With the end of No Child Left Behind, states will have the flexibility to continue with the controversial Common Core State Standards or not. This is Connecticut’s opportunity to put a good education in place for our students by rejecting the Common Core. The whole approach of the Common Core contradicts the philosophically and academically-sound Connecticut State Standards approach.
As the results of the SBAC Common Core testing across the nation are made public, the backlash from parents could possibly be severe and felt in every state as well as by the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. The failure of many students, especially in urban areas, could serve as the catalyst to end the crippling education Common Core State Standards reforms that have ushered in a new era of high-stakes testing. In Connecticut, the most recent state to communicate the unacceptable SBAC test results, we find that urban communities such as Bridgeport have to endure the fact that an unbelievable number in excess of 90% of its students have failed the SBAC tests in math. In many of the suburban communities in Connecticut, we also find that high percentages of the students are unable to meet “proficiency,” which has added more fuel to the “opt out” movement as parents in both urban and suburban communities do not want their children to have failing test grades on their records when their children apply for college. However, the crucial question remains whether the recent Connecticut Education Association (CEA) position on SBAC testing will result in even greater numbers of Connecticut parents resisting future SBAC testing by joining the opt-out movement.
It takes a lot to oppose the Common Core State Standards when they are said to offer reform, rigor, high academic standards approved by states and matched by other high-powered nations, a guarantee to close the achievement gap and college and career readiness! What red-blooded American could say no to this promise?
So what did we learn from the release of the SBAC scores? What did we learn after spending more than $2 million of state money and countless millions at the district levels to get these scores? Not much. We did learn that the achievement gap has not been in any way affected by implementation of the Common Core. We also learned that SBAC scores tell us nothing about students’ real competencies.
I respectfully disagree with the Ann Policelli Cronin’s recently published opinion, “SBAC: Failing most Connecticut children in more ways than one.” I am currently a high school English Language Arts teacher, and I take issue when people who are no longer in the classroom teaching students each day “advise” the rest of us on what to do for kids. I take issue with administrators and consultants constantly seeking to stay relevant by disrupting the educational process in classrooms, with an approach that is long past its prime. The truth is that our students do not measure up, and neither do many teachers, frankly. It’s a nationwide epidemic. Ms. Cronin reports that Connecticut students have some of the highest NAEP scores in the country, but she’s ignoring the real story: namely, that Connecticut is not really servicing all students equitably.
Tens of thousands of parents in other states are standing up for their children by refusing the tests and more Connecticut parents are realizing they can refuse the state’s standardized tests, too. Be one of those parents.
This post is not specially written to address Common Core itself, but rather to remind all parents concerned about the data and privacy issues and content of standardized testing, that they have the right to opt their kids out of the SBAC testing –regardless of what they are told by their child’s school.
Let’s not let misinformation and political rhetoric hold us back from putting in place the Common Core Standards — an initiative with great promise to ensure that all students, regardless of where they live, are prepared for college and career and success.
All of Connecticut’s children are harmed by the narrow and inappropriate content of the Common Core Standards, but children of color are hurt most of all. Connecticut should reject reject this misguided “reform” and foster real growth and real learning among its young.
Current education policy, which started with No Child Left Behind, then went into overdrive with Race to the Top and now Common Core and SBAC testing, has turned our schools into test prep factories, sucking the joy out of teaching and learning.