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Editorial:  New York leaders misread opt-out message

The Journal News

Let reason prevail. The April 17, 2015 Journal News editorial, “New York leaders misread opt-out message,” presents a good regional and national perspective on Common Core, testing and teacher evaluation. NYSED, Board of Regents, Arne Duncan, President Obama, school boards, presidential candidates, legislators and Governors should:

  • Value and trust parents, teachers and administrators.
  • Look at the opt-out data (from 20 – 40% in many of the Lower Hudson Region of New York according to the Journal News article); it is significant and a game changer. If state and Washington education departments, governors and legislators are making decisions based on data, than they should realize the significance of the high numbers of parents who object to the weight given to standardized testing and its negative impact on their children and teachers. We are told that we must make critical decisions about deploying precious fiscal and human resources based on data. The story the data tells is clear.
  • Change course now.

It will not benefit any let alone all students to pursue a failed reform movement. Current research points to the importance of recruiting, retaining and training, highly qualified teachers and administrators as well as aligning certification programs and professional development to the real world skills educators need to ensure that their students will be college and career ready. This pedagogy for the 21st century involves educating the whole child; it involves understanding the challenges of technology and the emotional complexity of growing up in today’s uncertain and rapidly changing world. This does not mean spending precious days, weeks and dollars on test prep. Moreover, controversy abounds not only about the validity and reliability of the tests, but also about the curriculum on which these tests are based. Is it a curriculum for today and tomorrow or for yesterday?

  • Collect data on what educators think is best in Common Core and what else constitutes curriculum.
  • Improve teacher and administrative certification programs to better align with 21st century research on how kids learn.
  • Co-create with all players a teacher evaluation system that creates a true 360 model.

And stop wasting time and creating a highly stressed generation of children aged 9 – 14 who hate school.