Today: 21.09.2018
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20.09.2018

New York’s education ‘leaders’ are hiding the ugly truth.

Last week’s release of National Assessment of Educational Progress scores, the widely recognized gold standard for measuring student achievement, confirms everything we’ve said about New York’s own exams: They’re a tissue of lies. Every other year, the NAEP tests fourth- and eighth-graders in reading and math. Unlike the state exams, it’s not administered in every...
Time: 20:50     Date: 14.04.2018
Last US News - Opinion: New York’s education ‘leaders’ are hiding the ugly truth. NY Post 24 - US News

Every other year, the NAEP tests fourth- and eighth-graders in reading and math. Unlike the state exams, it’s not administered in every school, but it provides a clear check on those exams.

And while scores on state tests have been rising, the NAEP results for New York kids have stayed flat.

This confirms our charge that the state Regents and State Education Department have been watering down state exams to yield higher student scores. They offer all manner of other reasons for the changes, but the impact is to hide the mediocrity of New York’s public schools, despite the nation’s highest per-pupil spending.

In the city, NAEP results have been basically flat since 2013, the year before Mayor de Blasio took over, with a small drop in fourth-grade math proficiency. That proves that Carmen Fariña’s tenure was all about preserving the status quo: All the city’s gains on state tests reflected the dumbing-down of those exams, not real gains in learning.

And de Blasio’s Equity and Excellence agenda is a joke: The NAEP shows that the racial gap in achievement is as large as ever, with black and Hispanic kids badly lagging their white and Asian peers.

A bit more than half the city’s white students show proficiency in math and reading. Fewer than one in 10 black, and fewer than one in five Hispanic, eighth-graders show proficiency in math.

As Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz noted, “A student of color in New York City is less than half as likely to have been taught to read or do math as a white student.” Which explains why so few black and Hispanic kids do well enough on the entry exam to win admission to the city’s elite high schools.

State “education” leaders will vehemently insist that state exams aren’t meaningless, but the objective evidence shows otherwise.

For more proof: The State Education Department won’t release the results of this year’s tests (which kids started taking last week) until September — after the start of the next school year.

That’s a month longer than the usual delay, which is itself too long, since a good chunk of the tests is multiple-choice and can be scored within a day or two. Moreover, this year’s exams are much shorter: Two days each for math and English exams, not three apiece as in the past.

SED claims it needs the added time to make sure it’s scoring the new exams properly. Huh? It admits it will send each school its data, and individual student scores, in mid-August; all it’s really delaying is the public release of school-by-school results — which, by coincidence, is vital for anyone to make sense of what a given score means.

That is: You can’t tell whether your school is badly behind except by comparing its results to other schools’ — and no school will be able to tell that until after classes have started. Low-performing schools reviewing their curricula over the summer can’t even use the results to figure out where they need to do better.

The bottom line is that the folks in charge of education in New York are busily making it ever harder to tell what’s working and what isn’t. They’re not protecting the kids, but all the adults who make a living off the system as it stands.

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