Friday, December 19, 2014

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The Call Blog: Common Core Testing Begins

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Everyone seems to agree that American schools - not just City schools - have to improve. We have to make our children better in science and math so they can be competitive on a world level. The Common Core's intent may be good, but the roll-out was a disaster. If we want to implement tougher standards, teachers and schools need to be given the right tools and resources to teach those standards. There's no shortcut to success.

Public school students in third through eighth grades started taking English tests based on the new Common Core curriculum today. This is the second year of three-day testing of the more difficult learning standards. Math exams are scheduled for later this month.

The Department of Education says 425,000 students began taking the tests today, but an estimated 1,000 are "opting out" this year. Critics say the roll-out of Common Core was done too fast and educators weren't given appropriate material or guidance to teach the new standards.

But how much will the scores matter? Under the State budget passed late last night, a revision to Common Core means test results will remain off student transcripts for the next four years. Governor Cuomo even said, "Parents can now exhale, students can now exhale, the test scores don't count." What do you say?

If your child is taking this year's Common Core tests, what have the last few weeks of preparation been like? Is too much of an emphasis placed on standardized tests? What does it say about the roll-out of the new curriculum that Governor Cuomo said the test scores don't count?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

Educate the children and quit playing games. All of the cosmetic test result non tranparency will hurt the children in the long run. Cuomo needs to be voted out.

Park Hill

If the tests scores don't count, why are students still taking these exams??
and what about all the money that is been spend, at taxpayer expense, in preparing these totally meaningless tests.

Bay Ridge

The Common Core testing should matter because it would show how intelligent the students are and if they're learing anything in the classroom and if their teachers know what they're teaching. The educators should of been given the tests earlier so they can review with the students, The parents have to help their children study to every night, these tests are preparing the students for high school and college. I don't know why Gov Cuomo said the test scores don't count, when i was going to school back in the day all test scores counted.

Upper West Side

Teaching to the test, Common Core. Yet two more stupid interferences in education.

Port Richmond

The Governor's quote: "Parents can now exhale, students can now exhale, the test scores don't count" is intentionaly misleading. While the scores may not be going on student transcripts - whatever those are - they CAN still be used for middle and high school admissions consideration in NYC (as long as they are not the only or the primary thing considered); they will also be used by the state to evaluate teachers and schools.

Aside from time one's school does or does not spend directly prepping for these tests, students lose valuable curricular time with their teachers during the administration of these tests. They also lose instructional time because schools are forced to pull teachers out of the classroom to go grade the tests - AND the principals pay out of their school-based budgets for substitutes to cover those classes! Pearson got a sweet deal there. If Cuomo actually believed the tests don't count, then how can he, the self-anointed "student lobbyist" justify these costs?


If the tests don’t matter then why are they taking them to begin with. The Governor Himself
said that they are not necessary. How can the students be preparing for these tests when the
scores don’t even count.
Why is it that DeBlasio is hiring bilingual teachers to teach the Pre=K students English when
the should be learning this at home. When do people start to help themselves. It is a free
This is a glorified day care and not Pre-K. How many people do they need to teach, feed and
change diapers.
The standard tests are tuff enough to take because the material on the tests supposedly is not what they
have learned/discussed in class.

I have no idea just where this is going and where it will eventually end up.
It seems as though these politicians just tax and spend and so it goes.

On a lighter note Baseball is back = thank goodness !!

Thank you John,

Morris Park

The CC is not a curriculum. The CC are a set of minimum standards.


If the SAT/ACT tests are approximately half of a college student's application, giving your kid more practice with standardized tests, earlier is better. Learning is not magic. It's determination and practice.


The role out of the common core has not been executed uniformly and/or particularly well. Tests should be used to assess whether or not students have learned specific material, not to measure how well kids fill in boxes for meaningless questions. It's about time that there is a common core curriculum for K-12 throughout the state and maybe even the country and it's about time the SAT was revamped to measure achievement level for students who have been taught the same material, instead of using a test that rewards the kids who go to private school and/or pay for private tutoring.

Audrey C.

The misinformation out there is staggering.

WHY must eight year olds take tests that are twice as long as the SAT? And have
to take these tests year after year from third through eighth grades?

Among many problems with the overemphasis on tests, schools must scramble
to administer them. Every teacher who can administer to children who are entitled to extra
time or accommodations has to leave his/her classroom, and this is disruptive to all the grades in the building.

Wouldn't two hours of English Language Arts and two hours of math be sufficient?

Parents don't get the scores until August. There is no narrative report of student's strengths and weaknesses. Principals, teachers, and parents can't see the questions. This doesn't help the children.

And the state education department sets the cut scores after all the tests have been graded. The process is opaque and should be subject to a Freedom of Information Act request. I predict there will be a slight rise in scores this year compared to last year (but not too high).

I completely support the parents who refuse. The State Education Department and Governor Cuomo aren't sufficiently addressing our concerns at all. Test refusal is a national movement.

E, Parent
West Side

My son is completely stressed out having nightmares. All the teachers have been doing is preparing the students for the test with sample test, book reports and vacation package however it has been more consistent since the winter recess. The work is completely different and difficult. If the test scores don't count then why are they stressing out the children making them take this exams.


I am a parent who is old enough to remember social promotion, so yes I am a proponent of standardized testing as a benchmark to evaluate their understanding of material. My child attended a Charter School and WE were given our child's weak areas and what they were going to do to improve and target those areas based on standardized test scores.

We have the charter school hedge funders to thank for this and other horrific trends in education today, and they show no better results. What a scam.


Test results don't count on students' transcripts BUT they will be part of the teacher evaluations! There is also no evaluative pay off for the students! Sooooo, WHY????!!!!!

Park Slope

It's interesting that the test doesn't count for the students this year. But it does count towards teacher's scores. Nice double standard. We have Cuomo to thank for this. It seems that Cuomo has picked up where Bloomberg left off concerning pro test and pro charter schools.
Oh - it's an election year for Cuomo.


Should we all thank Governor Cuomo for his admission that the Common Core is flawed as parents' protest? Does he really care about the Parents with children in public schools or the students themselves? Last night he and the Senate Majority slammed through changes to the state budget benefiting charters schools at the expense of public schools. By banning the charging of rent to charter schools and tying the hands of Mayor de Blasio with restrictions on co-locations he has once again shown to all that he is not or never has been the supporter and fighter for public school students. NO -- he is the fighter for all hedge-fund back charter school lobbyists as well as Eva Moskowitz. Has anyone realized how much Success Academy has donated to Governor Cuomo's campaign? Great so instead of unions running schools like everyone thinks we will let money, corporations and greed takeover.

I will never vote for Andrew Cuomo for any elected office again -- he is despicable!

Upper East Side



I am a public school teacher. I do not agree that standardized testing is fair. It's a snapshot of a student.
The common core standards are very rigorous. They were just introduced in the classrooms last year. Students should not be tested when they have been learning based on completely different standards since they were in kindergarten!
Parents should opt out!

East Elmhurst

parents boo hoo about tests. when we were in school. tests determined if you moved on to the next grade. and our parents helped us and worked with the school. thats why foreign students do better than americans, we were reading in first grade.


So sad, those parents are teaching their children how to give up on the difficulties they will face their lives. Example: hear you complaining and speaking negative. They are going to do the same, and give up. Also, doeasn`t matter who they vote for. I feel this will continue for many years to come. Parents please stop it! And the teachers who are encouraging The parents are stressing out the children more. That is why they are so scared. Talk positive so your children can think


I am an English Department Chair on Long Island. Our students were fine today, but make no mistake, these tests are a politically motivated attempt to create a national curriculum based on a plutocratic belief that those with economic power know what's best for the lives of those they see as beneath them.


I have a 4th grader and I agree on the kids being tested maybe parents should focus on disconnecting from social media and cutting off tv time and stop waisting money on video games... And spend some time in helping their kids with whatever they struggling with in school it's not just the school responsibility to teach our children it's a partnership... Education starts at home


Information needs to be reinforced with hw at home. What role do parents on reinforcing the class material. Teachers can teach but parents need to participate with the learning.


I have a 4th grader and I agree on the kids being tested maybe parents should focus on disconnecting from social media and cutting off tv time and stop waisting money on video games... And spend some time in helping their kids with whatever they struggling with in school it's not just the school responsibility to teach our children it's a partnership... Education starts at home

Hi I think that the state tests were fine. Not too hard, but not too easy. If It's too easy, you tend to get low scores. Then again, If it's too hard, you stress out, but tend to get good scores.


I think the common core is good to see how you child is doing compare to the others kids.
Sent from my iPhone

Sunset Park

The charter schools have no union that is why they can pick only the best students. The state exam is not what makes a student or a teacher There are some students who are bad test takers. There is a difference charter vs public school terrible what a disconnect


For all those that defend higher standards by way of standardized testing, they may want to look at Finland's education policies. The country's test scores outrank the US's because it has de-emphasized standardized testing (kids take only one major test--at age 16) but no one will mention their success when arguing that US kids need to be competitive with the rest of the world.

East Harlem

I have a 3 grader in east Harlem public school system district 4. The past 2 months has been stressful she's been crying and having panic attacks. I think that the board of ed should find different ways to test children. When It comes to parents teaching and helping children at home that can be a problem as well. The common core teaches children differently.we add vertical they make them add horizontal. I ask the teachers how do you add your bills.


We did not opt out because the tests were hard. We opted out because the tests are invalid measures that are used to evaluate teachers and invalidate children. My son's disability is not his teacher's fault., and she shouldn't lose her job because of it.

I just heard this person called Margarita talked about testing about testing and how all kids are given an "equal" chance to do well in the test... Where is she from? Mars? I have been teaching in a testing grade (4th ) in the Bronx, for the last 9 years, and there is anything but equal opportunity in this system. From the lack of resources to the testing of kids that have only been in the country for a year! How is that a "self confidence" builder? "I think i did good".. She needs to get back in the classroom and see the reality.


Doesn't Zarzon have 2 more days of testing left?! That child needs to go to bed.

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