New York teachers unhappy about Common Core exams
New York Times
IT’S CALLED “Common Core,” the national approach to teaching and learning in early childhood, and some educators are upset.
Some early childhood experts say the standardized tests given in the spring and early summer, ostensibly meant to judge educators and parents, can interfere with the learning of young students and their families. Others argue that common core tests will help identify achievement gaps and disadvantage, and that’s all to the good.
“The Common Core and tests like them don’t challenge [children] at this early age,” said Leonie Haimson, the founder of Class Size Matters, an advocacy group and blog that covers school policy. “But it’s saying to educators, if you let 5-year-olds play in the sandbox, we’re going to give you a letter grade. And if you work with them, then we’re going to give you an A.”
Testing has been central to the debate over the Common Core for more than two years, but the issue has emerged again in recent months. Concern about testing has drawn bipartisan support, though the critics are more likely to come from the left.
Since the Common Core became law in 2010, many states have spent millions, earmarked mostly by federal aid, to implement the new standards, which aim to align reading and math testing to the Common Core. But still in the vast majority of states, test results are not meant to be used to measure the progress of students.
More than a year ago, New York agreed to go further by joining the new national assessments, but it also gave schools and teachers some leeway in which tests to administer, and allowed some flexibility in scores.
The test workshopping in New York, however, has not been smooth. Teachers have had to design their own tests, and the state has introduced new tests that are more frequently given, prompting anxiety about high stakes for schools and teachers.
Last month, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, ended a state commission that created guidelines for the tests, and created a new panel to rewrite the proposals.
Lawmakers in some states have also voiced concerns about testing. Last year, Oklahoma legislators introduced a bill that would have ended all standardized testing in school. It is not clear whether the bill has enough support to make it through the state’s GOP-controlled Legislature.