New York Lowering Student Standards After COVID Lockdowns Broke Learning

[Charles Edward Miller from Chicago, United States, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons]

The State of New York has accepted that its people are getting dumber. The Empire State announced that it would lower the standard required to achieve “proficiency” on the state’s math and English exams. 

Rather than fix the schools, state leaders there have thrown up their hands and bowed to teacher unions. 

The Times-Union reported, “A scoring committee that reports to the Board of Regents said Monday that they must take into account the results of last year’s tests for students in grades three through eight to determine whether schools are showing improvement from year to year. On Thursday, the committee wanted to clarify that they must also reset scores because the tests will have new performance standards.

Last year some schools posted shocking results — in Schenectady, no eighth grader who took the math test scored as proficient. And the scores for the third through eighth grade tests throughout the state were much lower in 2022 than in 2019, a result no doubt of the absence of in-person learning during the first year and beyond of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In setting the lowest score a student can get to reach each achievement level, teachers on the committee consider what content a student must know, the committee told the Board of Regents.

They reorganize the tests, ranking every question from easiest to hardest based on the percent of students who got it right. Then they decide how far into the test the student had to get, in terms of correct answers, to be rated a level 3, which means they are proficient.”

The change in standards is almost certainly an attempt by Democrats in the state capital to protect teacher unions rather than students.

Fox News noted that “Between January 1, 2021 and September 30, 2022, the NEA (National Education Association) Fund for Children and Political Education, the PAC affiliated with America’s largest teachers union, spent more than $3.5 million, with a majority of the contributions going to Democratic candidates and committees. Among those the NEA funded were the state Democratic political parties in Wisconsin, Michigan and Nevada – all states with hotly contested congressional races.”

State education officials could either demand more from their schools and potentially lose campaign donations or lower standards and accept defeat. They chose the latter. 

Students in New York faced some of the harshest school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic receded, teacher unions insisted on schools remaining closed. They argued that students are resilient or that online learning is the equivalent to being in the classroom. 

The New York Post wrote last year that “lockdowns set New York City’s public-school kids back big-time, state test data just confirmed — fresh proof that the COVID-phobic teachers union put the children’s interests last.”

Lowering the standards is yet another in a long line of betrayals for students. We don’t have public schools as a luxury: getting an education is vital for the lifelong success of the kids we send to the schools.”

Hot AirDavid Strom called out the Board for accepting defeat at the hands of the NEA. “Public educators betrayed students by abandoning them during the pandemic, and they are betraying them again by refusing to help kids regain the education they have lost. This lowering of the standards isn’t to benefit the students, but to make life easier for the very people who betrayed the kids in the first place.

Public schools aren’t run for the benefit of children. If they were they would do a much better job of educating kids. The educational standards are far too low already, and lowering them is just one more concession to the adults who make a living off the system.

Teaching hard? Well, I guess we will make it easier for you by not requiring you to teach. And what about the good teachers who really are in it for the kids’ benefit? Their jobs have been made yet more difficult. The only people benefiting are the ones who want to show that they are succeeding.”

One report showed that “due to school closures, up to 3 million children have been missing from school since March 2020. ABC News also reports that enrollment in Kindergartens declined in Minneapolis by 16 percent, Los Angeles by 14 percent, and Colorado by nine percent.

Among high school students, 50 percent say that they are learning either somewhat or much less during online school. Staying motivated to learn and having adequate communication with their teachers were also said to be two of the biggest barriers to effective learning.”

The results of union’s work speak for themselves: “Scores on the national reading and math tests plummeted during the pandemic — a tragedy of epic proportions. Those who pushed to keep schools closed need to be held accountable, starting with the teachers unions, and their top boss, Randi Weingarten.

Overall, 9-year-olds scored, on average, seven points lower on the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ math test last winter than two years earlier, just before the pandemic erupted. That’s the steepest fall ever. They also scored five points lower in English, the sharpest plunge in 30 years,” The New York Post has documented.

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