Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why Common Core Cannot Work For Regents Science Under The Existing NYCDOE Policy.

Its common knowledge that the New York State flawed roll out of the "Common Core" standards has resulted in some very dismal 2013 test scores for grades 3 to 8.  Its obvious to many educators that the State's attempt to repair a plane while in flight has ended up crash landing, even if the NYSED doesn't want to admit it.  Now the "Common Core" standards are being introduced to the high schools.  However, for classes that end with a Regents the inclusion of "Common Core" material is problematical since many of the Regents have not been modified for the "Common Core" and the curriculum associated with these Regents remains unchanged.

Since I am a Science teacher, let's see the problems associated with the implementation of the "Common Core" materials into the existing curriculum.  First, a majority of schools, under pressure to save money and limit the amount of teachers they need to hire, have reduced the number of days for Science instruction from a 5-1 schedule (five days of instruction plus one lab) to a 4-1 schedule (four days of instruction and one lab).  The result is that the students have almost a month less of instruction days and the teachers find themselves under time pressure to finish the curriculum by the end of the school year.  Where once, Science teachers had almost a month to review for the Regents, just finishing the curriculum is a small victory.   Anecdotal evidence has shown that schools that went to the 4-1 schedule resulted in a significantly lower Regents passing rate. This is primarily due to the DOE's misguided "fair student funding" program  that encourages principals to hire fewer teachers with their budget in mind.

Second, the Regents have remained essentially "unchanged" and the Science teachers must cover the multiple units and topics that show up on the Regents.  If Science teachers are pressured to include the more detailed "Common Core" standards into their teaching of the subject, the units and topics will take longer to teach and add to the time pressure these Science teachers already have in the 4-1 schedule.  The result would be that some teachers will skip topics in a unit in the hopes that the Regents doesn't have too many questions on the topics that the teacher skipped.  In other words, its like "robbing Peter to pay Paul" and to me this is not allowing for masterly of the subject by the students.

Finally, principals have found out that neither the DOE or UFT cares or bothered to crack down on schools using teachers not certified in the content specialty that is required by State Education Law.  Look at PS 106, there was apparently no Special Education Teacher for the Special Education students and nobody seemed to care or do anything about it.  How about Queens Vocational and Richmond Hill, amoung many others, who uses non-certified teachers in that content specialty to teach Earth Science?  Can you image asking these teachers to include more rigorous and in-depth instruction in a subject that they are barely able to understand themselves?  In quite a few cases these teachers are only one step ahead of the students they are teaching the course to.

For "Common Core" to successfully be incorporated into a high school Regents curriculum, the following issues must be resolved.

  • Eliminate the "fair student funding formula" and allow principals to hire the appropriate amount of teachers for their school.
  • Go back to the 5-1 Science schedule like the rest of the State.
  • All teachers need to be certified in the content specilty that they are teaching in.
  • The Regents must be radically changed by including less units and topics to accommodate the "Common Core" standards.
Presently, the failure of the DOE to do the right thing for the NYC students has hurt student academic achievement and incorporating "Common Core" into the classroom without fixing the existing policy problems in the City schools will only result in the plane crashing.


Anonymous said...

The plane has crashed already.

GeoKaro said...

Great point about how the Common Core edges out time for science.

There are additional problems. In the K-8 level there's been a mania to test in English and math, and thus to just teach to those tests/subjects. This is a problem that Hillary Clinton realized in 2007, and it of course has worsened since then especially with CCSS.

Science loses out, particularly in neighborhoods and districts in which the school day is basically a ramp-up session for ELA and math.

How are students supposed to get anything close to a 65 if they're barely aware of terms such as beaker, abiotic, kinetic, Celsius, etc? Is it any wonder that the worst Regents passing rates are in science and social studies, subjects that depend on a good measure of exposure to fundamental concepts in the elementary and middle grades?

Also, some hallmarks of the Common Core have been having people with little or no K-12 experience write the standards. Accordingly in the standards we see lots of the idea of drill seargent/tiger mom thinking, 'get tough with the kids, it will only make them compete harder.' The writers and validators obviously derail science and social studies agendas with English focus and have approaches that illustrate hardly a basic understanding of how to teach younger minds.
Problem is, people voluntarily enter and participate in college, but K-12 is mandatory.

Anonymous said...

The common core was designed by a bunch of bozos sitting on their toilet one day thinking of how they can come up with the magical solution as to our schools. These bozos are the same jerks that sat in front of you in high school...yeah you remember those types the ones who stunk of body odor, huge thick glasses, no social skills just a bumbling bunch of jerks with no people skills and runny noses. Now, these idiots are the ones who came up with "the common core" yeah that sounds like a great reform fellas.....first you need to wash your clothes and blow your nose you hairy goons

Anonymous said...


The de Blasio administration is blocking the opening or expansion of three Success Academy charter schools run by Eva Moskowitz, sources said Thursday.
The charter schools received approval last year from former Mayor Mike Bloomberg to operate rent-free in existing city buildings for the upcoming school year starting in the fall.
But at De Blasio’s behest, the Department of Education conducted a review and rolled back the “co-locations” in buildings that also house traditional public schools, two sources close to the charter school community said.
The actions block a new Success Academy elementary charter from opening at the August Martin HS complex in Jamiaca, Queens.
The administration’s decision also prevents another Success charter elementary school from opening at Murry Bergtraum HS near City Hall.
Meanwhile, fifth and sixth graders from Success Academy Middle School will no longer be able to attend classes at the PS 149/Sojourner Truth building at West 118th Street. The fifth graders are temporarily located in another building.
School choice advocates claim it’s another example of de Blasio’s war on charters.
The administration already redirected $210 million in building funds dedicated to charter schools to pre-K expansion and other initiatives to relieve overcrowding.
The mayor had declared a freeze on future co-locations of charter schools pending an overhaul of the review process.
He also vowed to charge rent to the better-resourced charter schools that are currently being provided free space.
Charter schools are independently managed but publicly funded schools. But they’re only entitled to state operating aid, not capital dollars to construct or lease their own facilities.
The cumulative impact of de Blasio’s actions virtually halts charter school expansions.
But charter school opponents applauded the move.

Anonymous said...

This wonder woman moskowitch has the balls to think she is owed the space in schools....When the judge reads the complaint he or she will laugh hysterically,,,,its the law that charters MUST PAY RENT CLUELESS SUCCESS ORANGE BOSSUMS

Anonymous said...

I give all my bitch students at least a 65, even if they barely attend. My scholarship is doing well. I pass em all. Screw it!!!! Pass Pass Pass I just don't care. What's the point if failing these dopes in high school? 18 years old with 11 credits? There's plenty like that. High school is a mess. I can't stop laughing as I drive home to Rockland. By own kids in elementary are on a higher level. Sad but true. Screw it, I'll pass em all just so I don't have to write a separate report as to why. Rather give em the 65.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see the new commercials promoting charter schools and claiming DeBlasio is hurting the student?. Roflll

Anonymous said...

All charter schools do is suck the money and the resources out of public schools like blood sucking parasites. If the hidden ulterior motives and agendas of people like the Walton's and Koch Bros. weren't so evil and sinister, the contention that charter schools are successful and better than public schools would be hysterically funny. The unadulterated lies, myths, and fallacies contained within the charter school supporters' bag of propaganda tricks is amazing. What the public doesn't know is that charter schools can freely pick and choose their students. They can severely limit the number of special needs students they accept (thus artificially pumping up test scores), and virtually have no ESL or bilingual students. At the first sign of students with behavioral issues, they can quickly and expeditiously send the kid packing.... to where else? Public Schools. Any numbers that charter schools use to demonstrate their success, is to say the least skewed. To say the most, charter schools are no good for anybody except people like Evil Moskowitz and her merry union busting band of evil capitalists who get richer every time they open another one of their resource and cash sucking schools in a public school building. Let them pay through the nose in rent. The 12 year free lunch is over.

Bronx ATR said...

Those commercials are playing constantly. Also the post had no less than 4 incredibly biased articles blasting DeBlasio and the teachers union. Hey,UFT, how about a response?

Marry Jones said...

Too bad our government doesn’t see that there are so many problems with implementing Common Core. Honestly, I do believe that they know about all this, but at some point it is so convenient to make another decision. And no one really cares what teachers might find difficult to accomplish. Well, but no one, you know what I mean. Teachers, parents, students….everyone struggles. This is not fair but this is exactly how USA operates on daily basis. P.S.: Check me at EssayOnlineStore For Academic Students