John King, New York’s State Education Commissioner, took the opportunity to discuss racial segregation in the Brown v. Board of Education anniversary, to allege that Common Core Curriculum Standards are designed to bridge the education gap between minorities and white students. King added that parents and teachers who back away from Common Core risk hurting minority and low-income students.
Via the Times Union:
King spoke about the struggles minorities and low-income still face in the educational system.
King said racial and socioeconomic disparities among students still have an effect on academic achievement levels. He said only 15 percent of black and Latino high school graduates are ready for college-level work, while half of white students are sufficiently prepared.
King said the Common Core standards are an attempt to close the achievement gap between minority and low-income students relative to their peers. He urged parents and educators to not back off of their commitment to the Common Core standards or else risk hurting these students’ chance to succeed in and out of the classroom.
Of course, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan once famously quipped that opposition to New York’s Common Core testing was mostly from “white suburban moms” who were finding out that their kid wasn’t “brilliant.”
A recent Washington Post article however, wonders if closing the so-called “achievement gap” was ever a priority of the Common Core Standards. The article specifically compares grading in New York state from before and after the implementation of Common Core testing.
In New York for example, one of the first states to roll out the new curriculum, scores from Common Core tests dropped like a stone — and the achievement gaps dramatically widened. In 2012, prior to the Core’s implementation, the state reported a 12-point black/white achievement gap between average third-grade English Language Arts scores, and a 14-point gap in eighth-grade English Language Arts (ELA) scores. A year later enter the Common Core-aligned tests: the respective gaps grew to 19 and 25 points respectively (for Latino students the eighth grade ELA gap grew from 3 to 22 points). The same expansion of the gap occurred in math as well. In 2012, there was an 8-point gap between black/white third-grade math scores and a 13-point gap between eighth-grade math scores. In 2013, the respective gaps from the Common Core tests expanded to 14 and 18 points.
Additionally, black students in third grade who scored “below standard” in ELA testing went from 15.5% to 50% under Common Core. Math was even worse, as black students in 7th grade who rated “below standard” rose from 16.5% to a whopping 70%.
Rather than heeding the warning that something is very wrong, New York’s Board of Regents adds the highest of stakes for students—their very ability to graduate high school. In February, the New York State Board of Regents established the college-ready scores that students will need for graduation, beginning with the class that enters high school in four years. These scores, which up until now have been known as “aspirational” measures, have been reported by the state in the aggregate and by sub-group for the past several years. If these scores were used last year, the New York four-year graduation rate would have plummeted to 35 percent. This low rate masks even worse outcomes for students with disabilities (5 percent), as well as black (12 percent), Latino (16 percent) and English Language learners (7 percent). New York Education Commissioner John King even told reporters that he was disappointed that the scores were not phased in sooner because the delay means more students would leave high school “unprepared.” He need not worry. With his preferred cut scores, most students—especially students of color, poverty and disability–will not leave high school at all.
The Common Core system in reality means that “many of our students of color, poverty, disability and our English language learners will have doors of opportunity shut.” Not just white suburban mothers.
Cross-posted at the Mental Recession