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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-11-13 4:08 AM

Great editorial, spot on.

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Aug-11-13 7:07 AM

The El-Hi educational system in New York State is currently hopelessly compromised. A strong desire to "graduate" students regardless of their proficiency in basic subjects (readin', writin' and 'rithmetic) puts teachers in the thrall of school and political administrators who want to keep their funding maintained and their jobs safe-guarded. The performance of most schools is below shameful - it is disgraceful and unacceptable. Any student who cannot meet minimum mandatory levels at any grade should be enrolled immediately in a remediative course which will hopefully enable that student to function post-highschool in a competitive economic world. A class MUST not be tailored to a least common denominator.

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Aug-11-13 7:14 AM

I agree, good article and very revealing. "Some teachers noted they did not know exactly what information would be on the test, making it difficult to prepare students". Translation: We only know how to teach to a test, we're not prepared to actually 'educate', where's the union rep.???

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Aug-11-13 7:29 AM

The deplorable scores on the latest state tests is unacceptable and it is not the fault of the students, but the districts.

“Local educators say the test scores will serve as a new baseline, and districts will aim to improve from there.” If the test scores don’t improve, and drastically, local educators should be fired.

The ever-increasing high cost of outcome-based public education cannot be justified when the most of the students are not proficient in basic mathematics and English.

Local parents who have children attending local public schools should give serious consideration to placing their children in private school, given the poor job the local schools are doing in providing basic education. There is a cost for sending your children to private school; however, all but a few of the students in private school are proficient in mathematics and English, along with the remainder of the subjects. There is more of a negative cost of sending your children to public school.

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Aug-11-13 7:48 AM

Apparently the progressives agree with the article... SO it must be wrong! You do not suppose that the test scores do not represent the areas newest residents as a piece of the puzzle? When you push the children in need from the families in the low to no income, drug using influx onto the school system? Naaa I bet that has not a thing to do with it! (sarcasm)!

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Aug-11-13 7:55 AM

Almost every year during the "budget vote" we hear it's for the kids.

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Aug-11-13 8:36 AM

There is lots of blame to go around. Parents not caring,state ed with their pie in the sky attitude and kids with if I don't want to I don't have to attitude (and they can't do anything to me). I'm glad my kids are done.

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Aug-11-13 8:43 AM

Those commenting on the poor instruction should take the time to compare scores from our area to more affluent areas of the state. Locally we suffer from high socio-economic distress, which is manifest in families for whom day-to-day subsistence is a challenge and the education of their children is not a priority. School attendance suffers, homework is not checked, before-and after-school supervision is nil, nutrition is supplied only through the districts' free/reduced meals program, and time that should be spent on parenting is spent on overcoming life issues.

Ruby Payne's seminal research in her book, "A Framework for Understanding Poverty," should be required reading for those policy makers who create systems by which others are judged.

Without understanding the disasterous impact of poverty on families, test makers cannot begin to formulate an assessment system that properly measures what teachers and principal face every day in trying to save their students' lives.

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Aug-11-13 8:53 AM

Great article!!! Finally someone is not defending the districts and teachers. All I have heard has been the teachers crying about the state trying to make them accountable and not knowing what to teach. This can be a great turning point for our kids if board of educations do their jobs and get rid of poor performing teachers. Parents, call your schools and ask to see the test scores of the teachers who are teaching your children. This is a right you now have! In the private sector we do our jobs and do them right every day or we get replaced. Students are graduating unprepared for college because schools care more about graduation rates than if the students have actually reached the level they should to graduate.I agree that at this stage in the game parents should bite the bullet and pay the extra for private school rather than the extra college tuition they will be paying when their child can't get a 4 year degree in 4 years; they are starting out behind the 8 ball.

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Aug-11-13 8:53 AM

One of the problems with public education begins in the early grades with the practice of heterogeneous grouping. Instead of the more intelligent kids being grouped together where there education can be more streamlined to fit their abilities, they are placed with kids of all abilities across the spectrum. This causes the teachers to spread the focus of their instruction and inevitably spend most of their time dealing with the least common denominator because they know the upper level kids can be just given some busy work while the teacher works with the lower achieving kids.

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Aug-11-13 8:56 AM

Couple this with teachers being forced to deal with discipline problems in the older grades which further impedes the progress of the kids in class who really want to learn and it's no wonder our test scores are so abysmal.

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Aug-11-13 9:54 AM

I have one problem here. How could the teaches not know what is on the test. the Common Core Standards are published all over the place. Do a quick Google Search.

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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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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 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 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 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 1:53 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 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 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 2:26 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 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 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 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 6:29 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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