Video: Students, Not Scores Rally, Aug. 17, 2013 (Credit: Christine Sampson)
Before the results of the New York State exams for school children in grades three through eight were even administered, Department of Education officials predicted that scores would plummet dramatically this year – specifically, that only 30 to 37 percent of students would pass those tests.
That's exactly what happened, and that was just one problem that ticked off Comsewogue superintendent Dr. Joe Rella the week that the test scores were released earlier this month.
Following a letter Rella sent to state lawmakers – a letter that went viral across not just Long Island but across the country – he and his colleagues at Comsewogue convened a rally dubbed "Students, Not Scores" on Saturday to protest the testing process and the Common Core curriculum on which it is based.
State officials have said the Common Core curriculum, a national standard for education adopted by more than 40 states, is designed to boost and measure college and career readiness. In an Aug. 7 statement, Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said: "Our former standards did not prepare all of our students for 21st century college and careers."
However, Rella said the state rushed into implementing the Common Core curriculum and the new, more rigorous state tests without giving enough time for the teachers and students to adjust.
"Any test designed to have 70 percent of the children taking it fail is abusive," Rella said Saturday.
Along with local and state leaders including Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association president Beth Dimino, state teachers' union president Dick Ianuzzi, former county legislator Vivian Viloria-Fisher, State Assemb. Steve Englebright, D-Setauket, and State Assemb. Al Graf, R,C-Holbrook, Rella called for the state to reform or drop the Common Core curriculum and tests. More than a thousand parents, teachers and students at the rally joined him in saying: "Stop it, fix it or scrap it."
"Only together do we have a shot at this," he said.
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