This is Not a Referendum on the Standards; but It Really Should Be.

NYSED and Commissioner Elia still refuse to listen to the valid concerns of teachers and parents in New York State for the Common Core State Standards.

“This is not a referendum on the standards. Only comments tied to a specific standard will be considered. The objectives of this review are to:

  1. increase awareness and understanding of New York’s current standards in ELA and math that were adopted in 2011; and
  2. gather actionable feedback from all New Yorkers as part of the department’s regular review process of the academic standards with an eye toward continuous improvement.”

Okay, so we can only comment on each individual standard.  But, the problem is not always with a particular standard, but where a standard fits with in the context of other standards or grade level.  A major problem with Common Core is the standards are wonky, above grade level or just all over the place.

For example:

I have been reading though the AimHighNY math standards starting with

The Real Number System

I found this one in an Algebra instruction sheet pre CC.

Explain how the definition of the meaning of rational exponents follows from extending the properties of integer exponents to those values, allowing for a notation for radicals in terms of rational exponents.

I found this one in EngageNY Algebra II (specifically) 

Rewrite expressions involving radicals and rational exponents using the properties of exponents.

I found this one in an Algebra guide pre CC under; pre-Algebra review.
Use properties of rational and irrational numbers.

Explain why the sum or product of two rational numbers is rational; that the sum of a rational number and an irrational number is irrational; and that the product of a nonzero rational number and an irrational number is irrational.

When teachers talk about the fact that the standards are in “disorder” and it is unclear which standards will be taught on which test, this is exactly what they are talking about.

How are teachers supposed to teach to an Algebra 1 test for students to pass in order to graduate when it is not clear how the standards are supposed to fit within the grade level context?  NYSED took the Common Core State Standards as is, with no thought as to how they fit into the NYS Regents exam system.  How did this happen?  Because there were no seasoned educators, no veteran high school math teachers included in the process.  Instead, $12.9 million was pumped into EngageNY modules that do not line up with how NYS’s education model works.

Another example this week, it has been reported that the CCSS 4th grade math  standards do not line with the NAEP exam, resulting in a decline in test scores.  How does this happen?  By education reformers assuming they know better then the teachers in the classroom.

So, how are Common Core standards higher, better, if they were not carefully thought through and vetted?

Or, are these just inherent flaws in the entire standards driven education model?

Now, let us talk

Comments to NYSED on the 2 Regents low pass waiver.

Please take the time to cut and paste these comments and send to the email address:

 spedpubliccomment@mail.nysed.gov

Members of NY STOP GRAD HST respectivly request members of NYS Regents to vote Yes to amendment ID. NO.EDU-40-15-00007-P; Regarding Students With Disabilities Diploma Requirements.
Specifically we request a vote during the upcoming December 2015 meeting in order to allow year 2016 potential graduates additional safety nets to successfully meet their graduation requirements.

Currently there are three safety net options available to students to graduate with a local diploma;

1. Low Pass Safety Net Option: 5 required Regents exams with a score
of 55 or better.
2. Regents Competency Test (RCT) Safety Net Option: This option,
which is available to students who entered grade 9 prior to September
2011, allows a student with a disability to receive a local diploma based
on a passing score on the RCT if student does not achieve a score of 55 or
higher on the Regents examination.
3. Compensatory Safety Net Option: For students not relying on RCTs,
a student with a disability may receive a local diploma if he/she scores between 45-54 on one or more of the five required Regents exams, other
than the English language arts (ELA) or mathematics, but achieves a score
of 65 or higher on another required Regents exam which can compensate
for the lower score. A score of 65 or higher on a single examination may
not be used to compensate for more than one examination for which a
score of 45-54 is earned.

We support and are seeking your support as well regarding approval of the below amendment which includes an additional safety net option for a score of less than 55 for a student with a disability to earn a local diploma;
(*Note: While this appeal option may be important for some students, data shows that in the 2010 cohort,
there were only 258 students with disabilities who did not graduate who received a test score between 52 and 54 on any Regents exam; this statement requires clarification as students still had the RCT option in that cohort).

-score up to three points below a score of 55 on a Regents exam after
at least two attempts, and attain at least a 65 course average in the subject
area of the Regents examination under appeal;
– provide evidence that they have received academic intervention ser-
vices by the school in the subject area of the Regents examination under
appeal;
– have an attendance rate of at least 95 percent for the school year during which the student last took the required Regents examination under appeal;
– attain a course average in the subject area of the Regents examination
under appeal that meets or exceeds the required passing grade by the
school and is recorded on the student’s official transcript with grades
achieved by the student in each quarter of the school year; and
– the student is recommended for an exemption to the passing score on
the required Regents examination under appeal by his or her teacher or
department chairperson in the subject area of such examination.
Appeals by students with disabilities of a score of less than 55 under the
proposed amendment would be reviewed by the same committee that
reviews all other Regents appeals.

The final average for the waived Regents exam may be excluded in the calculation for the final class average, if it will bring that score below a passing grade.

Crocodile Tears

“At 6 p.m. on a Thursday night, I come home from a meeting, my phone rings, and it’s Merryl Tisch,” Ms. De Vito said. “She said, ‘I received your letter,’ and she said, ‘It made me want to cry.’”

This is quoted from this NY Times Article that describes the new regulation to allow SPED students to apply for a waiver if they have taken a Regents exam twice and failed it with a 52 to 54.  The student must have good attendance and a passing grade in the over all coursework.  It is a good first step in resolving the problems in current graduation requirements for special education students.  Keep in mind, these problems have been created by policies established by Chancellor Tisch.

This blog is a compilation of student letters that were written to Chancellor Tisch last fall.  Some did graduate, others have since dropped out of high school.  More students will follow suit after the problematic Common Core Algebra Regents and Common Core ELA Regents.   Students who have taken the five Regents over and over yet cannot pass them because they have learning differences and special education needs.  Students whose entire educational experience has been reduced to assessment and testing.

Tisch’s administration removed the RCTs, which were high school level material with less complicated vocabulary.

Tisch’s administration introduced the CDOS which is only available to SPED students and violates FERPA.  Students still need to be on the Regents track to earn the CDOS.  The CDOS requires over 200 hours of work so it is actually a harder credential to obtain then a Regents diploma, but is only a “credential” and not recognized as a valid high school diploma for future employment.  It certainly is not recognized as anything outside of New York State.

People across the state have been raising the issue of the punitive nature of the five regents exams being the only pathway to a high school diploma in New York State.  Staten Island last fall is quoted below.

“Special education advocate and parent Miguel Rodriguez said the system fails high school students in special ed by not preparing them for the workforce. He said special ed students should have the opportunity to earn a full high school diploma, rather than a certificate they now receive, so that they will meet minimum education requirements for the workforce.”

Where was Tisch’s concern for these students?

In January, the Board of Regents reviewed the report on 2014 graduation statistics.  At the end of this meeting, she remarked on concerns being raised by SPED parents and waived it away with a dismissive, “Well the IEP diploma wasn’t anything anyway.”  No acknowledgement that students with dyslexia are going to struggle through 5 Regents exams, or that this will be an even more challenging task with the heavy emphasis on close reading in the mandatory ELA CC Regents.  No comprehension that an ELA Regents exam with an emphasis on passages heavy with  irony or sarcasm is going to be an overwhelming task for students on the autistic spectrum.

Tisch is throwing away of a generation of New York State citizens with the punitive graduation requirements approved under her tenure.  It is time for a reinstatement of multiple pathways to a meaningful local diploma and end to high stakes testing as the sole path to a New York State High School diploma.

NYS – King’s Legacy – A Dead End for High School Students.

One of the most telling legacies of King’s reign as NYSED Commissioner was the destruction of magnet HSs in NYC (and vocational programs in other areas) When I grew up in NYC in the 80s there were neighborhood high schools, and magnet schools. Bronx High School of Science demanding a high level of academics. But also Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, the inspiration for Fame, and now a school where test scores can keep the most brilliant of our future artists and performers from attending. Aviation High School (LaGuardia, JFK and Newark airports, plus Westchester, Newburgh, MacArthur, small private airports) now a test driven shadow of its former self. And, Automotive, once a competitive, high skills high school now persistently struggling with fighting and failure because passing five high stakes Regents exams take up more time then learning good mechanical, and highly employable, skills. That is King’s legacy.

NYC parent Lorri Gumanow

My kid is getting overwhelmed by school! 10th grade and the looming Common Core regents exams are starting to make him very anxious, irritable, and thinking that when he finishes high school he will either: 1) sleep on the couch all day, 2) be homeless, or 3) get a crappy job doing “anything.” I guess this whole push for “college and career readiness” is working really well for him. He doesn’t see a future for himself. It breaks my heart! He is starting to doubt his talent and passion, and is toying with giving up those things he is great at, to try harder in school. It sucks when the tests have been set up to fail most of our children (including mine), and they are brainwashed to believe they are failures, destined to work at jobs they hate just to earn rent money. He is only 15 years old, and he is giving up on his dreams, because he feels he isn’t good enough. And in our current school system in this country, only the tests tell you that you are good enough. There is such a disconnect in our system between what the public believes about education, and how children, teachers and parents experience it. The rhetoric is deafening!!!

Liz O’Shea Mullins – Dutchess County

It will take years for one of my children to recover from the aftermath of the storm created by John King.
I was informed by a local Psychologist that she is experiencing an increase in the number of High School Students she is treating for depression and cutting; many with similar stories regarding curriculum and assessments.
As it stands I fear this storm has not ended, it has grown stronger and the devastation will be of epic proportions.