New York Principal Speaks Out on Ridiculous Common Core Test for 1st Graders

carol burris 2Below is an excerpt from a guest blog written by Carol Burris, Principal at South Side High School in New York.  She was named the 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.  In 2010 she was named the New York State Outstanding Education by School Administrators Association of New York.

In a nutshell she knows her stuff.  Valerie Strauss published her blog post at The Answer Sheet which is Strauss’ education blog at The Washington Post.  Burris writes about a recent Common Core aligned test given to first graders in New York.

My speech teacher came to see me.  She was both angry and distraught.  In her hand was her 6-year-old’s math test.  On the top of it was written, “Topic 2, 45%”. On the bottom, were the words, “Copyright @ Pearson Education.”   After I got over my horror that a first-grader would take a multiple-choice test with a percent-based grade, I started to look at the questions.

The test provides insight into why New York State parents are up in arms about testing and the Common Core. With mom’s permission, I posted the test here.  Take a look at question No. 1, which shows students five pennies, under which it says “part I know,” and then a full coffee cup labeled with a “6″ and, under it, the word, “Whole.” Students are asked to find “the missing part”  from a list of four numbers. My assistant principal for mathematics was not sure what the question was asking.  How could pennies be a part of a cup?

Then there is Question No. 12.  Would (or should) a 6 year old understand the question, “Which is a related subtraction sentence?”  My nephew’s wife, who teaches Calculus, was stumped by that one.  Finally, think about the level of sophistication required to answer the multiple-choice question in No. 8 which asks students to “Circle the number sentence that is true” from a list of four.

Keep in mind that many New York State first graders are still 5 years old at the beginning of October, when this test was given.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

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About the Author ()

Shane Vander Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Caffeinated Thoughts, a popular Christian conservative blog in Iowa. He is also the President of 4:15 Communications, a social media & communications consulting/management firm, along with serving as the communications director for American Principles Project’s Preserve Innocence Initiative.  Prior to this Shane spent 20 years in youth ministry serving in church, parachurch, and school settings.  He has taught Jr. High History along with being the Dean of Students for Christian school in Indiana.  Shane and his wife home school their three teenage children and have done so since the beginning.   He has recently been recognized by Campaigns & Elections Magazine as one of the top political influencers in Iowa. Shane and his family reside near Des Moines, IA.  You can connect with Shane on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Google +.
  • Bruce Dunn

    Flash ahead to graduation day for these first graders : As the songs from, “Children of the Corn” hover over the crowd of cowed parents, the graduates walk slowly in, some facing forward, some backward, some sideways, but all with the same glassy expression on their collective faces. There was great anticipation in the audience, with parents all hoping their child would be accepted at some community college. The graduation speeches took a bit of time since every graduate was allowed to speak in order to avoid offending. As the last graduate received their diploma, on a signal from the principal, they stood, turned towardd the audience, and demonstrated their well practiced smiles. After the graduation, everyone proceeded to the dining area, where they all enjoyed the very finest vegetarian fare with bottled spring water. All in all, it was a very nicely run governmental production, which will probably be looked back on (during therapy).

    • DMJ

      Brave New World

  • JoAnn

    Also note that in question 12, it asks for a related SUBTRACTION sentence, but all of the answer choices are addition sentences.

  • Kathy Gers Willis

    I totally agree with this article! What the author failed to mention is the name used in one of the story problems. A girl named FAIZA. That caught my attention immediately as being a middle eastern name. I looked it up and I was correct. here it is.
    This concerns me more than anything about Common Core! That ISLAM is written all over it!

    Faiza

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Faiza (Arabic: فاءزه ‎) is a female Arabic name meaning “successful, victorious, Benificial”.

    • Chris

      NEWS FLASH: There are Islamic students in New York schools. Bigotry is just as evil as CCSS idiocy. Islam is a religion that some United States Citizens follow. We still have constitutionally protected freedom of religion despite the Tea Party.

      • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

        Chris, bigotry is not a tea party value, but thanks for showing your ideological colors.
        Now can we all get back to discussing education policy?

      • Linda

        islam is NOT a religion, but it IS a political system/ideology which encompasses ALL aspects of life with the rules/laws called shariah.
        common core is for the whole wide world’s education…part of the New World Order! everyone is to be common!

        • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

          Linda, let’s stick to discussing Common Core.

    • ImaBigotToo

      OMG!!! THEY ALSO USED ROBERTO AND JENNIFER!!!!! CATHOLICISM AND EPISCOPALIAN WRITTEN ALL OVER IT!!!!! WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO???? THEY ALL NEED TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY NOW!!!

      • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

        Folks get back to discussing education policy or I’m going to close the comments.

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      Kathy,

      This really should be a non-issue. Cities and school districts where there is a lot of diversity will have tests and assignments like these. Using a Middle Eastern name in one of the story problems shouldn’t be a major item of concern. If Islamic doctrine, etc. were present in the story problems then I’d understand having a beef. Let’s stick to discussing education policy and the Common Core.

  • marcyharris92

    Idiotic.

  • PTA Mom

    Copyright @ Pearson Education …………I’d love to know what is Pearson’s role within the Common Core? Are they reacting to it or promoting it? Is it driving them or are they one of the drivers of the Common Core?

    Who is driving the Common Core? Governors of states? National Governors Association who contracted with David Coleman and his 2 partners to create it? Our 435 Congressman and women and 100 Senators….they passed Race to the Top?? Who voted for Race to the Top and who didn’t? Can those who voted for it defend it?

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      Pearson has been involved in designing some of the state-level Common Core assessments, as well as, driving common core-aligned curriculum. They’re purchasing other publishers are starting to monopolize the market. Needless to say Common Core has been a financial windfall for them.

      NGA, CCSSO, and Achieve have developed the states. Governors parrot their talking points. Bill Gates has been the primary funder. When Congress passed ARRA they did not create Race to the Top. The Obama administration earmarked $4.35 billion for that purpose and developed the parameters around it. There was no vote on RTTT just the overall Stimulus package which did not contain RTTT language.