On Saturday, parents, teachers, students, and community members gathered on the football field at Comsewogue High School in Port Jefferson Station to rally to end the Common Core state testing that reflected poorly on students and teachers alike.
According to state education officials, only 37.5% of students in grades 3 through 8 passed the newly updated math tests this year, whereas in 2012, 75.4% of students passed the exam. The spiraling trend was also seen in English, where 39.6% of students passed this year, when 67.2% passed the year before.
Those at the rally called for the test to either be stopped or changed to accurately reflect the students’ academic success without having students tested into the ground.
“There are people in positions of power who are hurting our children, and as the adults in the room, we have to make it stop,” said Beth Dimino, President of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association.
Superintendent of Comsewogue School District Joe Rella also supported the rally and the frustration felt by school and community members across the board.
"Children will not understand how they went from doing very well to failing in three years," wrote Rella in a letter to parents after the poor test results were announced. "The commissioner is telling them that they aren't learning less. They won't understand. I don't understand!"
In his petition, Graf writes, “complying with the regulations to receive funding from the Federal Government’s Race to the Top Program costs far more to implement than we actually receive from the Federal Government. Competing for the Race to the Top funding is tantamount to spending ten thousand dollars to get a two thousand dollar grant which does not make sense and is fiscally irresponsible.”
“We need to return to what has worked in previous years,” Graf adds. “Government should not be tinkering with the education experience of our children, while ignoring the voices of the professionals in the classroom.”
Graf’s petition already has over 3,300 signatures.