District’s policy on math test is flawed

Will Farmer, Burnt Hills


In recent years, a state Common Core Task force found more than half of the new academic standards needed substantial revisions. While the Regents adopted revised standards (Next Generation) in July 2017, a full implementation isn’t scheduled to be completed until the fall of 2020, with new state tests being scheduled for spring of 2021.  

As a result, the state Education Department has placed a moratorium on the use of state tests scores in teacher evaluations. However, the state continues to administer these flawed tests to our students based on the current flawed standards. 

Knowing this, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake is still discouraging students from opting out by having them take these interim flawed tests. They will “reward” eighth grade students by exempting them from Part 2 of a final exam locally crafted by our quality teachers. For those who opt out, they’ll punish them by having them come in an extra day for an additional math final. This message was told to the students days before the state exam, wasting 20 minutes of class time to explain this penalty to them. Sounds more like bullying and coercion as opposed to “appreciation,” as noted in the district’s letter to residents.  

And why? Because Superintendent Patrick McGrath’s top priority isn’t the quality of our children’s education, but the all-important rankings based on test scores. Their ultimate goal is to look good to the state Education Department by increasing testing participation rates. This eighth-grade math test policy should have all parents concerned about the direction of the school district.

Will Farmer

Burnt Hills

The writer was a member of the Burnt Hills School Board from 2010 -2013 and 2014 -2017.   

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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