Thursday, October 31, 2013

Common Core: The New York Fiasco

Now that New York State has rushed to implement the Common Core standards, parents, teachers, and administrators are appalled. Here is a quote from a principal, in fact, New York's High School Principal of the Year in 2013:

I am amused by all of the politicians and bureaucrats who love the Common Core and see it as the salvation of our nation.  I suspect they are supporting standards that they have never studied. I wonder if they have ever read the details that ask first-graders to “compose and decompose plane and solid figures” and “to determine if equations of addition or subtraction are true or false.”  It is likely that much of the support for the Common Core is based on the ideal that we should have national standards that are challenging, yet the devil in the detail is ignored.
When one actually examines the standards and the tests like the sample I provided, it quickly becomes apparent why young students are crying when they do their homework and telling their parents they do not want to go to school.  Many New York children are simply not developmentally ready to do the work. Much of the work is confusing. When you add the pressure under which teachers find themselves to quickly implement the standards and prepare students for standardized testing, it becomes clear why New York parents are expressing outrage at forums across the state.
It is time for New York State to heed, at the very least, the New York State United Teachers’ call for a three-year moratorium on high-stakes testing, thus providing time for New York to re-examine its reforms, and change course.  New York, sadly, has been a canary in the Common Core coal mine, and if we do not heed the danger a generation of students will be lost.


Clisby said...

In case you haven't seen it, the entire test is posted at:

Even if the questions all made sense, I know my son wouldn't have been able to read well enough in first grade to understand what most of it was asking. (I'm no expert on reading levels, but I would guess this test is written at a late-2nd-early 3rd grade reading level. I'm not talking about the math level - I mean the wording.

Now, my daughter could have understood it in first grade, since she was quite an advanced reader - but given that the questions *don't* all make sense, I wouldn't have expected her to score well.

Babbie said...

As a math major I was able to figure out what the questions were asking for, but I certainly couldn't have done so when in the first grade, even as an advanced reader. It's written in "math speak."