So it’s official: the Common Core is evil.
This fall, thanks to a combination of the Common Core State Standards Initiative and new teacher evaluations, some four- and five-year-old students in New York City are being forced to fill in bubbles on multiple-choice, standardized tests.
The kids are doing their level best on the tests, which cover topics such as numbers, shapes and order. However, it’s going about as well as you’d expect, reports the New York Daily News.
“They’re scared,” one unidentified teacher in Queens told the broadsheet. “They just don’t understand you’re supposed to bubble in next to the answer.”
The teacher added that the kids continually try to help each other get the right answers, which is not allowed.
A teacher in the Bronx observed that the kids don’t even know how to hold a #2 pencil, let alone use it to fill in a bubble.
“They don’t know letters, and you have answers that say A, B, C or D and you’re asking them to bubble in,” the Bronx teacher told the Daily News. “They break down; they cry.”
A Staten Island teacher offered still another comically sad vignette: “We said to color it in with a pencil, so they were taking out crayons.”
The Common Core, an attempt to standardize various K-12 curricula around the country, is part of the reason for the kindergarten standardized tests. Under the state of New York’s new education regime, school must give students Common Core-aligned tests written by huge education corporations such as Pearson.
However, the state’s new teacher ratings system looms just as large. The ratings regime similarly requires public schools to give students an approved set of Common Core-aligned standardized tests.
Most schools can wait until the third grade for the first fill-in-the-bubble test. However, some three dozen schools in New York City only enroll students in kindergarten through second grades. Under the law, those schools have to give standardized tests to their kids, too.
Officials with New York City’s department of education told the Daily News that the lower-grade-only schools can give the tests to kindergarteners in the spring. They admitted that staffers at individual schools might not be aware of this option.
Department of education officials also suggested that a fall administration of multiple-choice standardized tests to students who don’t know how to hold pencils could be advantageous because it could provide teachers with insight about what the kindergarteners need to learn.
“Teachers should have access to multiple tools that they can use in a variety of ways to diagnose what students already know and what they need help with,” spokeswoman Nancy Gannon told the Daily News.