Friday, August 5, 2016

Ed groups worry over proposed federal sanctions for opt-outs | WBFO

Ed groups worry over proposed federal sanctions for opt-outs | WBFO:

Ed groups worry over proposed federal sanctions for opt-outs

Hillary and John King OPT OUT.001


Education groups, dismayed by the federal education secretary’s threat to punish schools in New York with high opt-out rates for standardized tests, say he is re-igniting the controversy that state education officials have been trying to calm for the past year.
Education Secretary John King was New York’s education commissioner until about a year ago. Under King’s tenure in the state, controversy over the implementation of the Common Core learning standards escalated.
It led to a boycott movement for the third- through eighth-grade standardized tests that resulted in about one-fifth of students opting out last year. This year, a slightly higher percentage of students skipped the tests —22 percent, compared to 20 percent in 2015.
The new state education commissioner, Mary Ellen Elia, tried to minimize the boycott. Elia issued a recorded statement late last Friday, when the test results were released. She tried to stick to the positive, saying the test results improved over 2015.
“We’re very pleased with the performance this year,” said Elia, who noted English scores improved by 6.6 percent and math results by 1 percent.
Nevertheless, the test results still show nearly two-thirds of third- through eighth-grade students are less than proficient in English and math.
“We obviously have work to do,” Elia said.
The boycott could have some adverse consequences for schools with high numbers of students skipping the tests. King said in July that schools in which fewer than 95 percent of students take the tests should be labeled as low-performing and possibly face fines or even a takeover. The rules would be part of President Barack Obama’s Ed groups worry over proposed federal sanctions for opt-outs | WBFO:

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