Well, it appears that public education is back in the news. The North Carolina Bankers Association — of all groups — has endorsed the Common Core curriculum for the state’s public schools. Dr. June Atkinson and her crew at NC DPI have disseminated talking points to all of the edu-crats across the state to downplay the mediocre-to-dismal showing in testing results: “North Carolina Public Schools Post Strong Academic Growth; Higher standards mean fewer students marked proficient.” Seriously ????
Our superintendent here in Moore County picked up the football handed off to him by Dr. June & the gang and ran with it.
Terry Stoops, the in-house education guru at The John Locke Foundation, had a few interesting insights on this matter:
Here are a few talking points you will hear this afternoon:
- Standards are higher.
- The tests measure “college and career readiness.”
- Scores usually drop during the first year of a new testing program.
- Despite lower scores, the student test score growth continued.
- This has happened in the past.
- Students will adapt to the “higher” standards and rise to the occasion in the future.
- This is a transition year.
- You cannot compare these scores to last year’s scores.
- Other states have done the same thing.
I would ask the folks at DPI some simple questions:
- Why have we waited decades to raise testing standards?
- Why were you content to hold our students to low standards for so long?
- How do you define “career and college readiness?”
- Why does DPI feel the need to tinker with standards and tests every few years? For example, DPI altered cut scores in 2005 (math) and 2007 (reading), only to revamp the tests in 2011.
- Don’t you think it is a problem that frequent changes to the testing program have made it nearly impossible to examine longitudinal test score data?
- Can you demonstrate, either qualitatively or quantitatively, that last year’s test questions were more challenging than those on past ones?
Stoops also noted there was little change for NC students on national reading and math assessments between 2011 and 2013. He also pointed out testing results showing ONLY 12.5 percent of black males in grades 3-8 are proficient in reading and math.
OK. So tell me again. WHY do we keep giving Dr. June four year extensions on her stay in Raleigh?