The New York State Education Department released the test scores for the grades 3-8 Common Core English Language Arts and Math exams today. The big news is not the results, which mean next to nothing, but that the number of students opting out was way up across the state compared to last year. The opt-out rate even rose in NYC.
From NY State of Politics:
...the opt-out movement did show a spike in the number of students not taking the test. In 2014, only about 5 percent did not take the test. This year the percentage grew to 20 percent, with some districts reporting opt-out rates as high as 89 percent.
I am not a math expert but that looks like the opt-out rate quadrupled. 20% means 225,000 opt-outs.
As for NYC, we are way behind much of the state in terms of students opting out but even here, without UFT backing, the opt out rate tripled.
For those interested in the scores, again we go to NY State of Politics:
The results, released earlier this morning, showed 31.3 percent of students had "proficient" scores on the ELA examinations, while 38.1 percent had proficient results on the math tests.
Those numbers are up slightly from last year's results.
Expect some ridiculous spin from Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Chancellor Carmen Farina when we hear their reactions.
Something like this is possible: "We beat Buffalo and other upstate cities again and we are closing the achievement gap."
Do you think de Blasio and Farina will boast that 4.4% of English Language Learners were proficient this year compared to only 3.6% a year ago on the reading tests? This clearly shows our ELL scores are growing.
This blog would like to congratulate the people from Change the Stakes and all of the other parent, student groups, administrators and unions who stood behind opt-out. You did a great job and it looks like 2016 is going to be just as difficult with Governor Andrew Cuomo, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and Elia pushing their test and punish snake oil harder than ever.
Here is an interesting comment on opt-out from the State Education Department press release:
Department data show that students who did not take the 2015 Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests and did not have a recognized, valid reason for not doing so were more likely to be White, more likely to be from a low or average need district, and slightly more likely to have scored at Levels 1 or 2 in 2014. Students who did not take the test in 2015 and did not have a recognized, valid reason for doing so were less likely to be economically disadvantaged and less likely to be an ELL
Is the State Education Department going after the suburbanites who oppose Common Core? It is interesting that they put this paragraph in their press release. Remember, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated that opponents of Common Core tended to be "white suburban moms who - all of a sudden - their child isn't as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn't quite as good as they they thought they were."
UPDATE--From Politico NY: "Individual schools could lose funding if large numbers of students opt out of state standardized tests in April, state education commissioner Mary Ellen Elia said on Wednesday."
Answer from Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association Vice President Brian St Pierre via Twitter from Perdido Street School: @MaryEllenElia should know that ramifications 4 civil disobedience will only be met with greater acts of civil disobedience.
Fasten those seat-belts. This could be a very bumpy road ahead.