Would I Lie to You?

This week, a very personable “professional developer” from BOCES came to my school to “guide” the K-6 teachers in the use of the Tri-State Quality Rubric – a rubric that is to help us all align our lessons to the CCSS and is to be used as a “learning tool”. We have been assured that this exercise is in no way evaluative. In fact, the goal is to help become more “thoughtful and reflective” as we plan lessons.

I can deal with this – professional development is not a bad thing. I have no problems with learning about new tools and strategies that will improve my teaching.  However, what I cannot deal with is the bag of lies that comes along with this professional development.

“The modules on the engageny web site are just resources.” This lie was repeated over and over so much that I believe the folks at NYSED think if they just get enough folks to say it, teachers will eventually believe it.  If this is true, then why, oh why, dear BOCES Staff Specialist when I go there are the modules listed under “NYS CURRICULUM”?

“The CCSS were developed by teachers.”  OK – so much has been written that by now I can’t believe that anyone honestly thinks I would believe this one, but go ahead and keep repeating it because obviously if you say it enough, it must be true right?

“This will strengthen your lesson planning, and it is not an evaluative tool about your teaching.”  I may not be the brightest bulb in the bunch, and I am in no way a “Staff Specialist”, but I fail to see how we can discuss my lesson planning, have an observation of the execution of the lesson plan and NOT talk about my teaching. Now, it is very well true that my teaching will not be evaluated – but how on earth do you evaluate my lesson planning WITHOUT making any comment about my teaching?  Of course, in my humble opinion this is exactly the problem with the CCSS and NYSED’s scripted curriculum – what is written on a piece of paper doesn’t necessarily translate to what is good teaching practice taking into account the unique make-up of my classroom.

I can stand a lot of things – among them the lies that are repeated over and over again about the CCSS – but I cannot stand for the lies that are being told to my child!

My child is a junior in High School, which this year gives him a “unique opportunity” as he and I have been told. He gets to take the “old” English Regents exam twice and he gets to take the “new” CC-aligned ELA test. Best of all, the highest of all three scores will be the one that “counts” as his final exam score.

He has been told by his Guidance Counselor and his English teacher that he SHOULD take all 3 tests. That is an outright lie!! Of course, they try to work their magic of telling him what a great chance this is to keep taking the tests to get the highest grade possible.

What is required in NY for graduation is to PASS the ENGLISH REGENTS EXAM – PERIOD!! So, my son has a plan: He will take the exam next week IF he’s satisfied with his score, he will NOT take any more ELA exams. He is fully prepared to “sit and stare” if need be, although I told him he could just stay home sick on those days. He wants them to know that he’s buying the LIE – he wants to make a statement and I couldn’t be prouder of him!

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5 thoughts on “Would I Lie to You?

  1. Nimbus

    My students are testing Monday on that exam, and will only take it again if they don’t get their 90 plus. No CCSS regents for them, regardless of the 90. tests junior year are excessive anyways.

    Reply
    1. antiqueteacher60 Post author

      Just curious…….why above 90 when 85 is mastery? Let’s be perfectly honest …….that Regents with Distinction and Honors doesn’t mean much the day after graduation, and means even less if a student applies to a college/university outside of NYS.

      Reply
  2. Margaret Benson

    Over a half a century ago I took Regents Exams. I attended a vocational high school in NY City, but a lot of us went on to college, and everyone enrolled in the school had to take the exams. They seemed pretty easy. It was only when I moved to Buffalo that I found that my neighbor’s daughter was terrified of them. Only college prep students had to take them at her high school, and she was in a more general program. So, half a century later, how hard are these tests? Why is 85 (a B, or B+) considered mastery?

    Reply
    1. antiqueteacher60 Post author

      I have no idea why 85 is mastery, but I did hear this today from my son:
      In order to PASS the exam you must get all the multiple choice correct, at least a 4 out of 6 on the “critical lens” essay and get 2/2 on both short answer questions. NYSED changed the scoring bands last year for this exam – but from the sounds of it, this is nearly impossible to PASS.

      Reply

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