Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Time for the Education Commissioner to Visit the North Country

Most states in the US have embraced the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and it seems only logical that a similar educational standard be set for schools in the country. Most people seem to agree that raising standards in US schools is necessary.

The controversy seems to rest on the tests that, in NYS, are mandated to be given to students in grades 3-8 (in addition, of course, to the Regents examinations NYS students have taken for years).

Some questions keep surfacing about the 3-8 tests.
  1. Are they valid? Too hard? Age and grade appropriate? 
  2. Must these tests be given every year 3-8? High stakes testing now starts in 3rd grade and ends with high school Regents examinations.
  3. Why aren't past 3-8 tests made public, just like Regents examinations? This secrecy keeps the test maker from facing accountability for the quality of the tests.
  4. Unless these tests face public scrutiny, why is teacher job performance being judged by student results on the tests? 
  5. Are students being treated like guinea pigs in an experiment? The duration of the tests is highly inappropriate for many of the age groups being tested.   
The NYS Commissioner of Education will be in Schroon Lake today to address the public's questions. That's a 2.5  hour drive for those who live in the North Country. Would people in NYC be expected to drive to Montauk Point to see the Commissioner (another 2.5 hour drive) or would there be an outcry if that occurred? Maybe it's time for an outcry from this region. 

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