scoring PLUMMETED too.
So much for the charter school panacea, eh?
UPDATE: The Times article on the test score inflation does aim some ammo at Bloomberg and even Obama:
New York State education officials, admitting that the state’s annual tests were not properly measuring student proficiency, released results Wednesday showing that more than half of New York City students were failing to meet state standards in reading, at a time when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg boasted that more that more than two-thirds of city’s students were reading at grade level.
New York City officials said that if the passing rates since 2006 were adjusted to match the new scoring standards, the city had shown substantial progress over all. But that explanation is likely to offer little consolation to teachers and parents who must now face the reality that just more than half of city students in the third through eighth grades are proficient in math, not four out of every five, as they were led to believe last year.
The numbers suggest that thousands more city students should have been held back or required to attend summer school last year. The Bloomberg administration requires every student who scores a Level 1, the lowest possible level on the state exam, to attend summer school and later pass the test or repeat the grade the following year.
But perhaps even more significant is that the state’s readjustment of the scores exposes the score inflation and could raise new questions about the imprecision of educational testing, even as policy makers across the country, including President Obama, are relying on such measurements to determine teacher pay and whether or not a school should be shut down. In New York City, the scores on the state tests have been used to assign A through F grades to each school, as well as thousands of dollars in principal and teacher bonuses.
Wanna take back the bonus money paid for the bullshit scores?
But you gotta take back the illegal third Bloomberg term partially based on the Bloomberg/Klein Education Miracle.
Remember the op-ed endorsements back in '09:
Here's part of the Post endorsement:
Fact is, Bloomberg has put together a remarkable record.
* On education: Mike Bloomberg will be remembered as the mayor who brought accountability to the system. Supervisors, principals, teachers, students -- all are now expected to show results.
And they have, often spectacularly.
Uh, except that the results were inflated horseshit.
And the Daily News:
New York is far better off for having had Michael Bloomberg as mayor and will be far better off for granting him a third term in City Hall.
By every significant measure - from plummeting crime and rising school achievement to more and better parks and cleaner streets - Bloomberg has led the city decisively in the right direction over the last eight years.
It is the time to call for more of the dynamism that took on the long, hard fight to banish a culture of failure from the nation's largest school system - and has made substantial gains in this most crucial of wars.
Bloomberg pledged to be the education mayor, and skirmishing over his policies has been intense. While dramatically boosting school spending, he overcame opposition to take control, raise standards, boost principals' authority and demand teacher accountability.
The benefits have begun to show - big time.
Fully 82% of the children in third through eighth grades passed this year's math exam, with the success rate for fourth graders rising from 52% in 2002 to 85% in 2009, and for eighth graders from 30% to 71%. Those same kids upped passing rates on reading tests by 20 percentage points. And the high school graduation rate has climbed by 21%.
Only sustained mayoral attention can produce and build on improvements such as those, whether in the schools or in any other area of city endeavor. That inescapable fact weakens rival Bill Thompson's claim to City Hall.
Uh, except that the results were inflated horseshit.
Given the mayor's boasting about these scores for the past four years, knowing at best they were inflated and at worst were total horseshit, we must question his honesty about other stats too.
Is crime REALLY down or is that a statistical miracle aided by Klein-matic too?
How about fire fatalities?
What else does the mayor lie about?
I know that the mayor and the chancellor will say these scores show why they must be able to fire teachers at will just like Michelle Rhee can in D.C.
But that's not what these test scores show.
What they show is why Bloomberg and Klein should BOTH be fired and the assholes who own the Post/News/Times and shill for Bloomberg and Klein ought to hear the words SHUT UP every time they have their minions write another editorial bashing teachers and extolling Bloomberg and Klein school system prowess.
Oh, and the scores also show why the Obama education reforms have disaster written all over them and will take the NYC education "miracle' and spread it nationwide.
Like swine flu.
Or BP oil.