BUFFALO, N.Y. – New Yorkers, listen up: It’s time to hide your kids, hide your wife and hide your husband, because the Common Core test results have just been released – and they’re bad.
While most states are still debating the merits and costs of Common Core assessments, New York began testing its students on the new nationalized English and math standards this spring.
Common Core standards are said to emphasize a “deeper and more thorough” understanding of fewer topics.
At the time, state education officials warned that students would have difficulty with the new tests and that student scores would likely plummet.
Boy, were they right.
The Buffalo News reports only 31 percent of New York students in grades three through eight “met or exceeded the proficiency standards in English and math this year, a drop of more than half compared with last year.”
New York Education Commissioner John King Jr. attempted to soften the blow by saying the test results “establish a new baseline for student performance and student learning in New York State.”
Another K-12 official put this happy face on the unfolding disaster: “Student achievement did not go down – instead, the standards went up.”
Even if New York K-12 leaders are right, that’s cold comfort for parents with children in the truly awful Buffalo Public School District, where proficiency ratings on the old, pre-Common Core tests seldom got above 30 percent.
Under Common Core testing, less than 12 percent of Buffalo students (grades three through eight) met or surpassed learning expectations for English, and fewer than 10 percent met or exceeded expectations in math, The Buffalo News reports.
In fairness to Buffalo’s government-run schools, the city’s charter schools fared only slightly better.
In fact, between the two types of schools in Buffalo, 11 of them “had zero children meeting the proficient standard,” according to the News.
Buffalo Superintendent Pamela Brown promised parents that school leaders “are going to continue to do a number of things we’ve been doing over this past school year to make sure we are drastically improving our performance in all subject areas.”
According to the News, Brown identified a number of areas for improvement: more teacher training, extended school days for students, more after-school programs, and purchasing new Common Core instructional materials.
Those might be good ideas, but they all require money – something Buffalo schools don’t have. The district is projecting a deficit of $51 million for the upcoming school year.
The district could conceivably spend $3 million more a year on instruction-related items if the Buffalo Teachers Federation (the local teachers union) would agree to drop the “plastic surgery” benefit from their labor contract.
As EAGnews recently reported, the school district paid $2.9 million last fiscal year on skin peels, dental implants, tummy tucks, breast implants and other cosmetic procedures for union members.
Hey, Buffalo students might not be learning much, but their teachers look fabulous.
All kidding aside, New York schools are in serious trouble.
Between the selfish unionists and the busybody K-12 “experts” who are promoting this Common Core experiment, it’s fair to wonder if some of those schools – such as Buffalo – will ever recover.
By Ben Velderman at EAGnews.org