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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Students And Teachers Are Harmed By Walcott/Bloomberg's "Curriculum" of Common Core Standards

Are you in a school where the principal requires you to use Common Core Standards as a curriculum?

Common Core is not a curriculum. I am taking action by exposing this tactic which hurts not only students but teachers as well!

I suggest that if you are a teacher being pushed into 3020-a for not teaching to the "curriculum" of Common Core Standards that you file a grievance and contact me at

Here's the UFT press release on the issue of Common Core Standards used as curriculum:

DOE failure to provide curriculum and training threatens city results on new state tests


Although new state tests will be rolled out this spring based on demanding Common Core national standards, almost 8 out of 10 New York City teachers surveyed said the city’s Department of Education has yet to address the new learning benchmarks, including failing to provide any curriculum or other instructional materials keyed to the new standards.
And more than half of the teachers surveyed said they had received no training to get their students ready for the tougher courses and exams, while many of those who did attend training sponsored by the DOE said the sessions were too few and too short.
The problem is particularly acute for many high-needs students. According to the survey, half the teachers who have special ed students said those students were not getting the help they needed to reach grade level, and more than four in ten teachers said their school was unable to provide the appropriate programs and mandated services to English language learners in their classes.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew said: “For more than two years the city has known this day was coming. But little was done, and it’s starting to feel like the DOE has given up the fight to help our children learn. We face the real possibility of plummeting test scores, but Tweed has apparently decided that schools and teachers are not going to get any help in getting kids ready to meet higher standards.”
The new tests are designed to require more reasoning from students, a deeper understanding of math concepts and procedures, and more focus on non-fiction and more complex reading material. Kentucky, the first of more than 40 states to issue tests based on materials similar to the Common Core, reported a 30 percent drop in test scores in its first round.
“Everything is being made up as we go along,” said Queens elementary school teacher Marci Cooper. She said she and her colleagues are trying to re-tool their current math curriculum themselves since only about 60 percent of their current math program is still usable.

Tim Clifford, an English teacher with 24 years classroom experience, said the new reading test for 8th grade covers content that used to be taught in 10th grade, describing it as “Much more difficult. We are working with students, creating our own curriculum, but it is a big jump.”
The New York State English Language Arts test for grades 3 through 8 will be administered April 16, 17 and 18, 2013; the state math test for grades 3 through 8 will be given April 24, 25 and 26, 2013.
Here are some examples of the old state reading and math tests, along with questions similar to what students can expect on the new Common Core tests.

Old 8th grad math (2010 test)

Solve the equation below for x.
9(x – 5) = 4x – 5
A    8
B   10
C   -8
D  -10
Reasoning: Solve multi-step equations by combining like terms, using the distributive property, or moving variables to one side of the equation.

New 8th grade math

Which step would not be a possible first step for solving this equation algebraically?
23(2x-1) + 213 = 7 + 12x
A multiplying every term in the equation by six
B subtracting 213 from 7
C subtracting 12x from 2x 
D multiplying -1 by 23
Assesses the student's ability to use the distributive property and to combine like terms when solving an equation.
[Answers at end of release.]
In ELA, the current 8th grade test asks students to read passages from short stories about animals and respond to a list of questions about how the protagonists are affected by the animals they write about.
The new 8th grade test uses excerpts from two famous biographies: “The Story of My Life,” by Helen Keller and “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” by Frederick Douglass. Students must then use details from both stories to compare and contrast the challenges that each author faced and how each addressed those challenges.
Some 7,344 teachers have responded from the 55,671 email questionnaires sent out starting in late October.
Read more: Press releases
Related topics: testing

NYC DOE Chiefs Walcott and Bloomberg Demand Agreement on Teacher Evals By Dec. 21, 2012

Chancellor calls for teacher evaluation agreement by Dec. 21

At an event at the Manhattan Institute on Dec. 5, Chancellor Dennis Walcott spoke about the ongoing negotiations between the DOE and the UFT over a new system for teacher evaluations. In his speech Walcott called for an agreement by Dec. 21 and invoked the threat of school budget cuts if no agreement is reached.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew responded to the chancellor's statement as follows:
The UFT has been trying for two years to negotiate with the DOE to create a teacher evaluation system that will help us help kids — a system whose first priority is making sure that all teachers continually improve.
But we’re not going to have an agreement until Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Walcott stop playing politics with our schools. Rather than establishing bogus deadlines and threatening parents with the loss of teachers and services, they should be focusing on reaching an agreement that will actually help make the schools better.
Making schools better also means the administration needs to provide the things that teachers and students need but which the DOE has largely ignored — curriculum, smaller classes, and an acknowledgement that their job is to actually assist schools and students, rather than just preaching accountability.
Read more: Press releases
Related topics: evaluation