Twelve years of Mayor Michael Bloomberg the educrat, and only 29 percent of New York City students who graduate are college-ready. New York City’s first Common Core standardized test scores were released last week revealing dire numbers: Only 55.1 percent of all students grades three through eight meet or exceed the standard in English. In math, only 64.8 achieved the percentage needed to pass the examination. That’s a 20 and 30 percent drop since last year.

Only 46.1 percent of New York’s Black students passed or surpassed the passing grade on the math examination with 37.2 percent in English. Scores citywide had dropped almost by two-thirds from 2012.

Last week’s anxiously awaited numbers showed that only 31 percent of Common Core test-taking math and English students were proficient in the subjects. When Bloomberg took over the reigns of the Department of Education, he beseeched people to judge his record and his legacy by what he does with the public school system and its 1.1 million students. Well, test scores have plummeted, observers note, and his frantic push to create and co-locate charter schools is only outdone by his controversial move to close schools all over the city.

The news that only 29 percent of New York City’s high schoolers are college-ready has stunned teachers, parents and education activists.

“This isn’t the students and their ability, this is about how and what they are being taught,” stated educator Caleef Cousar.

Change the Stakes (changethestakes.org) is a group of parents and educators working to address the destructive effect of high-stakes testing. They say that they believe that it “must be replaced by valid forms of student, teacher and school assessment.”

Parents and educators are demanding that the sheet be pulled off what is really going on with the continuous “experimentation and pseudo-revamping of public school education,” charged Cousar. “Our children are the victims of this bureaucratic chess game where businessmen and profit-centered individuals—who are not educators—figure out the best way to make money out of children. They want to make the maximum federal dollar per child and link their educational experiments to Race to the Top initiative, which may work out well for these suits, but our children are left floundering, being taught to take tests only and learn little or nothing else. We want full transparency, and we want to put an end to the detrimental state testing initiatives that focus on standardized tests.”

In a memo to school superintendents, State Education Commissioner John King wrote, “Districts should take into consideration that 2012-13 is the first year student progress was assessed against new and more rigorous learning standards. Information gathered from each measure of educator effectiveness should be used judiciously when decisions are made.”

Change the Stakes is among many New York activist groups and parents who reject Bloomberg-appointed Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott’s attributing the lower scores to tougher standards. Instead, they [[ED: THEY REFERRING TO CHANGE THE STAKES?]] contend that “this year’s tests were horribly flawed. After initially dismissing calls for the tests to be open to public scrutiny, education officials now say they plan to release selected questions. But this token gesture toward transparency is unlikely to allay concerns about the quality of this year’s tests. Nor will it quell the growing movement of parents and educators fighting to end the use of standardized tests for high-stakes purposes.”

Parents citywide questioned the test from the beginning, and many balked when their year-round, normally high-scoring students “failed” the state’s standardized tests. Education experts have denounced the test-taking program for teachers having to solely rely on these high-stakes tests to determine promotion, and the fact that the majority of the school year focuses on this alone.

The state Education Department has simply refused to make the questions public, saying that they will need them in years to come. This lack of transparency has aggravated and frustrated teachers, parents and students alike.

“With the complete lack of transparency regarding how the tests were scored and proficiency levels determined, an increasingly skeptical public is left to wonder whether test scores rise and fall year to year simply to suit the latest political agenda, as when Mayor Bloomberg, seeking a third term, exploited artificially inflated scores,” stated Change the Stakes. “Parents are fed up with the seemingly arbitrary ups and downs of scores that affect their children’s promotions to the next grade and admissions to middle and high school.”

Tale after tale is being told of excellent students having to resist these new Common-Core-aligned exams. In effect, a student can pass their ELA or math class, but “fail” the Common-Core-aligned state test and be denied promotion to the next grade. Change the Stake noted, “New York City is the only locality in the state that uses test scores for this purpose.”

Bedford Academy High School Principal Adofo Muhammad told the AmNews, “The recent scores reflect a monumental shift in the expectations we have for our children, who are in our care. It also reveals to show how much work we have to do in order to compete on a global scale.”

The Brooklyn educator continued, “These scores should be a wake-up call for our community in relation to developing college-readiness skill sets at an early age; and it should serve to create a longitudinal perspective that our communities have mastered, while segments of our community have immersed themselves in the theater of the absurd in regards to pathological behavior that will only continue to cause a greater gap in the academic achievements of Black and Latino students in New York City.”

Retired math and Black history professor Sam Anderson blasted, “These Common Core centered exams claim to be about critical thinking. Yet, the curriculum and pedagogy of New York City teachers has been not about developing critical thinking skills. For the past 25 to 30 years, it’s been about developing test-taking skills. Hence, when the Common Core exams contain a bit of critical thinking kinds of questions, our children and most of their teachers don’t have the intellectual tools to answer them.”

Anderson added that in the compiling of the Common Core curriculum and its implementation, “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 go online and read about the wonders of the Common Core and trust Arne Duncan and Dennis BloomCott to bring out the brilliance in their sons and daughters.”