Epic Fail Bloomberg's Department of Education 'F' Grade

8/8/2013, 9:04 a.m. | Updated on 8/8/2013, 9:04 a.m.
Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch, State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr., and Mayor Michael Bloomberg explain the test scores at Tweed.

“It should come to as surprise to those of us active in the public education arena that the high stakes test scores of our New York City children have seriously declined this past year,” charged Sam Anderson, a retired New York City professor of mathematics and Black history.

A parent of two grown sons who have successfully navigated the New York City public school system, Anderson said, “Parents were left out of the loop. If they knew anything about this Common Core switcharoo—and 99 percent did not know—all they were supposed to do was to go online and read about the wonders of the Common Core and trust [U.S. Secretary of Education] Arne Duncan and Dennis BloomCott to bring out the brilliance in their sons and daughters.”

“Our administration has consistently raised the bar for our students—and given time and support, they have consistently risen to the occasion,” said Bloomberg. “We are confident that they will rise to this challenge, and it’s encouraging that our students are out-performing their peers in the other cities around the state. In addition, they are closing the gap with students in the rest of the state, something few people thought possible a decade ago. The new Common Core curriculum, as it is phased in, will empower students to achieve at higher levels in the years ahead and graduate high school ready for college and careers.”

Mayoral candidate and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio stated, “This is a major wake-up call. We can’t keep working at the margins and focusing on a handful of niche schools. We need a game-changer to raise outcomes for kids across the board. Comprehensive early education is the only way to achieve it. That’s why I’ve laid out a plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers to fund truly universal pre-K for every child in New York City and to expand after-school programs. Investing in an early start and keeping kids on grade level through those early years is the only way to overcome crippling educational disparities.”

“This is a man-made disaster. It should not have been,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “The Common Core standards are something teachers fully embrace and support. They are harder, but when used properly will teach reasoning, critical thinking skills, things that children need to move forward. The scores would have dropped this year, but they should not have dropped to this level.  We knew three years ago that this state was moving to the Common Core tests. We have been asking for curriculum based on the new standards since that point.  This mayor chose to ignore all of our pleas.  Many teachers still don’t have a curriculum to develop the lesson plans they need for their classes.”

At Tweed Courthouse in Manhattan on Wednesday, Walcott, state Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and state Education Commissioner John King said that everything was on course. In a statement the DOE proclaimed that test results from the new Common Core math and English tests were as they were because the new tests are “far more rigorous than any previous test in New York state, and new tests set a far higher bar for student proficiency in reading and math, establishing a new baseline for measurement of student performance. The new tests, supported by the Obama Administration, for the first time measure whether students are prepared to succeed in college and careers in today’s economy, as opposed to measuring whether they are on track to graduate high school. Under the new, more rigorous test, 29.6 percent of students met proficiency standards in math and 26.5 percent of students met the standards in English. The results show New York City public school students outperformed their peers in the other large urban school districts in New York state and continue to close the gap between New York City students and students in the rest of the entire state.”