New York Superintendents call for an end to evaluating teachers on standardized test results


Labeling children on the basis of unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory standardized tests is bad public policy.  Evaluating teachers on the scores their students get on those tests is equally wrong, yet that is exactly what the policy is in the State of Connecticut.

Last spring, more than 500,000 students across the country were opted out of the standardized testing craze.

This unprecedented development was the direct result of a growing awareness by parents, students, teachers and public education advocates that the standardized testing scheme isn’t useful and that the Corporate Education Reform Industry is turning public schools into little more than testing factories.

While school superintendents and administrators have been a major part of the anti-standardized testing coalitions in New York, far fewer Connecticut school administrators have been willingly to step forward and speak up on behalf of the students, parents, teachers and public schools they are sworn to serve.

In contrast, in the Constitution State Madison Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice has consistently been one of the school leaders who has been willing to provide his students, parents, teachers and community with the appropriate information about the extraordinary problems that come with a public education system that is overly reliant on standardized testing.

(See for example, Superintendent Scarice addresses the powerful and ugly truth about SBAC testing charade and Madison Public School Superintendent Thomas Scarice makes national waves – again. and Diane Ravitch features Madison Superintendent Tom Scarice’s powerful letter on “education reform”)

With parents increasingly recognizing the inherent negative consequences that stems from the Common Core testing program, attention is now turning to the second major problem with the pro-Common Core, Pro-Common Core testing initiatives that have been sponsored by Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the other political allies of the “Education Reformers” — and that is  — the inappropriateness of evaluation of teachers, based, at least in part, on their student’s standardized test results.

Late last week, superintendents in Nassau Country, New York sent a powerful letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo calling for an end to the use of standardized test results as part of that state’s teacher evaluation process.

The superintendents wrote;

It is because of our residents’ deep commitment that we feel a responsibility to protect our education system from misguided policy decisions, however well intended they may be. We understand that building an accountability system to ensure highly effective instruction for all students is a natural extension of the effort to raise expectations for all students. However, the exaggerated use of student test data in that system unfortunately undermined the initial goals.


We believe our parents understand the value of assessment but stand firmly against the continued distortion of curriculum driven by this flawed accountability system. The well-thought out decision of a significant percentage of our parents to opt their children out of State testing is a reflection of this concern.

Salvaging higher standards will require the State to accomplish three important objectives:

  • Declare a moratorium on the use of student achievement data for educator evaluations
  • Begin work in earnest toward developing a computer adaptive testing system, which will require far less time devoted to testing, ensure questions more appropriate to academic functioning rather than chronological age, and return actionable data in a timely fashion
  • Complete the review of the standards and make adjustments where appropriate.

Connecticut’s superintendents should follow the lead of their New York colleagues and demand that Governor Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly repeal the law they developed mandating that student achievement data from standardized tests be used as part of the educator evaluation process.

Numerous models have been developed to evaluate teachers (and administrators) without relying on flawed standardized test results.

In fact, Superintendent Scarice and the Madison Board of Education have adopted exactly such a model.

“A Test Score is an approximation, not a precise measure” (George Washington University)


As the nation’s colleges and universities move away from relying on standardized tests scores to determine whether a student is capable and ready to attending college, public officials in Connecticut and across the country continue their mindless devotion to more standardized testing as the means of determining whether our children our “college and career read.”

In Connecticut this past spring, Governor Dannel Malloy and the General Assembly voted to mandate that every high school junior take the SAT.

The new law was part of Malloy’s larger “education reform” initiative that has been forcing Connecticut public school students and their teachers to devote more and more time preparing for and taking the “Common Core aligned” standardized tests.

Malloy and other proponents of the Common Core and Common Core testing scheme continue to claim that the excessive testing programs are needed in order to determine whether Connecticut students, schools and teachers are succeeding.

Under Malloy’s policy, not only will the state rate schools and students based on standardized test results, but Connecticut’s public school teachers will also be evaluated on how well their students do on these unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory tests.

However, while Malloy and the legislature were mandating that every 11th grader take the SAT, George Washington University in Washington, D.C. was announcing that students applying for their prestigious undergraduate program would no longer be required to even submit SAT or ACT scores with the college applications.

Michael Feuer is a Dean at George Washington University and the elected President of the National Academy of Education, an internationally recognized academic organization that, “works to advance high quality education research and its use in policy formation and practice.”

In a recent GW Magazine article, Dean Michael Feuer explained why George Washington was dropping the SAT requirement,

It is important to remember that a test score is an approximation, not a precise measure of ability or achievement. It provides a snapshot into the complexities of learning and cognition, but it’s a blurry on…The picture has potential value—but it’s not the real thing.”

The public education expert and education school dean added,

There is lots of evidence that students are spending considerable time planning for and preparing for the test at the expense of time they could be spending on real learning. This is one of the factors that led the University of California, for example, to change its testing admissions policy. It’s on the minds of many educators especially in an era of so much testing who want to shift attention back to teaching, learning and achievement…”

A special commission at George Washington University was tasked with the job of determining the value of standardized test scores when it came to “understanding how a student performs at GW.” Their reported concluded that,

“One can predict success at George Washington University based upon a student’s high school record, especially his or her high school GPA.

As a result, George Washington will no longer require an SAT score, relying instead on a policy in which,

High school coursework and grades will continue to be the most important factors in GW’s holistic review process, along with a student’s writing skills, recommendations, involvement in school and community, and personal qualities and character.”

George Washington University joins the long and growing list of major college and universities that are dropping the SAT requirement.  According to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), More than 800 four-year colleges and universities, including at least 195 Top Tier academic institutions, no longer require SAT or ACT scores from students applying for their undergraduate programs or have dramatically reduced the use of SAT scores when making admission decisions.

College and universities are making it incredibly clear.  Students need to spend more time learning and less time taking these unnecessary standardized tests.

And here in Connecticut, if the waste of learning time is a persuasive enough reason to reduce the amount of testing, with local public schools trying to cope with inadequate state funding, Governor Malloy’s state budgets devote at least $73 million to the Common Core and Common Core Testing program during fiscal years 2015-2017.

Less testing, more learning is what will provide Connecticut’s children with the knowledge and skills needed to be “college and career ready.” 

It is extremely disturbing that Connecticut officials continue to push schools, teachers, students and Connecticut taxpayers in exactly the wrong direction.

For more about the SAT debacle read;

Once again Connecticut elected officials are wrong to mandate the SAT for all 11th graders

More on CT’s disastrous move to force all high school juniors to take the “NEW” SAT

Madison Superintendent provides Parents with the truth about the Common Core SBAC Test


As George Orwell wrote in his initially classified book of fiction,

In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

To which it is well to remember the words of Winston Churchill who observed,

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.

If you had a child in the Madison, Connecticut public schools you’d have a superintendent, school administrators and Board of Education that was committed to telling the truth about the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Testing System and dedicated to putting children, parents, teachers and their public schools above the Corporate Education Reform Industry’s ongoing attempt to undermine public education in the United States.

If you had a children in the Madison, Connecticut public schools you would have received the following a letter from Superintendent Thomas Scarice and Assistant Superintendent Gail Dahling-Hench, a letter that honestly and truthfully explains why the Common Core SBAC test is not an appropriate tool or mechanism to judge our children, their teachers or our public schools.

The letter to Madison Parents states;

Individual Student Reports for the 2015 Smart Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) standardized test were mailed this week. This specific report format is provided to the district by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and is a product of the national Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, consisting of 18 states.

Tests are designed with a purpose. The SBAC test was designed to measure the college and career readiness level of students through their achievement on the Connecticut Core educational standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics in grades 3-8 and 11. In addition, as in prior years, the science CMT/CAPT test was administered in Grades 5, 8, and 10.

One singular test provides an extraordinarily limited view of individual student performance. This particular test is based on an incomplete view of “college and career readiness”. In fact, this test endeavors to provide parents and educators with a predictive measure of an individual student’s college and career readiness by mere achievement of educational standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. The reliability of these predictions is imprecise and suspect at best.

Resources provided by the CSDE clearly state that characterizing a student’s achievement solely in terms of falling in one of four categories (levels) is an oversimplification, and that the specific achievement levels should not be interpreted as infallible predictors of students’ futures.

Perhaps most concerning in the student reports is the definitive nature of the claims made about an individual student based on one test. This can be found in the language that declares whether or not your child has “met the achievement level” expected for a specific grade, and whether or not your child will need “substantial support to get back on track for success in the next grade”. These claims are particularly alarming given the inadequacies, imperfections, and lack of reliable evidence on one singular test to make such assertions. A balance of assessment tools at the school level provides a more complete picture of individual student performance, as well as timely and actionable data. We encourage parents to look at student performance over various measures when understanding the academic performance of their child.

You are also invited to review the March 2015 report commissioned by the SBAC entitled, Making Good Use of New Assessments. This report conveys numerous cautions about the use, and most importantly, the misuse of these scores.

When examining your student report, we ask that you refer to the online parent interpretive guide provided by the CSDE.

We hope you find this summary helpful when examining the enclosed results for your student. If you have questions about this report….

You can read the letter at:

When every superintendent, school administrator and Board of Education are willing to speak the truth about the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core SBAC testing scam we will have taken a gigantic step forward in our battle to put the world “public” back into our nation’s system of public education.

NEWS FLASH:  Vermont State Board of Education Trashes Common Core SBAC Test


Yesterday the Vermont State Board of Education approved a letter that is being sent out to parents of public school students in that state.  Their honest and hard-hitting assessment that the Common Core SBAC test inappropriately labels children as failures and undermines public education is a message that all children, parents, teachers and policymakers need to hear.  By telling the truth and essentially trashing the SBAC test results, the Vermont Board is a shining example that we can fight back against the Corporate Education Reform Industry and its political allies. – Jonathan Pelto

A MUST READ NEWS FLASH – From fellow Connecticut public education advocate and columnist Wendy Lecker;

“Do not let the results wrongly discourage your child from pursuing his or her talents, ambitions, hopes or dreams.

These tests are based on a narrow definition of “college and career ready.” In truth, there are many different careers and colleges, and there are just as many different definitions of essential skills. In fact, many (if not most) successful adults fail to score well on standardized tests. If your child’s scores show that they are not yet proficient, this does not mean that they are not doing well or will not do well in the future.”  Vermont State Board of Education 11-4-2015

Wendy Lecker explains,

Once again, Vermont’s education officials are leading the way and, frankly, putting all other education officials, state and federal, to shame. These leaders understand the proper place standardized tests should occupy in the educational landscape, and they understand the purpose of education.

With the release of the 2015 test scores, Vermont’s State Board, of which Education Secretary, Rebecca Holcombe, is a member, issued a letter essentially telling parents that tests have limited value in describing the education their children are receiving or the type of students they are.

Here is the letter. It should be sent to every parent and guardian across the country: More

Education Reform – Testing kids on content they’ve never learned


A primary goal of the Corporate Education Reform Industry is to privatize public education by persuading policymakers that the nation’s system of public education is failing.

A key strategy of choice for the so-called reformers and their political lackeys is to prove that students and teachers are failing by requiring massive amounts of standardized testing that measures students on concepts and content they haven’t learned.

Take for example, the NEW SAT, which Connecticut has now mandated for use in the 11th grade.

[Read Once again Connecticut elected officials are wrong to mandate the SAT for all 11th graders (Wait, What? 11-2-15) which includes education advocate Wendy Lecker’s recent commentary piece on the NEW SAT.]

A New York Times article last week entitled, Everything You Need to Know About the New SAT, laid out the facts about the NEW SAT including the news that,

“The addition of more-advanced math, such as trigonometry, means the test will cover materials from a greater number of courses.  That will make it more difficult for students to take the SAT early.  Some questions will require knowledge of statistics, a course relatively few students take in high school.”

Difficult for students to take the SAT early?

Thanks to Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and the Democrat and Republican members of the Connecticut General Assembly, a new state law adopted last spring mandates that high school students now take the SAT in their junior year.

The test results will be used to judge both students and teachers.

However as high schools students (and parents) know, most high school juniors are, at best, tackling Algebra in 11th grade and many are still working to master Geometry.

But that coursework won’t be enough for high school juniors to succeed on the NEW SAT.

Even in academically successful Connecticut, few students will have even taken the courses needed to master the SAT and the majority of juniors may not have been provided with the math content to even survive the NEW Common Core aligned SAT.

According to most recent data published by the United States Government’s National Center for Education Statistics, only 16% of high school graduates in the country had taken a calculus course, 11% a statistics course and only a third had even come in contact with pre-calculus concepts, all of which they will be expected to answer if they want to master the NEW SAT.

And that was graduating seniors, not juniors!

The Corporate Education Reform Industry’s discriminatory tactics come into immediate view when considering that students of color have even less access to the advanced courses that would allow them to do well on the NEW SAT.

The NCES reports that while 18 percent of white high school graduates had taken calculus, only 9 percent of Hispanic graduates and 6 percent of African-American graduates had even completed a calculus course.

The Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing scheme is designed to fail the vast majority of public school students and the NEW SAT is equally unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory.

Parents take note:

People who force children to take numerous standardized tests that are designed to ensure those students fail are engaging in practices that are nothing short of child abuse.

Constantly deeming children as failures is mental abuse and child abuse is a crime.

The corporate elite and politicians pushing the outrageous testing scam should be held accountable for their abusive tactics.

More on the NEW SAT can be found via the following Wait, What? posts;

WARNING – Parents of High School Students – Especially Juniors – Beware! (10/1/15)

More on the Big Changes with the SAT and why juniors should take the old SAT at least once before March 2016 (10/2/15)

More on CT’s disastrous move to force all high school juniors to take the “NEW” SAT (10/18/15)

More on CT’s disastrous move to force all high school juniors to take the “NEW” SAT

1 Comment

Public education advocate and fellow education columnist Maria Naughton has another important article out about the NEW SATS and the decision by Governor Dannel Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly to force all 11th graders to take the “Common Core” aligned test.  The article first appeared in the New Canaan Advertiser

Education Matters: Problems with state’s change to student testing

New Canaan parents were recently informed that the SAT will replace the SBAC as the mandatory high school assessment for Juniors. This notice, from Governor Malloy and the State Department of Education, was in response to last year’s Smarter Balanced Assessment and the increasing standardized testing taking place in school. That testing led to an uproar around the state, prompting many families to opt-out.

Parents also learned the SAT will be given at no cost to students, and will be administered during the school day this coming spring. According to the state, barriers to accessing the SAT will be removed, thus expanding college opportunities for more students. While this is a laudable goal and may benefit many, mandating a college entrance exam is a mistake. This error is further compounded by the fact that, yet again, parents are being told by some school officials that students will not be able to opt-out, with some parents believing students will not graduate if they do. As we learned last year about the standardized testing, these are both untrue, and for many reasons, this move will surely be challenged.

Most obviously, making the SAT mandatory removes student choice. Of the two major college entrance tests from which most students pick, the ACT and SAT, the ACT is growing in popularity, as it is more reflective of the school experience. Students, including those in New Canaan, are well advised by parents, school counselors, and even private “college advisors.”  They are making personalized and informed decisions on the matter. Consequently, students deciding that the ACT would be a better fit will end up taking both high-stakes tests, wasting both time and money, and diluting both efforts. Taking away student choice on a topic of this importance when we expect students to be more self-directed does not make sense.

Moreover, many families and students are learning that the 2016 SAT is completely new, and essentially experimental. The College Board (under the direction of the Common Core creator, David Coleman) has revised this test to align with the Common Core standards. Ironically, the new version of the SAT will have many of the same shortcomings as the 11th Grade SBAC. It has limited reliability and validity, is based on controversial standards, and experts are predicting a drop in scores for at least a few test administrations. Having a student take it willingly and knowingly is one matter. But announcing that all students must sit during the school day for this two-hour assessment, replete with issues, which will impact their transcript, all while there is an alternative, is unfair.

Furthermore, many colleges are offering test flexibility when it comes to the college-entrance process and are looking for more holistic approaches to evaluating students. According to U.S. News and World Report, 195 of the 850 test-flexible universities are deemed top-tier schools.  Considering that high school grades and course choice are better indicators of college readiness than standardized tests, this flexibility makes sense. Clearly, the long-held belief that taking the SAT is the only gateway to obtaining a college education is no longer the reality.


This move will not even address the issue of over-testing. This year’s Junior class will endure an alphabet soup of testing in an effort to cover their bases. While some are taking AP tests, many will now take the PSAT to practice for the new SAT. They may also take the ACT, the old SAT, and the new SAT. At a time when parents are constantly reminded not to put too much pressure on our children when it comes to college preparations, maybe parents are not the problem. The state, and consequently the schools, have created a vortex of high pressure testing based on the rigorous “college and career standards,” starting right from Kindergarten. It would not be a stretch to think that students are experiencing stress and anxiety from sitting in the center of this educational maelstrom, despite the network of counselors, school psychologists and social workers ready to respond.

In all of this, there is one certainty. Mandating this test during the school day will expand the number of students taking the SAT. This is sorely needed by the College Board, whose market share has declined from 87% to 76%, while ACT’s has increased from 13% to 24%. This move would also enhance the College Board’s Student Search Service product, which allows licensees and research organizations to purchase student records up to five years after a student’s graduation, for as little as 40-cents per name. Acquiring the test “rights” in Connecticut would be a notch in their bottom-line belt, making one wonder if this move is more advantageous to students, or to the College Board.

Fortunately, and perhaps to no surprise, it was mentioned at last week’s New Canaan High School meeting that this policy is not solidified at the state level. Additionally, local BOE testing policies have not changed, meaning no single test score can ever be used as the “sole criterion of promotion or graduation.” Parents still have the right to refuse a test as they always have. That could change, as it has in other states, unless we advocate on behalf of our students. We need the BOE and the Administration to stand up to bad policies that divert local control and thwart parental decision-making.

Obviously, we all want what is best for our students.  By using critical thinking and advocating for what is right, we can ensure that happens.

To understand more about the two tests, you can find an online tool created by Dr. Gary Gruber, publisher of many SAT/ACTbooks:

To learn more about the “test flexible” colleges and universities, visit

Naughton is an educational consultant, former teacher and mother of four. She also serves on the Republican Town Committee, and is a Realtor with Barbara Cleary’s Realty Guild. Opinions expressed in this column solely reflect her views. You may email her at [email protected]

You can read and post comments on the original piece at:

Common Core Testing Fiasco – More evidence the entire scheme is a failure


(Updated version removes multiple typos in initial draft – sorry)

The Corporate Education Reform Industry and its allies like President Obama, Former President George W. Bush, presidential candidate Jeb Bush and Democratic governors Andrew Cuomo and Dannel Malloy have repeatedly claimed that the Common Core, the Common Core testing scheme, diverting scarce public funds to charter schools, privatizing public education and evaluating teachers based on the Common Core test results would be good for the nation’s public school students, their parents and the country’s future.

As a result of their ill-conceived policies billions of dollars in public taxpayer funds at the federal level and tens of millions of dollars here in Connecticut are being shifted away from classroom instruction so that corporate education reform companies can continue to make even more money.  Taxpayers, students, parents, teachers and public schools are the losers and the truth about the absurd Common Core testing scam becomes clearer every day.

A new independent study authorized by Florida’s legislatures report recently reported that,

“[This year’s Common Core Test] passing scores were not established through a formal standard setting process and therefore do not represent a criterion-based measure of student knowledge and skills”

The statement is a condemnation of a failed testing system that some officials, especially here in Connecticut, continue to defend.

The new Florida report was authored by Alpine Testing Solutions and edCount, LLC and was conducted as a result of Florida House Bill 7069 which was signed into law on April 14, 2015.

The Florida law required that, “An Independent Verification of the Psychometric Validity of Florida’s 2015 Common Core testing program” be completed and that a reported on the issue be submitted by September 1, 2015 to Florida’s State Senate K-12 Education Committee.

The development of the Common Core testing program in Florida is not unlike the situation in Connecticut.

Last year, as a result of growing public pressure, Florida’s Legislature and Governor tried to convince the public that by renaming their Common Core Program they were moving away from the centralized Common Core Standards and Common Core tests that were part of the SBAC and PARCC Common Core operation.  SBAC and PARCC are the two national entities developing and managing the Common Core and Common Cores testing programs.

In the case of Florida, the name was changed to the Florida Standards Assessment, while in Connecticut Governor Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly replaced the term “Common Core” with the softer, gentler notion that our state’s students were being buried by the, “Common Core State Standards in Connecticut.”

But in neither case was the change anything more than cosmetic.

With the 2015 Common Cores testing completed and the results finally being released, it is becoming increasingly clear is that no matter what you call the Common Core and Common Core testing program, the charade behind the testing mania becomes ever clearer.

While Connecticut actually stuck with the centralized Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Test (SBAC), Florida publicly claimed it was dropping out of the PARCC consortium, but went on to hire the very corporate education testing companies behind the PARCC and SBAC testing systems.

In Florida’s case, students ended up taking a test that was basically a mirror image of the Common Core test administered in Utah.  Forcing Florida students to take a Utah standardized test is par for the course when it comes to the Common Core mentality.

Of course, as a result of this gimmick, the new Florida study found that the tests that students were given did not even properly aligned with the so-called Florida standards, let alone with the curriculum being taught in Florida’s public schools

However even more troubling was the fundamental problems that the independent study discovered with the entire common core testing program.

In addition to reporting that the Common Core passing scores were “not established through a formal standard setting process and therefore do not represent a criterion-based measure of student knowledge and skills,” the independent analysis reported that there were widespread “technology problems” that led to “significant challenges in the administration of the FSA for some students, and as a result, these students were not presented with an opportunity to adequately represent their knowledge and skills on a given test.”

What we already knew was that shifting from a paper-based standardized testing program to a computer based program would discriminate against those who haven’t been sufficiently trained to use computers or don’t have equal access to computers.

Like the Common Core test itself, the entire testing effort discriminates against poorer children, children who aren’t fluent in the English Language and students who are not getting the special education services they need.

But as the independent Florida report discovered, actual technology problems with the implementation of the test made the entire Common Core testing program even more unfair and unusable.

The study highlighted the fact that 94% of school districts indicated that they “experienced some type of technology issue during the administration of the test and that almost half of all districts reported that 20 percent or more of the students in their district were impacted by technology problems.  As the report explains, a total of 4 in 10 districts even noted that “technology difficulties” had a “major impact” on the test results.

Here in Connecticut Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education has pontificated that there were very few technical problems with the Common Core SBAC test in Connecticut, although no independent analysis of the claim has been completed and even the claim that there were “few problems” is suspect considering that in at least two Connecticut School Districts students were given the wrong test and the community’s entire results had to be thrown out.

But in the end, regardless of whether the technical issues were few or far reaching, the new Florida study’s assessment of the actual usefulness of the Common Core test results is what is most troubling.

The study reported that the myriad of problems with the validity of the test meant that the results should not be used for making “individual student decisions.”

The report added, “Test scores should not be used as a sole determinant in decisions such as the prevention of advancement to the next grade, graduation eligibility, or placement in a remedial course.”

And at best, the study recommended that the Common Core test results could only be appropriately used at the “aggregate level,” which they defined as “the district or state level.”

But of course, a key provision of Governor Malloy’s disastrous “education reform” initiative is the mandate that the Common Core test results be used at the classroom level to evaluate Connecticut’s public school teachers.

As has been clear from the start, such an effort would be totally unfair and inappropriate considering the classroom level results are not statistically sound, accurate or relevant.

And so here we are, an incredible amount of public money turned over to corporate education reform companies and all we got in return was a Common Core testing scheme that is devoid of value.

You can find the full Florida Report here: and the video of the report’s presentation to the Florida State Senate Education Committee here:

Big Changes with the SAT and why juniors should take the old SAT at least once before March 2016


As reported in yesterday’s Wait, What? Post,

“Current 11th graders are strongly encouraged to take the CURRENT SAT before the NEW SAT comes out in March.  Colleges will continue to accept SAT scores earned prior to the NEW SAT rollout.  In this way, students may also take the NEW SAT and compare scores, submitting the set of scores that is more favorable.  This option (using the current SAT scores) will not be available to younger students.  In other words, students in the Class of 2017 will be the last to have the option of using scores earned on the current SAT.”  (Recommendation from the Guidance Department of E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, CT.)

Starting in March 2016 the College Board, which owns the lucrative PSAT and SAT testing systems, will be rolling out a NEW SAT which it claims is aligned to the “Common Core Standards”

The “primary author” of those Common Core Standards – a system that is causing so much controversy – took over as President of the College Board and immediately announced that he would do for the SAT what he did for the nation’s education standards.

And many of the same problems and issues that have arisen with the Common Core SBAC and Common Core PARCC tests are likely to appear with the new SAT.

Remember that the Common Core testing scheme was designed to fail the vast majority of public school students, and it did, because the tests included a significant amount of content that students had not learned prior to taking the tests.

In Connecticut, for example, the Common Core SBAC testing scam proclaimed that that only 30% of high school students were “proficient” in Math, while the Connecticut Mastery Test had been reporting that that 78% – 82% of all high students had been scoring at a proficient level in Math for decades.

How did the education reform’s testing industry engineer a system in which Connecticut’s high school students suddenly got stupid, dropping from 80% proficient to 30% proficient?

The answer lies in the fact that students were tested on Math content they had not been given the opportunity to learn… a sure why of “proving” that students were “failing.”

And now the NEW SAT is going to do the same thing.

Based on the recent Common Core SBAC test results, Students facing challenges will likely be hit the hardest by the shift to the NEW SAT

In Connecticut, the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory SBAC test determined that only 16.4 percent of poor children where “proficient” in Math, only 8.2 percent of students with special education needs scored at the “proficient” level and only 7 percent of English Language Leaners (those not fluent in the English Language) scored at a “proficient” level.

And now those students will be required to take the NEW SAT.

But the unfair assault on Connecticut’s public school students should come as no surprise considering the NEW SAT is just another piece of the Corporate Education Reform Industry’s agenda to undermine public education.

While this year’s high school juniors can take the old SAT and submit it with their college applications, as long as they take it before March, the State of Connecticut is one of the state’s that have signed a deal with the College Board to “require” that every high school junior take the NEW SAT next spring.  The requirement was passed by the Connecticut General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Malloy earlier this year.

As for the elements of the NEW SAT, the College Board is reporting that the NEW PSAT, a standardized test that many high school juniors are taking this fall, is similar in scope to the NEW SAT that will be forthcoming.  However, since the NEW SAT has not be used or validated, students will flying blind when taking the NEW SAT starting in March.

According to the propaganda coming from the College Board, the NEW SAT will be made up of 4 parts; Math, Reading, Writing/Language Arts and a new optional SAT Essay that is taking the place of the required essay that has been the cornerstone of the old SAT testing system.

Apparently some of the biggest differences with the NEW SAT will show up in the Math section which will focus, as they put it, on the following:

However the NEW SAT Math test will also contain what the College Board is calling “Additional Topics in Math,” which will include “trigonometry.”

The inclusion of “advanced” and “additional” topics in math will mean that the NEW SAT will include content that most high school juniors will not have been taught.

While some students who are particularly proficient in math may actually do better with the NEW SAT system, the vast majority of students will probably face greater problems as a result of the “enhancement” to the SAT.

AS for the “optional SAT essay,” the College Board reports that the essays will be scored “using a carefully designed process” in which, “Two different people will read and score your essay, Each scorer awards 1–4 points for each dimension: reading, analysis, and writing, The two scores for each dimension are added” and “You’ll receive three scores for the SAT Essay — one for each dimension — ranging from 2–8 points.”

The magical scoring rubric can be found via the following link:

In summary two key points rise to the surface.

First, “current 11th graders are strongly encouraged to take the CURRENT SAT before the NEW SAT comes out in March.  Colleges will continue to accept SAT scores earned prior to the NEW SAT rollout.  In this way, students may also take the NEW SAT and compare scores, submitting the set of scores that is more favorable.”  This option (using the current SAT scores) will not be available to younger students.  In other words, students in the Class of 2017 will be the last to have the option of using scores earned on the current SAT.”

Second, why Governor Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly would mandate that all Connecticut 11th graders take the NEW SAT is a sad commentary on their on-going failure to stand up for Connecticut’s students and parents.  The NEW SAT, like the Common Core SBAC test is designed to fail students, especially students who are already face challenges when it comes to getting into college.

WARNING – Parents of High School Students – Especially Juniors – Beware!


Starting in March 2016, students taking the SAT College Admission Exam will be given the NEW Common Core aligned SAT test rather than the version that students have been taking over the years.

David Coleman, who was the primary “author” of the Common Core, is now the President of the College Board, the organization that develops and overseas the SAT.  Last Spring, Coleman announced that a new SAT would be introduced in 2016.  According to Coleman and the College Board,

“The SAT and SAT Subject Tests are designed to assess your academic readiness for college. These exams provide a path to opportunities, financial support, and scholarships, in a way that’s fair to all students. The SAT and SAT Subject Tests keep pace with what colleges are looking for today, measuring the skills required for success in the 21st century.”

In other words, according to this gigantic standardized testing company that collects hundreds of millions of dollars a year from students, parents, schools, school districts and state and local governments, getting a high score on the SAT is the key to getting into and paying for college.

What Coleman and the Education Reform Industry is not telling parents is that the NEW Common Core aligned SAT, like the Common Core Smarter Balanced Consortium SBAC test and other Common Core Testing schemes will include content that most students have not been taught.

The truth is that many students who take the NEW SAT may be stunned when they receive SAT scores that are far lower than they would have otherwise expected.

The impact could be will be especially significant and unfair for this year’s high school juniors who are taking the SAT’s this spring as part of their college application process.


Hopefully parents of this year’s high school juniors have already heard the news from their high school’s guidance department, but according to the guidance counselors at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, Connecticut;

“Current 11th graders are strongly encouraged to take the CURRENT SAT before the NEW SAT comes out in March.  Colleges will continue to accept SAT scores earned prior to the NEW SAT rollout.  In this way, students may also take the NEW SAT and compare scores, submitting the set of scores that is more favorable.  This option (using the current SAT scores) will not be available to younger students.  In other words, students in the Class of 2017 will be the last to have the option of using scores earned on the current SAT.”

While the existing SAT has more than its share of problems, experts are reporting that by aligning the NEW SAT to the so-called Common Core standards, students will need to have successfully completed Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II, as well as Pre-Calculus, Trigonometry or Probability and Statistics in order to get a co-called “college ready” score on the math portion of the new SAT standardized test.

However, as noted, many, if not most, high school juniors will not have taken the “advanced courses” that are needed in order to get a higher school on the NEW SAT.

While some high students are provided the opportunity to take advanced math course, the State of Connecticut requirement that students even have four years of math doesn’t take effect until the graduating class of 2018, ensuring that many students who graduate in 2016 and 2017 don’t have the necessary background to “succeed” on the NEW SAT and those graduating in 2018 and beyond may have four years of math, but may not have been taught the concepts needed to successfully take the NEW SAT.

The rush to a Test and Punish system of public education is putting today’s students at risk and policymakers in Connecticut and across the country are making things far worse, not better, as the Corporate Education Reform Industry laughs all the way to the bank.

In states like Florida and Texas, once proponents of the Common Core, governors and legislatures are actually moving in exactly the opposite direction by eliminating the requirement that students even have to take Algebra 2, let alone study more advanced math courses, in order meet graduate requirements.

While Connecticut is moving toward the requirement that students take four years of math, Governor Dannel Malloy’s uncompromising support for the Common Core and Common Core Testing scheme is actually undermining public schools students who are caught during the “transition” to the higher standards.

Just yesterday Governor Malloy, his Commissioner of Education and a handful of key legislators held a press conference at a West Hartford High School to congratulate themselves on promoting a testing system that will actually hurt many Connecticut students.

Governor Malloy’s press release read;

“Governor Dannel P. Malloy today joined State Department of Education (SDE) Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell, State Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), and State Representative Andy Fleischmann (D-West Hartford) at Conard High School in West Hartford, where they highlighted the state’s plan to replace the 11th Grade Smarter Balance Assessment – or SBAC exam – with the SAT later this school year.  This plan represents an important milestone in Governor Malloy’s commitment to reduce the amount of standardized testing for public high school students and ensure that all students are prepared to succeed in college and careers.”

The notion that Dannel Malloy, a champion of the Common Core and the Common Core testing scheme is committed to reducing the amount of standardized testing for public school students is utterly absurd.

But equally distressing is the fact Malloy and his State Department of Education, along with the help of the Connecticut General Assembly are seeking to force all Connecticut 11th graders to take the NEW, untested and unproven SAT that, like the SBAC Test, is designed to fail huge numbers of Connecticut students.

What isn’t clear is whether their headlong rush to mandate the use of the NEW SAT is due to their ignorance, their desire to divert scarce public funds to massive education testing and corporate education reform companies or their complete unwillingness to understand how to help, not hurt, Connecticut’s students and parents.

While the NEW SAT will make its appearance in all of Connecticut’s high schools in March, the truly unsettling reality is that the Connecticut General Assembly passed and Governor Malloy signed into law a requirement that every high school junior take the NEW SAT next spring and that those students be judged by a test that is being redesigned and aligned to the Common Core, that no one has seen and that will almost certainly test students on content that they haven’t even learned.

Furthermore, as result of Governor Malloy’s “education reform” initiative, high school teachers in Connecticut will then be “evaluated” on how well their students do on this NEW Common Core aligned SAT.

Early this year, the Atlantic Monthly Magazine highlighted some of the problems with the “NEW” SAT in an article entitled New SAT, New ProblemsThe piece focused on the fact that the “NEW” SAT’s math section would likely put many students at a significant disadvantage when it comes to getting into college.

Why?  Because, as the magazine reported, the NEW SAT will include a significant amount of content that many students have not learned.

As the Atlantic Monthly reported,

“[I]t’s the revision of the math section that could have particularly egregious consequences

The new SAT will focus on fewer types of math than the current version does, sacrificing breadth for depth and testing students on the material the College Board believes to be most essential to “college and career success.” That might sound like good idea. But with this change in focus comes a change in question style. And that’s problematic.

The new version includes fewer questions that deal simply with ‘figures and equations’ and far more with topics that many, even most, students have not been properly prepared for.”

But despite the very real and extremely serious issues with the NEW SAT, Governor Malloy and his allies celebrated Connecticut’s decision to mandate that every student take the NEW SAT and that students and teacher be judged by the results of that test.

Malloy press release yesterday added,

“All children deserve a chance to pursue their dreams, go to college, and compete for the best jobs in a global economy. We are no doubt raising a new bar – graduation rates are at record highs while we’re preparing children for the future like never before,” Governor Malloy said.  “But we also believe in testing smartly, and mitigating stress among students and parents. That’s why we’ve taken this step, and I would like to thank Senator Bye, Representative Fleischmann, and all those who worked in the House and Senate on this issue.

Beyond the benefits of reducing duplicative testing, the move has an added benefit of leveling the playing field by ensuring those who otherwise might not be able to afford the SAT – the costs for which typically run more than $50 – will not be precluded from taking the exam, which is often requisite for admission to higher education institutions.

“Our job is to make sure all of our students in Connecticut have access to a top-quality education that prepares them for success in college and career.  Tests are an important tool for gauging where we are as a state and where students need additional help to succeed,” Commissioner Wentzell said.

“Replacing the Smarter Balanced assessment with the SAT for 11th graders cuts down on the amount of time students spend taking exams and allows high schools to focus on delivering rigorous academic instruction and preparing young people for college.  We thank Governor Malloy, our legislators and educational partners for their leadership and support on this important issue.”

“I’ve heard complaints from many parents and students over the past few years about lost learning time and the impact of too much student testing, especially for 11th-graders, who have some of the heaviest testing burdens with the SBAC, SAT and Advanced Placement exams,” Senator Bye said.  “I believe the changes we have instituted will reduce student stress while still providing them with a proven and valuable college-preparation tool.”

“Federal requirements created a bottleneck of testing for high school juniors that we are now fixing,” State Representative Fleischmann, House co-chair of the Education Committee, said.  “By replacing the 11th Grade SBAC with the new SAT, we not only get rid of a test many students weren’t taking seriously – we also make a college entrance exam free for all families.  Students who might not have considered college before will start to do so – while their parents get a break on ever-rising test fees.”

As the saying goes, with “friends” like these, Connecticut’s public schools students, parents and teachers certainly don’t need enemies …. They already have them and they are running Connecticut’s State Government.

Cuomo and Malloy – Deaf, Dumb and Blind about the Common Core Testing Opt-Out Movement


When it comes to the Charter School and Corporate Education Reform Industry, Democrat Governors Andrew Cuomo and Dannel Malloy are twins separated at birth.  Proponents of charter schools, the Common Core, the Common Core testing scheme and its associated anti-parent, anti-teacher agenda, both Cuomo and Malloy have spent the last few years praying at the Alter of the Public School Privatization Movement.

And both Cuomo and Malloy have eagerly reaped the benefits of their actions by hauling in unprecedented amounts of campaign cash from the corporate executives, hedge fund owners and other wealthy elite who fund the charter school and education reform advocacy groups that lobby elected officials.

Perhaps the most offensive fact of all is that not only are Cuomo and Malloy diverting tens of millions of dollars in public funds to charter schools and turning public schools into little more than testing factories, but that they are using state government agencies and officials to inappropriately – and illegally – stomp on the fundamental rights of parents to protect their children from the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core testing scam.

When it comes to recognizing, let alone protecting the rights of public school parents and students, Malloy and Cuomo have been nothing short of Deaf, Dumb and Blind.

As reported yesterday in the Wait, What? article entitled  Look Out Parents – Malloy’s State Department of Education is ramping up Pro-Common Core Testing Campaign, Governor Malloy’s State Department of Education trooped off to little Sherman, Connecticut last week to berate the community for its high opt-out numbers, while the Deputy Commissioner of Education told school superintendents that “correction action plans” will be implemented in towns where too many parents opted their children out of the tests and that the Malloy administration would be mobilizing to “help educate” parents and communities where parents had the gall to stand up against the SBAC testing program.

As the nation’s leading public school advocate, Diane Ravitch reports today, in actions similar to those of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is equally unwilling to recognize that in a representative democracy, parents have a right to be heard. In a civil society parents also have a fundamental right to opt their children out of the destructive Common Core testing program.

Diane Ravitch reports,

Governor Cuomo announced his commission to revise the Common Core standards and it includes not a single parent leader of the opt out movement. The reason for the commission was to respond to the opt out movement, but no one on the commission speaks for the parents and guardians of the 220,000 students who did not take the test.

If you look at the members of the commission, you will see MaryEllen Elia, the state commissioner, plus the chair of the Senate Education Committee and the House Education Committee. The commission will be chaired by Richard Parsons, a respected banker. The commission includes some educators, but they all have day jobs.

Read the responsibilities of the commission. It is supposed to review the standards and the tests, among many other assignments. Here is the title of the press release:

Task Force to Perform Comprehensive Review of Learning Standards, Instructional Guidance and Curricula, and Tests to Improve Implementation and Reduce Testing Anxiety

Does anyone seriously believe that this commission has the expertise or the time to do what they are supposed to do?

Can anyone explain why there is no one on the commission to speak for the parents who opted their children out of the state testing?

In Connecticut, as in New York, the state’s chief elected official continues to display an extraordinarily level of arrogance and disdain for the hard-working parents who are striving to ensure their children get a good education and that our public schools and public school teachers aren’t undermined by the corporate education reform industry and the carrion birds that travel with it.

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