Friday, April 10, 2015

F*ck Common Core & F*ck the NYSED State Assessment Test. (I apologize for my vulgarity.)

Meeting on the mound.
Okay, maybe I’m just not as smart as Bill Gates, but when I was in second grade and my teacher gave me a math problem like 9 + 6, I knew the answer was 15 because, well, the answer is 15. I did not have to factor the 9 into (3 + 3 + 3) and the 6 into (3 + 3).Then, distribute the factors into (3 + 3 + 3) + (3 + 3). Nor did I have to the merge the sets into (3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3). Finally, I did not have to add those three together five times to arrive at the answer. Know why? I’ll tell you why. Because 9 + 6 = 15.

Fucking Common Core. (Please pardon my bellicosity.)

* * * * *

Focus and Relax. Oxymoron, or just morons?
After he had a great baseball practice where he knocked the cover off the ball and had a lot of fun with his teammates, The Favorite Son was uncharacteristically glum during the ride home. He was uncooperative. He was argumentative. He was disrespectful. After enduring couple of his insolent banters, I resolved to cease feeding the barking dog and left him alone.

After a few minutes of silence, he said, referring to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) Assessment Test, “Jimmy’s not a taking the state test next week. His dad said he didn’t have to.”

“Did he?” I responded.

“Yeah.”

I continued, “Do you not want to take the state test?”

“No.”

“Okay, you don’t have to,” I answered.

The Favorite Son bloomed. Smiles. Playful. He was suddenly a different young man. He was, well, The Favorite Son again.

* * * * *

What does cotton have to do with it?
Having been a regular volunteer in my children’s classes during the past ten years, I’ve seen and experienced the evolution, or frankly, the de-evolution of classroom learning since the advent of Common Core education. I’ve literally seen days during which children should have been learning the relevance states’ rights in the context of the causes for Civil War or identifying the protagonist and antagonist in a Raold Dahl novel or that 9 + 6 =15, were being taught how to take a test instead.

Then, of course, there’s the stress of the test itself. For six full school days, children are required to sit at their desks and read questions based on dry non-
Gene Wilder & the Oompa Loompas, you Snozzberry.
fiction passages and determine which questions are essentially or completely “right.” Six days. As an adult, I took the GMAT, the GRE, and the LSAT, each in one day and I was emotionally spent and more than a little irritable. Heck, I didn't even have to take three extra steps to solve 9 + 6. Six days? For six year olds, eight year olds, and ten year olds? Is the NYSED (and your own state’s education department) joking?

When I and the Favorite Son returned home from that baseball practice, I typed at two sentence note addressed to his teacher which read,


Please excuse The Favorite Son from taking the New York State Education Department Assessment Test during the next two weeks. Please contact me if you have any questions.


On some of the test days, The Favorite Son will probably hang-out in a study hall and read a graphic novel. He loves The Walking Dead, and he just finished Book 4. On at least one of those days, though, I’ve arranged for him to spend the day at another school. A school that values learning. A school that doesn’t participate in the New York State Education Department Assessment Test.