Tuesday, August 19, 2014

62,000 New Yorkers Sign Petition to 'Stop Common Core' After Flat Results

On New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s official website, he touts the merits and needs of Common Core, an educational program detailing what students should know in regards to math and English by the end of the 12th grade:

“The Common Core standards are a critical part of transforming New York’s schools, and the failure to effectively implement them has led to confusion and frustration among students and their families.”

Despite his initial optimism surrounding Common Core, however, New York test scores have remained remarkably flat after its implementation:

The second year of state standardized testing on the rigorous Common Core learning standards showed that students made modest gains in math but remained practically flat in English.

Despite another full year of Common Core preparation by schools after the initial rollout of state tests in 2013, there were no dramatic, across-the-board gains in English this year. Urban and other high-poverty districts saw more year-to-year improvement, but wealthier suburban districts classified as having average or low needs actually saw overall declines.

With unusual teaching strategies such as telling students to draw out math problems, Common Core has been deemed controversial for not preparing students for college.

Perhaps this is why New Yorkers are flat out rejecting the program. GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino and the state GOP ticket submitted a Stop Common Core ballot line petition to further challenge Cuomo in November. In case you’re wondering how passionate people are about ending the program, 62,000 people have signed their names to the petition. Here’s some pictorial proof.

The unpopularity of Common Core in the Empire State is also apparent in recent polling:

When it comes to matters of education policy, according to the poll results, a majority of voters want to see implementation of the Common Core standards stopped rather than continued.

Voters supporting Cuomo want the standards implemented by a 49-38 percent margin, however, Astorino voters are strongly opposed to Common Core being implemented by a 73-17 percent margin," Greenberg said.

Thankfully, parents aren’t just signing documents and participating in surveys - they’re taking their children out of this "educational" program. As a result of Common Core failures in other states, homeschooling is becoming a much more attractive option.


AL: School sends student home because of lurid hair

Just a fat kid looking for attention.  The school is entitled to enforce its rules

A Muscle Shoals student said she didn't even make it to her homeroom class on the first day of school.  The reason: her hair color was deemed "too distracting."

Hayleigh Black, 16, said she has been dyeing her hair the same red hue for the last three years.  "I have never had anybody come up to me and say, 'Maybe you shouldn't have this color,' or, 'Do you think that's a bad color,'" Hayleigh said.

Her mother said she was shocked to get a phone call to come pick her up - less than 30 minutes after dropping her off on the first day of school.

"Nothing was ever said last year," said Kim Boyd. "Never got any calls, never sent home, anything saying it had to be changed up until today."

Hayleigh is an A and B student, a member of the marching band, and has even represented her school on various events in and out of state, all while donning her red hair.

"I understand sending kids home for pink or purple or the blue, but Hayleigh is red, and he (the principal) argued it was not a natural shade of red," said Boyd.

According to the student code of conduct book, it is up to the discretion of the principal or assistant principal to determine disciplinary actions pertaining to "disruptive hair style or color."

"He said he had already sent home two other ones for that problem, even though theirs were pink and orange, and not any shade of red. He said he had to be consistent; she would have to get rid of the red or go to a darker red," Boyd said.

Hayleigh's mother said she has already made contact with the district office. She addressed her concerns with the assistant superintendent, and was told to meet with the superintendent. Both officials have served as previous administrators to Hayleigh when she first dyed her hair.

"I don't really know what to do because I've had this color for three years, so I feel like it's part of me," Hayleigh said.

Muscle Shoals City Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Lindsey, responded to the story, saying he supports the decision.

"The dress code section of the Muscle Shoals High School Student Handbook states, 'Students will not be allowed to attend classes if their attire includes the following:' Item #6 specifies, 'Hair which has been dyed a bright or distractive color. Dyed hair will be permitted only if the hair is dyed a natural human color,'" said Lindsey.

"There were four students in violation of item #6 who were sent home today by high school administration. I support the decision of the high school administrators and appreciate the cooperation of the students and parents involved concerning this issue," he said.

Dr. Lindsey said he met with Hayleigh's mother Thursday, and they have agreed to disagree on the issue. Hayleigh said she will change her hair color so she won't miss any more class time.


UK: Hundreds of children taught in classrooms with over 70 pupils

Hundreds of children are being taught in classes with more than 70 pupils amid a growing crisis over primary school places, according to official figures.

Rising immigration and a baby boom has seen the number of children in classes with more than 30 pupils treble to 93,665 over the past four years.

Figures obtained by Labour from the Department for Education reveal that six primary schools have classes with just one teacher to 70 children, while nearly 100 have classes with at least 50 pupils.

An analysis suggested that at the current rate, the number of pupils in large classes will reach almost half a million by 2020.

Experts say that the pressure on schools is hampering children's education because they receive less one-to-one attention. It comes after the number of "titan" primary schools, which have at least 800 pupils, rose from 58 to 77 last year.

Labour made it illegal for schools to have more than 30 pupils in infant classes except in exceptional circumstances, such as a child being admitted on appeal. But the Coalition relaxed the rules, leading to a rise in the number of large classrooms.

The figures show that 446 pupils are being taught in classes with more than 70 pupils, while 5,817 are taught in classes with more than 50 pupils to each teacher.

According to official data, both the Crescent Academy in Stoke-on-Trent and Southey Green primary school in Sheffield have the biggest classes, with 78 pupils to one teacher at each of the schools. They are followed by the White Hall academy in Essex, which has 77 pupils to a class, and Newdale Primary school in Telford which has 72.

Separate figures from the Department for Education, published earlier this year, show that the primary school population grew by 2.5 per cent last year, reaching 4.4 million children. However, there are growing concerns that there are not enough primary schools to cope with the rise in numbers.

Earlier this year to four in 10 children missed out on their first choice primary school in parts of England while hundreds of pupils were not allocated places at all.

The Government insists £5 billion will spent over the course of this parliament to expand primary schools, with 260,000 extra places being created to date.

Ministers have blamed Labour for the shortfall, insisting the party failed to address the looming crisis when it was in power.

Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, said: “Tristram Hunt seems to have forgotten that it was Labour who cut 200,000 primary school places in the middle of a baby boom - at the same time as letting immigration get out of control.

"As part of our long-term economic plan, the difficult decisions we've taken have meant we've been able to double the funding to local authorities for school places to £5 billion, creating 260,000 new places.

"But Labour haven't learnt their lesson. Their policy of not trusting headteachers, would create more bureaucrats, meaning more resources are spent on paperwork - not places. Children would have a worse future under Labour.”

But Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, said that primary schools should be built in the areas where demand is greatest. He said that Labour will scrap the government's free schools pledge, which he claimed is leading to schools being built in areas where there is "no shortage of places".

He said: “In 2008 David Cameron said 'the more we can get class sizes down the better', but as parents and pupils prepare to begin the new school year, there are real concerns about the number of children in classes of more than 30 infants.

"By diverting resources away from areas in desperate need of more primary school places in favour of pursuing his pet project of expensive Free Schools in areas where there is no shortage of places, David Cameron has created classes of more than 40, 50, 60 and even 70 pupils.

“Labour will end the Free Schools programme and instead focus spending on areas in need of extra school places."


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