MORE’s Julie Cavanagh speaks out in the Daily News on the Common Core test results

August 16, 2014 — 1 Comment

by Julie Cavanagh, special education teacher and ChapterLeader at Public School 15 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and MORE candidate for President of the UFT. Originally printed in The New York Daily News on August 15, 2014.

Four years ago, a group tied to testing and publishing companies, and bankrolled with Bill and Melinda Gates’ money, brought us the Common Core Learning Standards.

Cash-strapped states that wanted to win federal Race to the Top dollars had to adopt the standards, and more than 40 states, including New York, did so.

Julie Cavanagh speaks out at a MORE press conference

Last year, our students were assessed for the first time according to the new standards. State Education Department officials predicted a steep drop, and scores plummeted. This year, small gains were predicted, and that’s what happened, to the astonishment of no one.

Predictions are easy to make when you define what constitutes proficiency.

There will be an attempt from all factions to spin the results: The state will say the reform agenda is working, the city will argue the scores show the need for pre-K, and charter schools will claim they show their importance as high-quality alternatives.

Let’s get off the hamster wheel.

The truth is, these tests were designed to create a narrative of failure, and the trends are not so different from those we saw on the old tests: we are failing our children with special needs, our English language learners, our children who live in poverty, and a disproportionate number of black and Latino pupils.

It is no surprise that the results mirror the struggles and deep flaws in our society. Of course, the goal was never to actually fix our schools — there are no profits in doing that. There are no profits in providing small class sizes, experienced educators and services like counseling, tutoring and family support — proven reforms that would benefit all students.

Instead, the focus is on unproven standards and the tests that supposedly measure our student’s competency — written by the very people who profit from their use.

 

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One response to MORE’s Julie Cavanagh speaks out in the Daily News on the Common Core test results

  1. 
    Sarah Bernstein August 18, 2014 at 10:32 am

    This is EXACTLY what’s going on. The powers that be need our children to fail, so they manufacture the failure. Julie Cavanagh says what all experienced teachers have always known. That’s why the system are clearing out experienced teachers who know how to meet the learning needs of the 2nd language learners, children with special needs, and students whose families are affected by poverty. It is time for parents to wake up and see what is being done to their children. The charter schools are no solution, but a disguise. The charter schools have no better results, and the institution of more pre-k is no panacea to cure societal ills that don’t disappear when children walk through school doors. Common Core is too common. It will fail for our children, but it will succeed in what it was intended to do: make the wealthy wealthier and take ownership of our children by telling them they are failures, year after year.

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