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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Common Core Disorder Hits the Burbs

ALERT: This just in from a suburban parent in New York State.  Does your child have any of the following symptoms:



-Sudden or gradual loss of passion for school
-Loss of interest in school or learning
-Math anxiety
-Writing avoidance
-Learned resistance to reading
-Sudden drop in confidence
-Makes statements such as, "I am basic," or "I am below basic."
-Sadness or anger towards school or learning
-Stomachaches, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting

If so, your child may be suffering from what is widely being referred to as Common Core Disorder. Common Core Disorder is affecting children in grades K-12 in states that have adopted the National Common Core Standards (such as New York State) or adapted them and created their own (such as the Pennsylvania Common Core State Standards).


All school districts are being affected, even in the most affluent suburbs.
In this open letter to parents of children throughout New York State, New York State Principals announce,  "Your child is so much more than a test score, and we know it."

Wow. That is the kind of straight shooting we need around here. Everyone knows that New York State used to really value their tests. When I was a kid I felt badly that my friends from NY had to take Regent Exams. But they did, and no one seemed to suffer from Regents Disorder...

The principals say, "Testing Has Increased Dramatically: We know that our students are spending more time taking State tests than ever before. Since 2010, the amount of time spent on average taking the 3-8 ELA and Math tests has increased by a whopping 128%! The increase has been particularly hard on our younger students, with third graders seeing an increase of 163%!"

I'd say my kids have been hit especially hard here in Pennsylvania in grades 3, 5, and 8. And now with the Keystone Graduation Exams, all of high school seems to be one big, stressful series of high stakes standardized tests.






The NY State principals also report, "The Tests were Too Long: We know that many students were unable to complete the tests in the allotted time. Not only were the tests lengthy and challenging, but embedded field test questions extended the length of the tests and caused mental exhaustion, often before students reached the questions that counted toward their scores. For our Special Education students who receive additional time, these tests have become more a measure of endurance than anything else.

Hey, they did that in Pennsylvania's state tests last year, too. The tests was more about endurance than assessing what the kids knew. My older daughter had to go to the nurse at the end of day one of a state test. And WHY are they embedding questions that DO NOT COUNT (field test questions) in these high stakes tests? Is there no respect for our kids? Private school students do not have to endure this, and neither should ours.



These tests are literally making kids sick: "Children have Reacted Viscerally to the Tests: We know that many children cried during or after testing, and others vomited or lost control of their bowels or bladders. Others simply gave up. One teacher reported that a student kept banging his head on the desk, and wrote, 'This is too hard,' and 'I can’t do this,' throughout his test booklet."

And setting aside compassion for a moment, we don't know, "How Much this is Costing Already-Strained Taxpayers: We don’t know how much public money is being paid to vendors and corporations that the (state) contracts to design assessments, nor do we know if the actual designers are educationally qualified."


Thank you to the New York State Principals who were brave and bold and honest. 
It takes true leadership to call it like you see it. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends of our children, it is time to object. This has gone on too long and been taken too far. No one wants this kind of education for their children.

The cure for Common Core Disorder? Parents and loved ones who stand on top of tall buildings and shout that they have had enough. Tell them to stop overtesting our children. This isn't learning. This isn't student centered. This isn't accountability. They can't fool us. And they clearly can't fool the principals of New York State.



The principal's end their open letter with the following. It is what I want our school leaders from the District Office to the classroom to say to us. These principal's rock:

"Please know that we, your school principals, care about your children and will continue to do everything in our power to fill their school days with learning that is creative, engaging, challenging, rewarding and joyous. We encourage you to dialogue with your child’s teachers so that you have real knowledge of his skills and abilities across all areas. If your child scored poorly on the test, please make sure that he does not internalize feelings of failure. We believe that the failure was not on the part of our children, but rather with the officials of the New York State Education Department. These are the individuals who chose to recklessly implement numerous major initiatives without proper dialogue, public engagement or capacity building. They are the individuals who have failed."

Brave. Bold. Honest. Thank you.
 

 

1 comment:

  1. It's disheartening to know that the joy of teaching- connecting with students who are individuals with passion, drive, and determination to embrace knowledge-is quickly being replaced with the symptoms of "CCD." Sadly, those same symptoms are also impacting the teachers. I applaud the administrators of NY, and I hope that their stance brings hope to other states.

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