Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What Happens After Parents Get Their Children's Common Core Test Scores?

Two weeks ago, NYSED Commissioner John King And Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch gleefully released the scores on their vaunted new Common Core tests.

They had been bragging for months that the scores would plummet and, sure enough, they did.

That's what happens when you rig the cut results to show a 30% fall in test scores, which is what the Merry Men and Women in Reform at NYSED and the Regents did.

They set an unreachable benchmark of where they wanted the scores first, then when the tests came back in April, they ensured those tests would hit that benchmark.

The goal was to say that public schools all across the state, in cities and suburbs and rural areas, were failing.

As Rick Hess explained at his Education Week blog, erstwhile education reformers have this dream that they can do to the nation's school districts what they've done to many urban school districts - get the public to believe they are "failing" and call for "reforms" to disrupt the status quo and bring about radical change, the privatization of the school system.

Hess revealed the reformer blueprint in his Education Week post:

When I ask how exactly the Common Core is going to change teaching and learning, I'm mostly told that it's going to finally shine a harsh light on the quality of suburban schools, shocking those families and voters into action.

This will apparently entail three steps: First, politicians will actually embrace the Common Core assessments and then will use them to set cut scores that suggest huge numbers of suburban schools are failing. Then, parents and community members who previously liked their schools are going to believe the assessment results rather than their own lying eyes. (In the case of NCLB, these same folks believed their eyes rather than the state tests, and questioned the validity of the latter--but the presumption is that things will be different this time.) Finally, newly convinced that their schools stink, parents and voters will embrace "reform."

And so King and Tisch set about working on step one of the reformer blueprint.

After the RttT legislation gave them their Common Core implementation, they gave tests with cut scores so "rigorous" that they knew what the failing rates were going to be months before they actually gave the tests.

Now they're on to step two - trying to convince the public and especially the parents of children in the school system that schools all over the state are failing and need radical disruptions to solve the myriad problems facing them.

They've brought in the US Secretary of Education to sell their snake oil and gotten some "business leaders" to start a public relations movement to continue the Common Core implementation (not surprisingly, some of those "business leaders" in that p.r. movement stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars off Common Core.)

They're working hard to get to step three, the radical dismantling of one of the last parts of the commons that hasn't yet been privatized - the public school system.

But after years of pushing through their reforms with little opposition other than a few lonely voices protesting that these radical changes to curriculum and teacher evaluations are untested, untried and unpiloted and may do more damage than harm, the reform movement in New York State is starting to get pushback - and not just from the usual progressive educator groups.

As NYC Educator posted yesterday, 25 Republican Assembly members have introduced a bill to withdraw New York State from both the Common Core curriculum movement and Race to the Top mandates.

In addition, the education committee in the State Senate will be holding five hearings around New York to hear the public's response to the radical education reform agenda pushed by John King and NYSED and Merryl Tisch and the Regents.

John Flanagan (R), the chair of that committee, is holding these hearings because he says as a parent he is concerned about some of these reforms, including data collection of student information, the consequences of tying teacher evaluations to test scores, and how the Common Core test scores came about among other things.

Just as opposition to the Common Core movement is rising all around the country on the right, opposition to the Common Core movement here in NY State is rising on the right as well.

Kati Haycock of the Education Trust told the NY Times that education reformers are "terrified" that those on the right and and those on the left will join together to destroy their Common Core curriculum and assessment movement.

That very thing is starting to happen here in NY.

The week after next we will get a big boost to the movement to withdraw the state from Common Core and the Race to the Top mandates when schools release the individual tests scores of students to their parents.

While there has been much hand-wringing and hullabaloo over the plummeting test scores the last few weeks, much of this hand-wringing and hullabaloo has been in the abstract - parents do not know what their own children's scores are yet, they only know how their children's schools and school districts stacked up on the new tests.

Just wait until parents all across the state get the notice that their Little Susies fell from a "4" last time around on the ELA exam to a "2" this time around.

I bet some of those parents are going to remember how Little Susie came home after the tests back in April and said she didn't have enough time to finish the tests and how the questions were so confusing, and they made her feel sick in her stomach because there was a lot of stuff on that test she had never seen before.

Now maybe those parents will buy into the King/Tisch/reformer line that the problem is with schools and teachers and we need radical and disruptive change IMMEDIATELY to solve the education problems these tests scores are emblematic of.


But I'm going to bet that quite a few of those parents are going to instead wonder about the quality of those tests and just how the cut scores got cut the way they did and are going to call their legislators with those very questions.

Diane Ravitch called for NYSED Commissioner King's removal the other day and suggested parents and teachers contact the Regents to demand his removal.

I know of one person who contacted a Regent and heard some jive back about how he isn't ready to support such a radical move - even though this Regent is opposed to many of the reforms currently pushed by King.

The Regents are only subject to public pressure when it comes from legislators, and so it behooves us all to contact our legislators and let them know what we think of the Common Core and the Common Core tests and the APPR teacher evaluation system tied to those tests and all the other radical reforms being pushed out of Albany by John King and Merryl Tisch.

With 25 Republican Assembly members already co-sponsoring a bill to pull New York out of the RttT mandates and the Core, with John Flanagan feeling the need to hold hearings across the state about NYSED's reform agenda, you can bet your legislators are going to listen to what you have to say.

For a long while now, both elected officials and education functionaries have promoted their reform agendas wholly unconcerned with what the public thinks about those agendas.

But as opposition to the Common Core and other radical education reforms ratchets up from both the left and the right, they are more susceptible to public pressure than they have been in the past.

As Haycock said, they're "terrified" right and left will join together to give them a fight they cannot handle - something that is starting to happen in this state.

So what happens to King and Tisch and their reforms in Albany after the state test scores are released to parents in a week and a half?

Well, I doubt they will be removed or resign in disgrace or anything like that, but you can bet parents are going to be outraged over their kids' scores and some of those parents are going to contact their legislators to complain about the state's testing and legislators are going to let NYSED and the Regents know that political pressure from the public is increasing.

The reformers think the release of these test scores is their moment to finally convince the public the system is "failing" and radical changes are needed.

I think they're wrong about that.

I think when parents get the test scores of their own children in a few weeks and see how far the scores have fallen from the year before, they're going to question the education policy of the state and wonder how these tests got developed and scored and they're going to contact their legislators with those questions.

I think when those test scores get released and parents get really angry at their own children's scores, Tisch and King and the rest of the Merry Men and Women in Reform in Albany are going to face a counterattack to their reform movement like they've never seen before.

You can start the ball rolling by contacting your legislators and letting them know what you think about Merryl Tisch, John King, the Common Core curriculum, the test scores King and Tisch rigged and the teacher evaluations tied to those scores.

Here are some contacts:

The reformers think this is their time to finish off the public school system.

Let's disabuse them of that fantasy.

Joining together, parents and teachers, people on the right and people on the left, we can do just that.


  1. I love what you've written recently about the Regents and the Commissioner. I, too, hope parents will see through the nonsense. I just wonder if very many people really see what is happening. Even if there were a move afoot to remove King, there are hundreds of other equally unqualified reformers who could be put into that position in NYSED. The education world is stuffed to the gills with unqualifed reformers. The Regents have plenty of stock to choose from. Who could possibly be next?

    1. Here are some parents who have seen through the NYSED/Regents jive:

      I bet more will join this movement in September after the individual scores are released.

  2. The parents will freak...when their child who once was an honor student , is now only average at best. At least according to the state. These cretins are pigs, and pigs,the way I define them, must go too far...glutons to power,privilege, and wealth. They cant help but go too far ...its one advantage we have in this war ...

    1. The rally in Port Jefferson against the tests is just the first we'll see. When parents get their kids scores - there's going to be a lot of anger directed at the state functionaries. They're doing their best to get that aimed at the teachers and the schools, but propaganda only works well in the abstract here. Parents can see how hard their kids' teachers work, can see how good many of these schools are - and the disconnect between that experience in reality and what Tisch and King are claiming these scores prove is going to be the undoing of the reform movement. That's why they went on such an offensive before the test scores were released. They know this could be their undoing.

  3. Who thinks King knows anything about actual children. Let's see how his kids scored. Wait. Why didn't they take the tests???

    1. The King's children will not be assessed.

      I believe that is in the Oligarch's Handbook.

  4. there is a story in today's Newsday about a rally on Long Island that drew 1500 parents, students and teachers in Port Jefferson. The Supt of that district made a very true comment about they being passengers on an airplane that is being designed in the air. Worth al read.

    1. Thanks for the heads up on that story - posted about it. Great news - and great turnout!

  5. The response that scares the deformers to death is a growing optout movement. As Karen Lewis said: Don't feed the data beast. Imagine a wide parent boycott of the tests. People should join the Change the Stakes group here in NYC. Next meeting: Tues Aug. 27, 5:30 at CUNY (34th and 5th Ave).

  6. Parents are getting ripping mad.

    Here's a comment on my blog in reaction to smug NYSED Commissioner John King's statement on the Common Core and the tests:

    HOW DARE HE! I voted for Obama twice...born and raised in a progressive NYC family. I DO NOT want my children subjected to annual meaningless testing, whose purpose is NOT to instruct children but simply to measure them and their teachers, that takes away from quality instructional time. Tell me these tests will be administered sporadically over the years...such as the 4, 5 and 8 grade schedule pre-NCLB...and I will be happy to support a new set of standards, but this annual ordeal testing that contributes nothing to a child's intellectual growth, in fact, discourages intellectual curiosity...I will fight it to the death. won't subject your OWN children to this monstrosity! If you want to raise the performance of NY children...focus on the poor school districts and give those children what they need to be successful in school...a nutritious breakfast and lunch, extensive social work services, after-school extra-curricular safe havens, anti-drug and anti-gang support. on NYSED Comm. King Paints Common Core Opponents as Tea Partiers in PBS Interview

    1. This is great to see - these smug, arrogant functionaries in Albany have been used to getting their way on all these reforms, but I think they've woken up the parents now, and all the propaganda in the world out of NYSED and the USDOE and their "business leader" compadres in reform isn't going to divert that anger.


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