Cracking the Common Core

New York’s students will start taking new standardized tests this year in the name of improving performance. So why are kids expected to fail?

— “Every time a college freshman takes a placement exam that first month on campus, he or she is being tested against the very expectations in the Common Core. Every time a high school graduate faces a daunting task on a challenging job … he or she is being tested against the Common Core,” King said in a statement. “And quite frankly, our students are not doing well enough on those real world tests.”

The Common Core State Standards are largely adopted nationwide, with 45 states, the District of Columbia, four territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity at different stages of implementing the new standards.

But NYSUT argues the picture in the classroom is much different. According to a poll conducted by the union earlier this school year that included 1,600 teachers statewide outside of New York City, two-thirds of respondents claimed they were “pressured to move too fast to teach the new standards, while 65 percent said their students lacked access to textbooks and materials aligned to the new standards.”

An explosion of standardized testing

Before implementing changes under the No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law by President George Bush in January 2002, New York had far less standardized testing – just tests in fourth and in eighth grade for English and math.

Under the No Child Left Behind Act, states had to test students annually in English and math from grades three through eight by the 2005-06 school year. By the 2007-08 school years, students were required to test students once in science at elementary, middle and high school levels. The Common Core tests will replace the No Child Left Behind testing.

Including the state-developed Regents tests now necessary for graduation, students taking all the required tests will by their senior year in high school have completed at least 74 hours of standardized testing, according to an October NYSUT release.

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