Rochester, N.Y. – The state’s largest teachers union is launching an ad campaign an online petition protesting the Common Core tests. Students in grades 3 through 8 will take the math and English tests next month.
“It’s a setup for failure,” said John Pavone of the Rochester Teachers Association. Teachers are worried they will be evaluated based on a curriculum that was rolled out this year. “They’re going to blame me if the kids can’t pass the test and the kids can’t pass the test. It’s set up in such a way that you can’t pass the test.”
The state education department says teachers will be compared to each other, so they shouldn’t be affected by a drop in scores. The state predicts the scores could drop by 30 points.
Common Core standards have been adopted by 46 states. They are considered much harder. Students have to know more vocabulary and explain their answers to open-ended questions. The state believes these rigorous standards are necessary to prepare students for college and work.
Jennae Moran said her sixth-grade son sometimes struggles with work at his Pittsford school. She had issues with some of his test questions, which have more than one right answer.
“Nobody was prepared for these changes,” Moran said. “There was no public discussion about it. The parents weren’t prepared for it. Frankly I don’t think the teachers or administration was prepared for it.”
“It’s going to be a disaster,” said retired Rochester principal Dan Drmacich, a frequent critic of testing. “You’re going to have at least 30 percent statewide failures on this and that’s because they haven’t given teachers time to teach or kids time to learn it.”Learn more about Common Core and take sample questions.