Friday, April 17, 2015

The Governor And NYSED Only Have ThemselvesTo Blame On the "Opt Out" Explosion.

It appears that approximately 200,000 students have "opted out" of the badly flawed high-stakes Common Core tests in English.  In Long Island almost 50% of the students "opted out".  While the numbers in New York City are small, only 2,500 so far "opted out", out of 400,000.  However, some schools had high rates of students "opting out".  For example the Earth School had 72% of their students "opting out".  

The Governor and the NYSED blamed the explosion of "opt outs" to the teacher unions, especially, the State umbrella organization, NYSUT.  While some of that might be true, the majority of parents decided to "opt out" their children because the tests did not realistically determine their academic growth and couldn't understand why the State placed such emphasis on a secret and questionable test that is simply "junk Science".  Moreover, parents talk to their child's teacher and even the highly effective teacher tells the parent that they spend the entire second semester on "test prep"  because their child's ability to do well on the test affects their teacher's evaluation.  Therefore, the children, rather than learning new and interesting  topics, is subjected to unrelenting "test prep" and just plain hate school.

Furthermore, the NYSED determines the cut scores and can manipulate them to meet their political goals.  If they want to show that 10% of the teachers should be rated "ineffective", than raise the cut scores to achieve that goal.  Since the formula used is top secret and the fudge factors used to account for social economic and school effects requires a super computer to determine and can't be independently verified, the SED can do as they please to manipulate the results.

Finally, the questions used are way too difficult and not relevant to real academic achievement.  Real educators have little or no input into the tests.  Instead the State allows a private company to develop and maintain the test without educators looking at and evaluating the imposed tests. Some of the questions are so difficult that educated adults have trouble answering them and we expect our 3-8 graders to pass the test?  Here are some examples.  Here. Here, and Here. In this year''s eighth grade test here are some vocabulry words used:

Vocabulary words from the 8th grade test this week:

8th grade:
Habituation techniques
Per se
Litigious society
'Assuage paradoxical parental anxieties'
'Far from the tax brackets of the south street seaport'
These are words & phrases from a test for 13 year olds.

The bottom line. The NYSED Common Core tests are worthless, punitive, don't show real academic growth, and actually takes away from real academic achievement. Everybody should "OPT OUT".


Anonymous said...

The Common Core tests were created to help the Ruling Class close the schools, privatize them, break the Union, replace well-paid teachers with poorly paid teachers, make teaching a transient profession, and eventually allow for the Ruling Class to make children's education into their newest cash cow. All of this of course is being augmented by expensive ad campaigns that depict teachers as being lazy and stupid thereby agitating the public by making them believe that we are getting something for nothing. What they are doing is undemocratic and unconstitutional. I can't believe that they have gotten this far. I'm glad to see the large numbers of parents choosing to opt out. It means that they have finally woken up and realized that the tests were created to hurt their kids not help them as has been claimed. In the long run, if the Ruling class succeeds, kids will be taught by novice teachers who will be bounced back and forth between being labeled effective and developing until they quit.Additionally, they will be bussed in from far away since they will also not be able to afford a place to live near their school, both because of low pay and high rents. We must not allow this!

admin said...

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Anonymous said...

I didn't discuss the test in great detail with my 8th graders, so I had no idea about the level of vocabulary used. They just told me that day one was brutally hard, and many of my group didn't finish. I would say at least half of the class bubbled in "B" or "C" for all the questions on the last story.