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Reporter's Notebook

August 10, 2013

N.Y. test scores prove to be a lightning rod


The implementation created challenges; some resources that should have gone to teachers a year ago have only recently been made available by the state Education Department, he said. Also, while adapting daily instruction this year to match the Common Core, school leaders were also mandated to develop and implement complex, demanding procedures for teacher and principal evaluations, he said.

In the past, whenever the state has raised standards, schools have risen to the challenge and this will will happen again.

“The Common Core standards represent an unprecedented shift in our expectations for schools and the students they teach. With more time and better resources, schools will strengthen their practices, the tests themselves will be refined, and more and more students will again succeed in meeting the new standards.”

Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, said: “The precipitous drop in student test scores confirms what we have been saying all along: schools are not getting the adequate resources that they need to prepare their students for college and careers. Ultimately, setting the bar high will not produce results when the resources needed to meet that bar are not provided.”

Shortchanging schools and educators only sets them up for failure, he said.

The group is calling for a one-year moratorium on the high-stakes consequences of the latest scores. Schools, principals, and teachers, the group contends, should not be evaluated based on tests that weren’t met with adequate resources.

“The obsession with testing has shifted the focus away from actual learning and has forced schools to teach to the test. Albany needs to wake up and provide the leadership and vision necessary to get schools what they need in order to prepare students not just for a test, but for college and careers,” Easton said.

New York State United Teachers President Richard C. Iannuzzi said: “Parents, students and educators worked very hard this past school year, facing numerous setbacks and challenges beyond their control as New York state rapidly introduced new tests and Common Core state standards. Despite their efforts, the scores show a significant drop from past years. The results will serve as a baseline to inform instruction going forward, while serving as a reminder that standardized testing has limitations and that results must be used thoughtfully, judiciously and in context for students and teachers..”

He added: “Now, more than ever, the voices of parents and educators must be part of the conversation, and education policies must be based on trust, collaboration and respect. ... This is how New York state can get it right.”

Mark Boshnack is a staff writer for The Daily Star. Contact him at

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