COMMENTARY: Who’s responsible for decline in NAEP scores?

The NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) test is one of the most widely used, highly respected and proven (over decades) accurate assessments of education results. If this latest development doesn’t strike a warning chord in any of you who consider yourselves advocates for children and public education, then, I’m afraid it’s time for an introspective look we all should take.

Here is part of my response to a media interview regarding my feelings as to why NAEP scores went down in Delaware and my conclusion as to why that occurred.

Rep. John Kowalko

Rep. John Kowalko

Very simply put, Markell, Arne (Duncan), RODEL, Gates and all of the other (for personal profit) “education reformists” have foisted a failed system on our children with a horribly harmful result under the guise of a “common core” system that is ruining America’s and Delaware’s public education structure and willfully hurting children.

They’ve changed the curriculum. When they are now teaching algebra and geometry (under Common Core) in third grade, what are they not teaching or no longer teaching? If kids don’t truly understand and know multiplication, how are they going to perform the higher-level skills required?

The NAEP is a generalized test given to kids all over the world. It is a consistent and reliable measure of comparison.

You can’t “study” for it. So, when we look at countries that do well (i.e., Finland/New Zealand) and see that their curricula are nothing like what we have just adopted/imposed, we should ask, “What are we doing?”
Common Core is not a curriculum, but it is so specific in its standards that it becomes a de-facto curriculum.

Covering those prescribed “standards” forces teachers to teach only those skills. This presents two significant problems: (1) There is no time for anything else, and (2) teachers are being handed a curriculum and, much like the “Balanced Assessment Test,” it is being written (and profited from) by the same people who wrote Common Core who are (in most cases) not qualified teachers in these fields.

EDITOR’S NOTE: State Rep. John Kowalko, a Democrat, represents District 25 (Newark South).

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