I was emailed the following message: "Five percent of kids who are learning English in uptown's District 6 passed the third-through-eighth-grade math tests last spring, while just 2.3 percent passed the English Language Arts test, according to DOE data."
The information quoted and linked below has been circulated by very concerned parents and educators; and I share it because it is my personal and professional belief that what is being said on these memos and articles can be considered a crime against children. This is a crime not only because of the atrocious behavior of the NYC Board of Education, but also because the utilization of testing tools that are completely inappropriate with children below the age of nine results in long lasting damaging consequences for these children.
The standardized testing of children below the age of nine years of age (most educators and developmental psychologist agree that around nine years is the age when formal and critical mental abilities, faculties, are reached by most people) should be considered a crime. Prior to that age students can be academically evaluated using qualitative methods that can take into consideration their primary language and its dialectal variations. And if these children are learners of a second language, particularly when the second language is the national language, these evaluations must include the functions and codes (TV, Commerce, etc.) that these children experience outside of the school environment. To expect these students to perform at the same level of students who are already speakers of the national language it is not only a crime, it is completely unprofessional. (And please do not bring the successful stories of middle class kids or those who come from highly literate oriented homes. To standardized test them, even if they do well is still a crime)
http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20131002/washington-heights/doe-didnt-put-out-translated-common-core-materials-until-month-of-testDOE Didn't Put Out Translated Common Core Materials Until Month of Test
By Nigel Chiwaya on October 2, 2013 7:29am | Updated on October 2, 2013 7:29am
NORTHERN MANHATTAN — The Department of Education didn't give out teaching materials to help kids who are learning Engl ish pass the new, harder Common Core tests until the month of the test last spring — a delay that northern Manhattan parents say contributed to their students' poor performance on the exams.
Just five percent of kids who are learning English in uptown's District 6 passed the third-through-eighth-grade math tests last spring, while just 2.3 percent passed the English Language Arts test, according to DOE data.
Those numbers trail the district as a whole, which saw 17 percent of students pass the math test and 14.3 percent pass the English test, and they're far below the city average of nearly 30 percent of students passing the math test and 26.4 percent passing the English test.
Uptown parents said students learning English were faced with an unnecessarily difficult struggle this year as they took the tests without the aid of textbooks or handouts in their native languages.
"Knowing that the Common Core curriculum is not available in Spanish is really negatively affecting our district," said Miriam Aristy-Farer, president of the District 6 Community Education Council and mother of a fourth-grader who took the exams last spring. "The numbers don't lie."
The Department of Education put out a list of suppl emental materials to help students who are learning English pass the math and ELA exams, but not until last April, the same month that students took the tests, DOE documents show. The full set of materials won't be made available until this fall, according to the documents.
In the meantime, teachers at transitional bilingual and dual-language programs were instructed not to translate the English curriculum into other languages, the DOE said in documents.
District 6 Superintendent Elsa Nunez also blamed some of the students' struggle on a non-uniform curriculum that left teachers uncertain of what would be on the exam.
"Although the Common Core was adopted in 2010, the curriculum was not aligned to it," Nunez said at the CEC's September meeting. "So last [school] year, the teachers were scrambling trying to align the units based on what they thought the exam was goi ng to cover."
A DOE spokesman did not respond to questions about the delays in curriculum and supplemental materials. However, the spokesman, Devon Puglia, said in an email that the Department of Education is in contact with schools that have students who are learning English as a second language.
"There are materials available and there’s been communication with schools that support second language learners," Puglia said.
Aristy-Farer said the CEC would address the issue by forming an English Language Learners committee and examining strategies used by schools that were most successful.
"We can't pay for curriculum to be translated and provided," Aristy-Fa rer said. "But what we can do is see who is doing it well and if it's something that we can look at other schools to start implementing."
Leonie HaimsonExecutive Director
Class Size Matters
My own questions (to be developed further):
Once general questions regarding materials, curriculum alignment, evaluation instruments and related value systems are answered, decision making bodies can ask:
What is the teacher-pupil ratio?
What specific methods do particular teachers use – master - when it comes to teaching and evaluating specific disciplines?
Are surrounding institutions (higher education, hospitals, community centers) providing support to immigrants families regarding the education of their children?
How are parents being informed as to how they can provide support to their children?