Cortney O'Brien

Misleading title aside, the Buffalo News report was not good. “Students in Buffalo statewide make modest gains in math,” declared an article in the New York newspaper detailing the results from the second year of Common Core implementation. Well yes, math scores did overall improve. But, the rest of the report was not quite so rosy:

Despite another full year of preparation by schools after the rollout of state Common Core tests in 2013, there were no dramatic, across-the-board gains in English this year. Large-city districts saw slight year-to-year improvement, but wealthier suburban districts statewide actually saw overall declines on the English exam.

The detailed grade proficiency results in New York from 2012 through 2014 are downright embarrassing. Even the most successful schools weren’t spared from Common Core. Take Ledgeview Elementary School, for example. This school boasted a 91.2 percent proficiency in 2012 for third grade math. The next year, those scores slid down to 76.3 percent. It ticked back up slightly in 2014 to 82 percent, but that was small consolation.

City Honors School, a top rated school in the state, had an impressive 90.2 percent proficiency in eighth grade ELA in 2012. That shot down to 80.4 percent in 2013. 

Orchard Park Middle School experienced a swift decline as well. Eighth grade ELA in 2012: 77 percent proficiency, 2013: 58.1 percent, 2014: 52 percent.

Most tragically, the schools already struggling were hit hardest by the new program. The Harriet Ross Tubman Academy, which had a 25.7 percent in third grade math, is now down to two percent.

While Buffalo had minor gains overall, the main issue is worth repeating:

The minor gains in Buffalo were carried by a relatively small number of schools, with the vast majority showing little to no improvement.

Many suburban schools saw significant declines in their eighth-grade scores this year. In Clarence, 52 percent of eighth-graders were proficient in English this year, compared with 64 percent the previous year. The decline was more dramatic in math – 30 percent were proficient this year, compared to 59 percent last year.

Despite these undeniably poor results, State Education Commissioner John King said this year’s statewide scores are “encouraging.”

I guess these students have to bring home ‘F’s to their parents before King dares to criticize the new program.

Unlike King, many parents and teachers are now rejecting the new Common Core standards. In a new poll released by PDK International and Gallup, 60 percent of those surveyed said they oppose the educational standards. What’s more, an education journal named Education Next found that 76 percent of teachers supported Common Core last year, but in 2014, that number has dropped to 46 percent.

In addition to hurting test scores, Common Core is threatening children's educational foundations with its misleading lessons. Take, for instance, the program's take on American history. Rebecca wrote about Common Core’s new standards for the AP US History exam, which leaves out inspiring details about our Founding Fathers and portrays America in a negative light.

Every state should take Governor Bobby Jindal’s (R-LA) lead. The Louisiana governor is fighting to delay Common Core implementation in his state. Although a judge recently ruled  against his efforts, Jindal is taking the right steps to try and defend these educators' freedom to teach as they wish, without worrying about these government standards.

Common Core is not in the best interests of students or teachers. How many more bad grades do children have to receive before the program is scrapped?


Cortney O'Brien

Cortney O'Brien is a Townhall web editor. Follow her on Twitter @obrienc2.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography