By now, everyone has been duly warned that the new Common Core tests will be “harder.”

The passing rates are expected to drop by 30%.

Advocates of privatization are excited and hoping the bad news will encourage parents to abandon their community schools.

Entrepreneurs are poised to sell stuff when everyone is desperate for the latest new thing.

But what about the kids?

This teacher describes what she sees in her classes: fear.

“I have been chatting with my classes explaining that we expect the tests to be tougher and that we are taking our best guesses as to how to best prepare them. They (6th graders) have looked at me incredulously and asked, “You mean you don’t know what is going to be on the test?” I have used the “good, better, best” terminology this year to help them ramp up the rigor in vocabulary, reading, and their writing. I replied, “I expect higher than “best”….(for the level they can be prepared for). They looked stricken. They expect me to know and to be able to help them prepare. I know in my heart they think I am letting them down. I have never been a teach to the test teacher. I am flummoxed by this unbelievable plan of teacher destruction.

“What has been completely lost in all of this is the students. They are going to have to sit and struggle with these Ela tests for three days knowing by the end of the first day that they are not doing very well. Imagine what this will feel like to our plucky special education students whom we have supported throughout the year. Or, how about the ESOL kids who are valiantly interpreting every thing they read in a second language. Their reward? They will do the same the following week for the math tests. Highly regarded teachers have been in tears trying to understand how to convey very abstract mathematical concepts to our concrete thinking 6th graders. Rigor is important but not at the expense of known developmental benchmarks. The sample sent out by the State Ed. Dept. for Ela had reading passages at levels more than four or five years higher than our middle schoolers read.

“Who said yes to this? Who said yes?! And even more importantly, how will this end?”