In July, the state of New York announced the results of its first tests based on the Common Core: The region hasn’t been this battered since Superstorm Sandy. Just 26 percent of students in third through eighth grade passed the English exam, and only 30 percent passed the math test. In one Harlem school, just seven percent of students received passing scores in English, and 10 percent in math. We’ve gone from No Child Left Behind to Well-Just-About-Every-Child-Left-Behind …progress of a kind. If ‘learned helplessness’ is the Common Core’s goal, it’s a stunning success.” Businessman George Ball
Indeed, the tests based on the new Common Core (CC) curriculum horrified both parents and educators in New York State, as they are sure to do in the 45 other states that have accepted these new federal-education standards.
Yet in the very definition of a clueless response to the disastrous test results, NY State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said that “these proficiency scores do not reflect a drop in performance, but rather a raising of standards to reflect college and career readiness in the 21st century.” Nice try, Mr. King. Go back to sleep.
How did this happen? Here’s a little history. When President George W. Bush introduced No Child Left Behind, liberals and teachers’ unions went crazy. How dare any program actually measure the effectiveness of classroom teachers or, worse, hold them accountable for decade after decade of failure? How dare that same program document the great number of students allowed to progress through grade after grade in spite of jaw-dropping deficits in math and literacy? Isn’t it wrongheaded, critics asked, to ‘teach to the test’ instead of giving students better skills and deeper knowledge? As if testing skills and knowledge is a bad thing!