SUPERintendent Joe Rella Battles Common Core on Long Island

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Photo of a really Super Superintendent

We have a battle underway on Long Island to either fix Common Core or end it and we will be victorious.

New York State was one of the first to sign onto the corporatists’ dream educational program – the Core – where all children learn skill sets in the same way at the same time.

New York took the $700 million in Stimulus front money in 2010 and we now have the unfunded mandate in place.

There will be no more money to support this behemoth and Long Island will be required to tax the inhabitants more or lessen the quality of education. The money for the program must come from somewhere.

If only it were a good program to make it all worthwhile. It is robotic and unrealistic. It makes automatons out of children and teachers. It requires an outlandish number of tests and it will, in the end, nationalize education in the United States.

It’s a disaster.

Abysmal scores for children who have always scored well should ring some alarm bells like maybe the testing and the program are lacking?!?

The State Education Department and their friends in the media have decided that having only a third of the children on Long Island passing tests proves our children were not learning! It couldn’t be the fatal flaw in the testing – the incredibly endless testing – it’s the fault of teachers, schools, parents, and school boards. It’s everyone but them.

Long Island has long had an outstanding school system, though not all schools are equal in results, they are good.  They are all far superior to many others in the country.

My district sends well over 90% of the graduates to colleges and vocational programs, many go to prominent schools. My school has won many national awards and is one of the top performing schools in the country. My school had close to a 50% failure rate that left children distressed and feeling stupid, though nothing could be further from the truth.

How dare Albany cover up their mistakes at the expense of our children!

Albany is talking about curving the tests now. What good is that?

We have a few gallant men leading the fight against this absurd program. One of them is Joe Rella, Superintendent of Comsewogue School District in Port Jefferson Station.

I’ve included part of his statement on his new site, Students Not Scores:

Now we have some work to do…

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind. I’ve been in contact with people all over the Island, NY State, and beyond. People throughout the country who are at the beginning or in the midst of the Common Core implementation and testing are experiencing exactly the same things as we are.

It appears that the same script is being used throughout the country and where testing has begun, it’s getting the same results.

Communications from State Ed. have stressed that these tests are to be used as a baseline…we’ve been told to take a deep breath…this was a necessary step…after all, when you make an omelet, eggs get broken. Eggs certainly get broken when you make an omelet. However, you don’t have to nuke the whole farm to get what you need.

If this last round of testing was truly meant to establish a baseline, identify weaknesses, etc. then why publish the individual district scores and much worse, why send home individual grade reports to our students?

The answer is obvious – to make public education look like an abject failure and thus pave the way for privatization, as is happening across the country….same script….same playbook.

But not to worry. Regents Chancellor, Tisch stated: “…A year from now I promise you test scores are going up.” Another “prediction”. And like Commissioner King’s “prediction” that about 70% of grades 3-8 students statewide would fail, this one will also come true. You can bet on it. After all, State Ed. sets the passing score. Those scores will be adjusted, as has been done in the past, to achieve the outcome predicted… continue reading

The ironic thing about all this is that the corporatists and their political friends who brought this to us have managed to do the most amazing thing – they’ve brought the political right and left together – for different reasons – but many of us are united. It’s time to scrutinize and demand changes, but not worthless modifications such as curving or changing the passing grade.

For those who live on Long Island, there is a meeting about Common Core at the Church of the Nazarene in Patchogue at 6 pm. The author of The Children of the Core will speak. Senator Lee Zeldin is also scheduled to speak. Seating is limited. Contact Diane Andrade at ddadance@gmail.com to reserve a set.
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