Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, December 16, 2012

NY Post: Regents Expect Huge Drop In Test Scores

The NY Post reports the following:

New York students are heading toward the testing cliff.

Kids in grades 3 to 8 will face much tougher questions on state math and English exams in April and May — and education officials expect scores to nose-dive.

“People are bracing for a major drop,” one official told The Post.

The tests will include complex math problems and reading passages — a third-grade sample features Tolstoy — to gauge whether students meet new national standards called Common Core.


Last month, Kentucky, the first of 46 states to test students on the standards, reported the number of elementary- and middle-school students rated “proficient” or higher fell at least 30 percent.
New York education officials fear similar, if not worse, results.

“Whenever you raise standards and change the tests, scores go down. We’re trying to be upfront about it,” said Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the state Board of Regents, which was briefed on the tests last week.

Board member Betty Rosa, a former Bronx superintendent, worries the tough tests will devastate poor and immigrant students learning English.

Member Kathleen Cashin, a former Brooklyn superintendent, called it “too much, too soon.”

Teachers, whose performance evaluations will be based 20 percent on how their students do, have not had enough training to teach the curriculum, she said.

One sample question asks third-graders to read a translated short story, “The Gray Hare,” by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy. The fable includes the words “threshing floor,” “caftans” and “hoarfrost.”

“It’s absurd vocabulary for that age level and likely to throw even the best reader off,” said Jeff Nichols, a Manhattan father of a 9-year-old boy.

“Are we trying to make children feel inadequate?”

Dunno if this is to make children feel inadequate, but I do know it's intended to make parents all over the state believe the public education system is inadequate and needs major reforming.

As Rick Hess noted in this blog post, proponents of Common Core have deliberately raised the standards to such absurd levels (Tolstoy for a third grader?) in order to "shine a harsh light on the quality of suburban schools, shocking those families and voters into action" and "newly convinced that their schools stink, parents and voters will embrace reform."

Those reforms include voucher programs, privatization, additional "high quality" charter schools, and cyberschools for students all over the country.

That's one of the goals of the Common Core proponents and education reformers.

Another one is to break what little power the teachers unions have left and give districts and municipalities the tools they need to fire "bad" teachers at will.

You can see the set up here in NY State.

They've raised standards to absurd levels in the same year that Governor Cuomo pushed through a new teacher evaluation system that requires student test scores to be somewhere between 20% and 40% of the evaluation.

They know the test scores are going to drop precipitously.

Regents Chancellor Tisch is already on record saying that's going to be happen.

And yet, when it does happen, I will bet the farm that she won't come out and say the teacher evaluations based on these tests are invalid or flawed.

Oh, no - she'll be decrying the state of teacher quality all across the state and, along with her merry man in education reform, NYSED Commissioner John King, writing opinion pieces in the NY Post and elsewhere calling for "teacher accountability."

The fix is in, folks.

These new standards, the ones being mocked in the pages of the Washington Post and National Review for the ludicrous 70%-30% mandate on informational text over literature in ELA classes, the ones that have added Tolstoy and words like "hoarfrost"and “threshing floor" to the third grade ELA test, the ones that teachers have been forced to use this year even though they have not been given sufficient training or curriculum materials, are in place.

The tests based on these new "rigorous" standards for grades 3-8 are in place.

Next year, the Common Core tests for high school will be in place.

The new teacher evaluation system based upon student test scores is already in place.

And the education leadership in this state knows test scores are going to drop 30% or more from the previous year.

You can bet the education reformers are licking their lips at all the damage they can do in the next year to teachers and schools.

Tens of thousands of teachers will be rated "ineffective" under this system.

Many, if not most, schools will see a precipitous drop in test scores and be declared "failing."

The only wild cards here are the parents.

As Rick Hess put it in his piece, will "parents and community members who previously liked their schools...believe the assessment results rather than their own lying eyes?"

Common Core proponents, education officials like Tisch and King, and politicians like Cuomo and Bloomberg, are hoping it's the former, not the latter.

But it sure sounds like the parent in the Post article isn't fooled by the "assessment":

“It’s absurd vocabulary for that age level and likely to throw even the best reader off,” said Jeff Nichols, a Manhattan father of a 9-year-old boy.

“Are we trying to make children feel inadequate?

In short - they're trying to make everybody, from children to parents to teachers to administrators feel inadequate, in order to push through their radical privatization agenda.

We'll see if they get away with it.

The mockery in the Washington Post, the attacks on Common Core from the National Review, the Regents Board members like Cashin and Rosa going public with their dissents, and parents like Jeff Nichols calling into question the very questions on the test, give me hope that the education reform movement won't get away with this.


  1. Children will tested for their comprehension of the New Annotated version of the Regents classic "the Pineapple and the Hare'. The students will be required to write a personal reflection on the genetic influence of the pineapple on the hare's ecosystem. Then they must then establish the connection in their writing to the ascendance of fact over fiction in the modern narrative. Finally they will finsih with a flourish as they show a historical analysis beginning with the realm of princess Tisch. The narrative should start with Princess Tisch's marriage to her billionaire prince. The narrative must end at a festive meal with Joel Klein savoring unleavened bread, eggs and ham. There is no room for fiction. Only the facts. Extra credit will be given for student creativity if green eggs and ham and are served by a cat in a hat. Thus approach makes complete sense since the majority of students in NY state are now college ready.

    1. You have a career as a test material writing awaiting you if you so choose.