Op-Eds

Poor test results show Common Core curriculum was rushed

[This op-ed was originally published in the New York Daily News.]

Test scores have plunged across the city and the state. Overall proficiency rates in reading and math have fallen sharply, with black and Hispanic students in particular at all-time lows.

While the scores largely result from more difficult tests, they fly in the face of Mayor Bloomberg's constant assertions that everything in our schools was getting better, thanks to his leadership.

Parents are concerned that their children and their local school are faring much more poorly than they had been led to believe. Teachers are infuriated that they didn’t have the materials and professional development to help their children succeed on these more difficult tests.

It didn’t have to be this way.

While teachers — many of whom helped create the new Common Core — support the new standards, the decision by the state and the city to rush them through has made the situation much worse. The lack of a thorough new curriculum that teachers could use to create lessons matched to the Common Core has meant that children were far less prepared.

The bigger tragedy is that Bloomberg — who has sole control of the school system and now says he has always supported higher standards — didn’t come to us years ago with an actual plan to make the education in our schools more rigorous.

The mayor focused on making schools concentrate on prep for previous state tests that had to be thrown out because they were unreliable, on closing schools, ignoring parents and demonizing teachers. Instead, the administration could have been working with all parties to anticipate the Common Core.

If the administration had done so, Wednesday’s news would have been far less damaging to students, teachers and the public’s confidence in our schools.

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