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Friday, December 4, 2015

NYSAPE Survey Shows New Yorkers Overwhelmingly Reject Common Core Standards, Tests & Evaluation Policies



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 4, 2015
More information contact:
NYS Allies for Public Education www.nysape.org

NYSAPE Survey Shows New Yorkers Overwhelmingly Reject
Common Core Standards, Tests & Evaluation Policies

In response to NYS Education Department’s AimHighNY survey on the Common Core that many parents and teachers found excessively complex and not open to general comments, New York State Allies for Public Education created a user-friendly survey and posted it online between November 23 and November 30. Close to 12,000 New Yorkers filled out our survey in just a week’s time.  According to Commissioner Elia, only 5500 completed NYSED survey in three weeks’ time.  Governor’s Common Core task force has received 1,798 submissions since December 2, according to Politico.

The respondents to the NYSAPE survey overwhelmingly reject the Common Core standards, believe the state exams and test-based teacher evaluation system are flawed, and that these reforms have worsened instruction in both English Language Arts and Math at the classroom level.

Parents, teachers, administrators, school board members and concerned NY residents all took part in the NYSAPE survey.  Of special note, 11 percent of our survey respondents also completed NYSED’s survey and 32.9 percent attempted to complete NYSED’s survey but gave up.

Of those who responded to the NYSAPE survey, 70 percent oppose the Common Core standards, 4 percent support them, 23 percent have concerns with them, and 3 percent are undecided.  An even higher percentage --83 percent -- believe the Common Core standards in both ELA and Math have worsened instruction. 83 percent also disagree with the shift to close reading strategies.

Over 80 percent of respondents indicated that they believe ELA and Math standards in grades K-3 are developmentally inappropriate for many students. Fewer than 4 percent of respondents say that the ELA and Math standards for grades 4-8 are well designed.​

For grades 9-12, only 2 percent of respondents approve of the ELA and Math Standards. Only 6.2 percent agree with the Common Core’s quota for informational text versus literary text.  

An overwhelming number  – 91 percent –say that the Common Core exams in grades 3-8 are flawed, while fewer  than 1 percent believe they are valid or well-designed. Among those who find the tests to be flawed,​  many believe the tests are developmentally inappropriate, too long, not useful for assessing students with disabilities and/or English language learners and that reading passages and questions are too difficult and confusing.

Of our respondents, 54 percent indicated that high schools should use the previous NYS Regents exams rather than new exams aligned to the Common Core standards, while roughly 40 percent believe that students should not have to pass any high stakes exams to graduate.

Those who took the NYSAPE survey are nearly unanimous, at 96 percent, that test scores should not be linked to principal or teacher evaluations.  86.5 percent say that the state should abandon the Common Core standards and return to the New York’s former standards until educators can create better ones. 

The full results of the survey are posted here:  http://www.nysape.org/nysape-cc-survey-results.html  

“NYSAPE’s findings are in line with the poll results and most of the testimony to the Governor’s Common Core Task Force.  There is no way around this; the Governor and the legislature must eliminate these Standards, revamp the tests, and reverse the harmful education laws,” said Lisa Rudley, Westchester County public school parent and NYSAPE founding member. 

One of the survey respondents said, “As a teacher who trained at Bank Street College of Education, I find the standards developmentally inappropriate. As a reading specialist, I find the kindergarten standards far too high in reading and writing. As a parent, I am very concerned because I have a child who hates reading because it was pushed so hard at his school.” 

"The results of the survey confirm that the vast majority of parents and teachers do not approve of the Common Core, and oppose the rigid quotas for informational text and ‘close reading’ strategies that have straitjacketed instruction throughout the state. They want to abandon these standards, and return to our previous ones until educators can craft better ones. We hope that state policymakers, including the Commissioner, the Governor, the Board of Regents and our legislators, will listen,” said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters. 

“The tremendous response to NYSAPE's survey underscores that parents and educators are eager to be heard. The fact that the Commissioner Elia could not create an accessible survey only fuels concerns about her competence and willingness to truly engage parents and practitioners,” said Bianca Tanis, Ulster County public school parent, Rethinking Testing member and educator.

"Vice Chancellor Bottar attempted to portray the appointment of Commissioner Elia as a positive change, assuring the public that she would be able to communicate more effectively with parents and educators to find common ground. Vice Chancellor Bottar's continued poor judgement and complicity with the failed reform agenda can no longer be tolerated; it is time for him to step down," said Jessica McNair Oneida County public school parent, educator and Opt Out Central NY founder.

NYSAPE, a grassroots organization with over 50 parent and educator groups across the state, is calling on parents to continue to opt out by refusing high-stakes testing for the 2015-16 school year.  Go to www.nysape.org  for more details on how to affect changes in education policies. 

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