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Many Questions to be asked about Common Core Assessment Results
for English and Math from the State of New York
By Orlean Koehle, August 9, 2013

New York’s Common Core Assessment (test) results for English Language Arts and Math for grades 3-8 that were taken April, 2013, were released August 7. The results are not good and cause many questions to be asked: 

What Happened to Commonality Among all the States? The Assessment results for New York were almost the same as those for Kentucky, the first State to adopt Common Core standards and the first to take the test a year ago.  The children in both States are down in their English and math proficiency by 30%, and yet Kentucky is saying that they created their own test, based on Common Core, but not totally the same as New York’s.  How can that be? The whole point behind Common Core was to have commonality among all the States, so how can one State create their own test?  

The Results were Predicted?  The second question to be asked is how did both States end up with almost exactly the same results - a decline of about 30%, and that these scores were actually predicted?  The New York Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. stated a year ago in the spring of 2012, “the scores would likely drop by 30%.” His Deputy Commissioner Ken Slenz also stated in March, 2013, a month before the test, that ELA and math proficiency rates would fall between 30 and 37% of students scoring proficient.”  Amazing, they did!
Do you think this was not only predicted but test scores were finagled so they would come out as stated?  Is this an example of what is known as “out-come based education?”  The outcome is predicted and the education is so geared to make it come true.

Why Were the Scores so much Lower?  Mr. King’s explanation of how this happened is similar to the comments made last year by Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday that the new results aren’t representative of a decrease in student performance, rather it is because “the higher expectations in the Common Core Standards offer a more competitive baseline for measuring how prepared students are for college and careers.”  Rochester School District was a piloted Common Core program where they had the entire CC program.  Their district did even worse on the test with 95% failure.

Could these Results be Fraudulent – Deliberately Lowered to Achieve an Agenda?  Many people are starting to question the accuracy of the results including superintendents and principals.  Following this article is a letter written by Joseph V. Rella, the Superintendent of the Comsewogue School District in Port Jefferson Station, New York, to State Senator Kenneth La Valle, in which he questions what really is going on and pleads for the senator’s help. 
He quotes from Principal Carol Barris, the award-winning Principal of South Side High in Long Island, New York, whose article about the assessment results appeared in the Washington Post, August 7.  Both of them raise suspicions of what is really going on.  Mr. Rella states, “If it sounds too good to be true, it is,” and conversely, “if it sounds too bad to be true, it’s not!”  Were the student test results deliberately lowered to fit the predicted outcome of only “30 - 37 percent proficiency? 

Why? What Benefit would it be to Have Low Test Results?   Mr. Rella quotes Principal Carol Barris: 

  1. There is tremendous money to be made: “…test makers, book publishers, data management corporations – all making tremendous profits from chaotic change.”  “When the tests scores drop, they prosper.  When the tests change, they prosper.  When schools scramble to buy materials to raise scores, they prosper.”  “There are curriculum developers earning millions to create scripted lessons to turn teachers into delivers of modules in alignment with the Common Core (or to replace teachers with computer software carefully designed for such alignment).”
  2. To create the appearance that Common Core is as wonderful as it has been lauded to be.  By making the test scores look bad this year, by next year when the assessment is given again, the scores will be much higher proving that Common Core is working and all the fuss and bother and chaotic changes and enormous costs are worth it.
  3. To “dismantle the public schools:” Mr. Rella states, “Clearly the agenda is to shake confidence in our public schools [so] that other alternatives (charter schools, vouchers, etc.) look more attractive. It is nothing less than the programattic dismantling of the public schools!”  

Why dismantle public schools and encourage charter schools?  Mr. Rella does not answer that question.  But I believe the number one reason to make charter schools look better is to destroy local control and representative government over our schools – what every good socialist country has done.    In the majority of States, when a public school becomes a charter school, it no longer comes under the jurisdiction of an elected school board.  It is now under the direction of a private group, a business, or a corporation that has taken over, but it still receives tax paying dollars to help run it.  If parents have complaints, who do they go to?  If there is no longer an elected official over the school, there is no accountability to the parents.  We now have education without representation.    

To promote public/private partnerships:  When you have a corporation now running the school but still receiving tax paying dollars, you have a partnership of a private entity with the public (government), which is really fascism, exactly what was going on under Mussolini in Italy and under Hitler in Nazi Germany.  Why is that so bad?  In America, along with the three branches of government that were so designed to keep a check and balance on each other’s power, business has traditionally served as a fourth check on the power and corruption of big government in our nation.  When you have both big business combined with big government then there is no check and balance.  Together they become bigger, more powerful and more corrupt. 

The Sad Effect such Faulty Test Results will have on the Aspirations of Young children:  The children in New York spent all year preparing for the test, and in April, they spent two grueling days, four hours a day taking the assessment.  Mr. Rella stated, “Today we crossed a major line.  The majority of our young children will receive the clear message that since these tests are predictors of college success -- they are not college material in the 3rd, 4th, 5th grades???!!!  That message is unconscionable.  It is hurtful to our children.  I pray it is not lasting.”

We are being Deprived of our Rights:  At the end of his letter that Superintendent Rella sent to Senator La Valle, he stated the following sincere plea: "If you believe that any of this is valid, then please help us.  We are being systematically deprived of our rights as Americans to appeal.  No one is listening.”

If You Don’t Believe there is Fraud, Remove me from my Office:   If not, then I request on behalf of our residents, your constituents, you initiate proceedings to have me be removed as Superintendent. If this assessment system is truly valid, then during my tenure as Superintendent, our students went from 90% proficient to about 30% proficient.  At best this is gross negligence, at worst this is willful malpractice.”

 

You can read the full letter here.