Over the summer, I was part of a team across New York State collecting signatures for the Stop Common Core ballot line in New York State. A few in the five boroughs struggled, too many people in New York City are just unaware of the impact of Common Core and the unending testing that goes along with it.
It looks like that is starting to change. The meeting was scheduled for 9 AM on a work day, a tactic often used to make sure the masses cannot attend, but it happened, and people were there to complain for a two hour session.
One of the biggest marketing points of Common Core is to make students “College and Career Ready”. Unfortunately, the NYSED and the Board of Regents made earning a diploma much harder for special education students. Now, in order to earn any diploma, a student has to pass five regents, one math, one science, ELA, US History, and Global History and Geography. There are some accommodations, a 55 score and the ability to power points from one exam to another, but students still need five regents. The class of 2015 now has to
1) deal with a whole new, convoluted way of teaching;
2) students who were already trying to pass regents for the last three school years
3) tests that are poorly worded (ELA sample test questions with ambiguous wording)
4) an Common core aligned Algebra 1 test with a cut score of 33
I reiterate these points because the politicians in attendance may be listening, but still need to be clear on what the problem is.
“There should be something in place for students,” agreed Assemblyman Joe Borelli (R-South Shore).
State Senator Andrew Lanza (R-South Shore) proposed offering incentives to businesses who hire special ed graduates for “meaningful” positions. “We need to refocus, to take a broader look at skill sets, and maybe offer incentives to employees to hire,” he said.
Will all due respect to State Senator Lanza and Assemblyman Joe Borelli, the immediate need for these students is to not “put something in place” or “offer incentives to businesses”. The immediate need is to remove high stakes testing as the sole means to earn a diploma in New York State.