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Test scores just the start

August 11, 2013

The scores local students — and those across the state — earned on last spring’s standardized state tests generally marked a sharp drop from prior years, which came as no surprise....

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Aug-12-13 12:19 PM

And, the state often overlooks the fact that being proficient doesn't always equate with being prepared for college level work, at an actual college.

I know many who took the supposed AP Calculus classes at GHS, only to find themselves in Pre-Calc in college, after being totally lost in Calc or Calc II, particularly true for those who opted for a career in teaching Math, or Engineering.

I hate to say it, but drop all that college crap, and go back to basics. And yes, start grouping by ability early, because that's how it is once you hit the MS.

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Aug-12-13 11:31 AM

As to the charter and private schools outperforming the public schools, there's this buried in an AP story the other day: "Just 23 percent of charter students scored proficient in language arts, compared with 31 percent in public schools overall. That’s a greater gap than had shown up in last year’s exams.

In math, charter schools beat the public school average in each of the past two years — but not this year. On the new tests, just 31 percent of charter students scored proficient, the same as in public schools overall."

As far as private schools, they are not required to use the same meaningless assessments that public schools do. Just ask to see the Common Core test results from the school NYSED Commissioner John King's children attend.

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Aug-12-13 10:21 AM

Ron: My town has 100% full value assesment. The taxes still go up, school and county, on an annual basis.

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Aug-12-13 10:18 AM

Unless you can get a kid to a point that they want to learn all is for naught. The reason that most charter and private schools succeed is if a child does not perform they are told to leave. No ifs ands or buts you are gone. There is an immediate consequence. If you cater to the better students you will see better scores. Until a family and student see an immediate consequence (that is painful) you will not get a positive increase in scores. If child does not want to learn create an environment that they will leap at the chance to learn. By the way the private boarding school I went to is now 60k. If my parents were paying for that now you are*****sure I would preform.

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Aug-12-13 9:43 AM

Hilltoper, The property taxes are in many places higher than they need to be. Now it is up to the people of each municipality to find out what your equalization rate is for you municipality and demand that your assessor get that equalization rate to 100%. Because the lower your equalization rate the higher you school tax rate will be as will your county tax rate.

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Aug-12-13 7:46 AM

Pay for schools through income tax, not the discriminatory property tax, and the focus will be on learning, not funding. State aid for schools comes from ALL NYS taxpayers, not just those who workrd their tail off to pay for a house.

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Aug-12-13 7:39 AM

Drugs, that 'system' you alluded to is comprised mainly of unionized teachers and the 'system' is failing. Remedial education was called 'Summer School'. Pass/fail was an absolute not subject to social inequities or income qualification. Low expectations, and equal outcome were never part of the equation but now it's accepted and has all kinds of excuses attached, that's how education has evolved.

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Aug-12-13 1:02 AM

and "learn more about the evolution of education from how things "used to" be"???? -- education has not "evolved", it's on a downhill slide. As long as you are going to look into this ask why they don't teach the things they "used to" -- the only thing that should have changed in basic education is history , there is more of that every day. I think that 2+2 is still 4, C-A-T is still spelled the same (matter of fact I don't think the spelling of any word has been officially changed). I'm almost positive that grammar rules haven't changed, Dick and Jane are still seeing Spot run. You are right, I should go to the local elementary school, if I can get in the front door through security that is now tighter than most prisons (oh, but that is for "safety reasons") and ask why things have changed.

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Aug-12-13 12:46 AM

GReader, and while you are there ask how they're coming along with Common Core indoctrination. You know - that Obummer thing where the kiddies get taught to work for the collective good of society instead of personal goals and freedom.

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Aug-11-13 11:25 PM

Drugs: I believe that today's remedial classes are designed to PREVENT failure or being "held back," as they address the needs of academically-deficient students in a smaller group setting than the larger whole-group, heterogeneously-organized classes now mandated by the least restrictive clause included special education law.

And honestly, comments from someone who would use a phrase that references excrement in a civilized online discussion of students' futures must be met with some measure of skepticism if not outright derision. These are children we are talking about for heaven's sake, not inanimate objects incapable of feeling or expressing emotions.

Perhaps you might consider spending a day or two in your local school to learn more about the evolution of education from how things "used to" be. This editorial and subsequent exchange of thoughts has prompted me to commit to making that effort in order to become better educated about the current state of schoo

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Aug-11-13 7:49 PM

GRedaed and Patriot, "remedial classes" is called failing the grade and repeating , being "held back" - or at least it used to. It's time to stop playing nice and call failure what it really is. A turd is still a turd no matter how much you try to polish it.

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Aug-11-13 6:37 PM

Having supported GReader, I also support Architect. The cost per child in NY State is ludicrous and should not be tolerated. Physician, (School administration, Bureaucracy, Unions) heal thyself!!

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Aug-11-13 6:29 PM

I agree with GReader but I still strongly advocate remedial class for those who cannot perform at a required minimal level.

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Aug-11-13 6:20 PM

Architect: The children in charter schools are there because the parents have CHOSEN to send their children to those schools. In doing so, they show an obvious interest in their children's success and will support the children, the school, its staff and its mission. Socio-economics are not relevant in that formula; parental involvement is the key. In addition, charter schools can remove students whose performance does not measure up to their school standards. Public schools cannot. They must accept and work with all children, regardless of the issues that the children bring with them.

In elementary school, it is not the fault of the children when the parents do not make school a priority. By the time these neglected children arrive at middle school, the message that school doesn't matter is ingrained and overcoming the home influence is well nigh impossible. The solution is early intervention, support for families who struggle, and consequences for parents who do not reform.

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Aug-11-13 6:01 PM

BlackFrancis1, you are right, I spent some time subbing in the vo-tech (BOCES to the locals) and had the same observation. My granddaughter (9) appears to be one of those, she is highly disappointed when school is done for the summer. The problem is that a majority of today's kids don't care and aren't taught at home the value of education and the need to learn.

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Aug-11-13 5:39 PM

I don't know how many of you posters have experience in classroom teaching but I have 12 yrs at the middle and high school levels and I learned a universal truth - a motivated student will succeed regardless of the teacher, school, standardized test, etc. I confess I don't have the magic answer that will motivate all students. I only know that a motivated student makes all arguments moot. An A student is such because of an intrinsic "something". All the convoluted testing, outdated schools, and poor teachers in the world cannot mess that kid up. in the world can't

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Aug-11-13 2:26 PM

and in re-reading the editorial, it seems that a last phrase was left out "........ like they used to"

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Aug-11-13 2:15 PM

Architect, the students(and I use that term loosely)DO own a piece of the blame. "The ever-increasing high cost of outcome-based public education.... " HUH/// Education used to be always "outcome based" -- if the kid can't do A)... B)... C).... he/she did not advance to the next grade. Why is this a new concept ????

The only reason private schools are "better" is because somebody is ponying up the $$$ and the parents expect results and somehow the kids get that. Public schools have become day care centers, kids don't pay attention, and for some reason many parents don't seem to care, except to blame "the system" for their own failures. "Hey, it's not my fault"

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Aug-11-13 2:04 PM

We learned because we did not want to disappoint our parents or our teachers. That disappointment used to be shameful, today it's "whatever" - "who cares??" - there is no shame. And with most emulating wannabe gangstas, they have no respect for others or themselves. Ever since we told women that they don't need a man around to have kids, society has been on a downhill slide that unfortunately I only see as getting worse.

Demand more from the kiddies and hold them accountable for their own actions. A few years age Colorado made dropouts sign a statement that stated that we (society) will not be responsible for their failures because they decided they didn't want to learn.

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Aug-11-13 1:53 PM

WOW, been on the road a couple of days - MrBoB, let's not put all the blame on the teachers (and the unions don't have anything to do with this). Let's start by pointing a finger at a system that fails to teach its students to think. FAILS to teach language arts (spelling, punctuation, grammar, writing skills including penmanship and how to properly hold a writing instrument), math (most don't have a clue of fractions and % of numbers), history (they don't care), in what used to be social studies, you learned how to be a good American citizen. More was expected of students in days gone by and we knew it. (con't)

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Aug-11-13 1:30 PM

“GReader”, the comparison of text scores amongst public schools is worthless, and part of the problem. There are numerous charter schools in the capital district whose entire student body is from extremely socio-economically depressed families, and these students are thriving academically and socially. There is a reason for the success of the charter schools, and the number one reason is for not following the failed model used in the public schools.

New York State spends on average, over $19,000 per student per year on public education & each local school spends more than $14,000 per student per year. With this much money being spent on public education, students should be thriving and as demonstrated by the recent test scores, they are not only not thriving, but they are failing to meet even the minimum standards.

Excuses as to why this is occurring continue to be provided by the administration’s and teacher’s of public schools, but ultimately, this is an outcome of your failu

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Aug-11-13 1:01 PM

I agree 100% with tommylarry. The brightest kids should be grouped with their intellectual peers who will challenge each other to excell. Too often for projects the brightest kids in the class are grouped with the least productive, they do all the work on the project, and the entire group gets the same grade. How does that help the brightest kid or the least productive kid? News flash, all kids are not regent scholar material. Why dumb down the test so they can barely pass? What will be next, every boy regardless of athletic ability gets a series of downs at QB during the Gloversville football games? Why not, it makes as much sense. The Achilles Heal of the entire educational system is a sfety net called The NYS Benefit Card, a reward for failure.

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Aug-11-13 11:41 AM

This comes from the top. It is mandated teaching that the state sets up. It is geared to what the state expects and it subjects students to what they believe is a fair assessment of their learning ability. I know some of the teachers and they want their students to learn and excel, it is what they are there for. BUT it may be the mandated materials that are the problem. You give all the kids the same information may be true but all the kids may not get it at the same rate. When you gather children in need, put them together in one school, spread them around in many classes you get lower grades throughout. Lets ax the top layers first and then look at each level for further failures!

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Aug-11-13 10:20 AM

As a concerned parent I find it fascinating that the only solution has been to jack up taxes and close schools in Johnstown. Next, the boneheads are grade level grouping. Now what? Was it all a scam? Where's my refund? Do I have to pack up and move out like the smart ones have?

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Aug-11-13 10:11 AM

teachers have had to deal with discipline for many years and they did a pretty good job. How ever our legal authorities to day just can not be bothered. And the fact that the teachers come to work looking like students rather than professionals as they did when I was in school. The boards of education do not have the back bone to make the teachers and administrators be accountable for their actions and the voters just can not understand that they need to keep the members of the boards of education be accountable and vote those who just sit there and give the farm away.

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