As the new school year nears, school districts have to figure out what to do about all those kids who did not meet state standards on the big, new, Common Core-driven tests.
We reported Saturday that the state will not require that districts provide remediation for all the students who got 1s and 2s on the grades 3-8 tests in ELA and math. In the past, districts had to offer special remediation services for all kids who got 2s and 1s — scores that are supposed to indicate that students are not “proficient” in the subject. (That’s state Ed Commissioner John King introducing the scores a couple of weeks ago.)
This year, though, MOST students — statewide and locally — got 2s and 1s (3s indicate proficiency and 4s high proficiency). So the state will soon release a chart showing which scores indicate a real need for remediation. Clearly, a lot of student who got 2s will be deemed as NOT in need of remediation.
Additionally, the NYS School Boards Association this morning released the results of a survey of school board members across the state. Apparently, 67% believe their students’ scores will improve next year, after teachers have had some time to digest what the Common Core is all about. Numerous educators have pointed out that the state did not release a lot of information about the Common Core until well into this past school year — even though the new, tougher tests were to be offered in April.
Interestingly, 73 percent of board members said they were concerned about their districts’ ability to provide remedial instruction to all those kids who got 2s and 1s. The fact that the state may not require remediation for all those students is not putting everyone at ease.
NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer put it like this: “The state is looking at giving schools the option of providing remediation to only the lowest-achieving students this year rather than all students. But school boards will have trouble telling parents that their children, who might not have scored lowest but still need extra support, cannot get extra help.”
In other ed news:
* We recently reported that the Bedford teachers union is negotiating a new contract that may not include “steps and lanes” for new teachers — the automatic raises that teachers have traditionally received for seniority and professional development. Moving away from this traditional salary structure would set a potentially important precedent locally that could affect contract negotiations elsewhere.
* We have a story today about the dedication required by students who participate in the increasingly popular high-school level science research programs. We focus on one student at Ossining High School — Caitlin Piccirillo-Stosser — who happens to be the daughter of the teacher who started Ossining’s program, now one of the most successful in the region.
These programs are incredibly demanding and certainly not for all students. Caitlin, in fact, has been doing full-time research all summer at the New York Botanical Garden. For no pay. Just for the love of science. The students who participate in these 3-year programs make every bit the sacrifice — possibly more, in fact — that top student athletes and even musicians have long made.