State Education Commissioner Responds To Complaints About ELA Tests

8:24 AM, Apr 11, 2013   |    comments
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NY State Education Commissioner John King

Buffalo, N.Y. - Gina Kemna of North Tonawanda says her two kids, a fourth grader and a sixth grader, will not be taking the state's new English, Language and Arts tests next Tuesday.

She's part of a small, but vocal minority of parents who don't believe the ELA tests, for grades three through eight, are an effective way to evaluate kids, and that schools are spending too much time in the classroom preparing kids to take the tests.

"I believe it's a way for New York state to evaluate teachers, it's not helping our kids in school," said Kemna.

We took Gina's concerns and those of other parents to the state education commissioner.

Scott Brown: "Some parents are saying it's taking the focus away from learning and onto just test taking, your response?"

State Education Commissioner John King: "I share the concern that some parents have expressed that too much of instruction looks like rote test prep, which we know causes students to do less well on the assessments and certainly doesn't help them prepare for college and a careers, so our focus is really on these new standards and how they can drive changes in instruction."

King says New York has joined 44 other states that are now taking part in what's called Common Core Learning Standards.

Scott Brown: "You've got a chance to talk to parents who have been opting out or want to opt out, what would you say to them?"

Commissioner John King: "The assessments are an opportunity for again, parents, for teachers, for schools to know how students are doing as they progress towards college and careers. As a parent why wouldn't you want to know how your child is doing and whether or not they're on track for college and career success, whether their reading and math skills reflect a path that will take them to college and career success."

But what happens if a parent keeps their child from taking the test?

A spokesman for the State Education Department, Dennis Tompkins said "Parents who keep their children from these tests are essentially saying 'I don't want to know where my child stands, in objective terms, on the pat to college and career readiness' and we think that's doing them a real disservice."

In terms of any consequences for children who don't take the tests, the state says that would be up to the local school district to determine.

For more information:

http://engageny.org/common-core-assessments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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