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Alyssa Katz is a member of the editorial board of the Néw York Daily News, which has been a reliable cheerleader for the Common Core, high-stakes testing, and all of Governor Cuomo’s bad ideas to punish public schools, teachers, and children.
But Alyssa Katz has a singular advantage over most editorial writers: she is a parent of a child in public school. She has seen what Common Core looks like and how confusing the sample questions on the tests are.
She understands why Cuomo’s popularity rating has plummeted and why it is rock bottom among public school parents. He has only a 50% approval rating. 28% approve of his education ideas, as do only 21% of public school parents.
Since Cuomo has asserted his education leadership in a state where he has no legal authority over education (he does not appoint the state board or the state commissioner), parents will blame him for incoherent Common Core assignments and for the failure of their child on Common Core tests. If favorite teachers are fired for low scores, it will be Cuomo’s fault.
Katz has had it.
“With kids prepping for April tests, anxieties are again mounting. At least, that’s the view from my dining-room table, where my third-grader grapples with hair-tearing homework , and where her guiding inspiration for writing assignments is a laminated card drilling “RADD” — for Restate, Answer, Detail, Detail.
“If the questions on kids’ homework and, by extension, their standardized tests, are tough to understand, how does it make sense to base high-stakes teacher employment decisions on those tests?
“Take this math assignment: “Draw an array. Then write a fact family to describe your array.” The sound you hear is sweat trickling down my husband’s face.
“The question that follows asks whether it’s correct to surmise that a family whose members have 14 legs consists of 7 people. One kid answered — it became an internet meme — “Yes, because 14÷2 = 7, but not everyone has two legs. Go to http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org.”
“My breaking point came with a math problem asking kids to combine Grover Cleveland’s electoral votes won in 1884, 1888 and 1892, a sum that would mean nothing to even the most obsessive presidential historian.”