The collapse of test scores in New York following the first
tests of the Common Core standards is fueling the growth of the
anti-testing movement. A huge protest took
place in Port Jefferson Station on Long Island on Saturday.

Fifteen hundred people turned out to denounce the Common
Core and the tests that labeled most children as “failures.” To get a turnout of this size on a Saturday in August in a small town signals big trouble for Common Core and its cheerleaders in the State Education Department.

Hero educator Dr. Joseph Rella was one of the speakers.

Newsday, the most widely read newspaper on populous and politically
powerful Long Island, published a vivid photograph of the rally
(open the link) and wrote as follows: “Protesters carried signs and
cheered as they waited to hear from Comsewogue Superintendent
Joseph Rella, a vocal curriculum critic.

“All of us have been passengers on a plane being built in midair,” Rella said to the
crowd. “Today, we are canceling our flight reservations.” “He urged
the group to use social media to spread the word and demand that
state legislators re-evaluate the potential effects of Common Core
standards. “Stop it, fix it or scrap it,” Rella chanted with the

A blogger noticed this great sign held by a child: “I should be blowing bubbles, not filling them in.”

Meanwhile, the Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review, the
main newspaper for the North Fork of Long Island, ran
a blistering editorial denouncing the Common Core and the
, predicting that state officials would end up
dropping them and admitting their error.

The victims of the Common Core, he warned, “will likely be the poorest among us.”

Michael White, editor of the Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review,
understands that the engineers of the standards and tests are
detached from reality.

He wrote: “Consider that many children in
poverty-stricken areas will still be living in single-parent or
no-parent households in our new, Common Core world. They still
won’t be eating or sleeping properly. They won’t be getting proper
medical attention for physical or emotional issues that interfere
with school. They won’t be getting help with homework, or even
having their homework checked at home. In fact, extra attention for
such students will be increasingly funneled away from them, as the
focus shifts to teaching to the Common Core assessments.

“For these kids, school’s simply getting harder, with no significant amount of
funding set aside to provide them better access to school supplies,
computers and internet access, or any plans to expand the school
day or school year or bulk up after-school enrichment programs.
With higher test failure rates, there’s also sure to be a huge
spike in students in need of additional support through mandated
programs such as academic intervention services. Where does that
money come from?

“State officials keep arguing that we must adopt
Common Core because America’s education system lags behind those of
other industrialized nations. But they never acknowledge that much
of the disparity is accounted for by the performance of students in
poor and non-English-speaking immigrant communities, which aren’t
as prevalent in more homogeneous nations like Finland and South

White sagely concluded: “Locally, it was revealed by the
state last week that for the 2012-13 year, 74.7 percent of
Riverhead School District students in grades 3 through 8 failed to
meet the state’s math proficiency standard and 73.8 percent failed
to meet the ELA standard. “Those numbers will change very little
moving forward (at least not after some initial curriculum
adjustments). Here’s why. In Riverhead, scores will increase
somewhat for wealthier students but will fall at about the same
rate, with potentially disastrous results, for those who don’t have
the same support systems at home. Those in the middle will break
one way or the other. “When these disparate results between
wealthier districts and the rest of the state become apparent —
especially in New York City — the backtracking on these
numbers-driven policies will begin.

“Yes, it’s my prediction Common Core will be reversed. But it’s also my hope. My fear is that so
much money will be tied up in pricey books, testing materials and
other increasingly entrenched funding sources for this initiative
that the politicians and policymakers won’t ever budge. Meanwhile,
our teachers will remain handcuffed and will continue teaching to
tests, and more and more students who lack either a natural
aptitude for learning or parental support will disengage from the
classroom and the educational process in general.

“Eventually, we’ll be wondering how we slipped even further behind Finland and
South Korea.”


When suburban parents have the visionary
leadership of men like Joseph Rella and Michael White, they will
not fall for the lie that three-quarters of their children are
failures. They will catch on: the kids did not fail. The tests were
designed to label them as failures. Suburban parents will see this,
rightly, as an assault on their children, not “reform.” And they
will tell their elected officials to stop these crazy policies that
hurt children.