Testing season is under way for students in 22 of the states that adopted the Common Core State Standards.
Most are taking part in a “practice run” of the assessments, essentially a field test that will be used to make final tweaks before the program is fully implemented for the 2014-2015 school year. The test will not count for or against the students, though in some states, it will affect teacher evaluations.
And, as perhaps the most controversial aspect of the new federal education program begins, the critics have once again come out in force.
But now, the testing phase has brought about a fresh round of condemnations, including one of the most popular – that the new English Language Arts test is too difficult.
In Brooklyn, two principals and numerous teachers protested the new assessment.
“No one has ever seen a test that more poorly assessed the ability of their students… The test had nothing to do with the Common Core State Standards, nothing to do with what students were taught in school,” said Avni Bhatia, a P.S. 321 teacher.
And on Monday, The Washington Post picked up an essay by Travis Durfee, a teacher in New York, who described a similar experience with the Common Core-aligned standardized tests.
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He said, “When you pose this question of the state tests: Do the evaluations reflect what we want students doing and learning at school? The answer is simple. No.”
Failing the Future Generation
Consequently, some parents have held their kids out of the controversial new tests. A self-reported tally of New York school districts reports that 33,275 kids had “opted out” so far, which is an incredibly disheartening statistic.
Students have now lost an entire year of school as educators struggle to implement the flawed curriculum, and, on top of that, they’ve either been subjected to an ill-conceived test or held out as a sign of protest that they likely don’t even understand.
Both scenarios are a tragedy for young students, especially when considering that Common Core was meant to put American students back on top in global education rankings… yet has likely only buried them further down the list.
The culmination of all of this can be seen in Indiana, which recently became the first state to pull away from Common Core after initially adopting its standards. It’s hard to say whether the move will trigger a landslide of similar actions, but it certainly seems that way.
You see, there are now 59 bills across the nation that would limit, delay, or stop the implementation of Common Core Standards, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
That means Common Core’s end result could be a splintered education system comprised of one federally recommended curriculum and 50 states with varying degrees of implementation. For the states that forego Common Core completely, there’s little federal regulation to keep them moving down a path similar to the rest of the country.
I truly hope that’s not the future of American education.
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