Thank goodness at least one prominent journalist in the mainstream media sends her child to public school!


At Rebecca Mead’s public school, two-thirds of the children opted out of the state tests aligned to Common Core.


So Mead understands the frustration of the comedian Louis C.K., whose tweets about the Common Core tests went viral.


Louis C.K. had more than 3 million Twitter followers so when he spoke out, his voice was unheard, unlike the voices of countless other parents.


The advocates of the Common Core insist that the problems that parents object to are not part of the Common Core but caused by faulty implementation.

(That is the same refrain we always hear about great ideas that fail: faulty implementation.)


Mead notes:


Plenty of parents and educators agree with him. After last month’s state tests for English language arts, teachers citywide protested, calling the problems tricky and developmentally inappropriate—as well as questioning the need for three long, consecutive days of testing, no matter the quality of the test materials. Elizabeth Phillips, the principal of P.S. 321, a highly regarded public school in Park Slope, called on members of the State Board of Regents to take the exams themselves: “Afterward, I would like to hear whether they still believed that these tests gave schools and parents valuable information about a child’s reading or writing ability,” she wrote.


This happens to be my most fervent wish: that all legislators and policymakers would take the tests they mandate and publish their scores.


Mead writes:


It seems likely that if more parents with the wealth and public profile of Louis C.K. showed their support for public education not by funding charter-school initiatives, as many of the city’s plutocrats have chosen to do, but by actually enrolling their children in public schools, there would long ago have been a louder outcry against the mind-numbing math sheets and assignments that sap the joy from learning. The majority of children in the school system sit in classrooms with far fewer resources than those enjoyed by C.K.’s children, or by mine. The concentration on testing is only another way in which students are short-changed. Educators have been arguing since last spring that the tests are flawed, and that the achievement gap in New York is widening rather than lessening: in 2013, there was a nineteen-per-cent gap between the scores of white and black third graders in the E.L.A. exams, and a fourteen-per-cent gap in math. “Students who already believe they are not as academically successful as their more affluent peers, will further internalize defeat,” Carol Burris, a principal from Rockville Centre, wrote in the Washington Post last summer, calling on policymakers to “re-examine their belief that college readiness is achieved by attaining a score on a test, and its corollary—that is possible to create college readiness score thresholds for eight year olds.” This week, teachers at International High School at Prospect Heights, which serves a population of recently arrived immigrants from non-English-speaking countries, announced that they would not administer an assessment required by the city. A pre-test in the fall “was a traumatic and demoralizing experience for students,” a statement issued by the teachers said. “Many students, after asking for help that teachers were not allowed to give, simply put their heads down for the duration. Some students even cried.” When a comedian points out the way in which the current priorities don’t add up, it earns even the attention of those who haven’t thought much about school since they graduated. But the brutal math of the New York City school system is no laughing matter.