Yesterday the Neighborhood expressed its anger at the NY Board of Regents‘ decision to cut social studies testing in 5th and 8th grade this year. Let’s contrast this measure with the loft goals specified by the board earlier.
In March, the Board of Regents presented its application as a finalist for federal “Race to the Top” funds. Attached is the presentation along with the Q & A session that followed. Notice a couple of things: (a) How the lofty and admirable goals expressed by the Regents are contradicted by their actions; and (b) how little social studies is mentioned as an important subject our students need in their futures.
But wait…there’s more.
Since New York was shut out of Phase I of RTTT, the Regents submitted a Phase II application, linked here, as is the subsequent appendices. Again, the same litany of lofty goals and rigorous standards, this time backed by charts and graphs. Please notice page 106, in which New York proudly notes its compliance with federal standards about a statewide assessment and data collection system. This is an NCLB requirement AS WELL AS a criteria for RTTT funding. Please notice its response to section 6, as New York responds yes to the following:
“New York collects yearly test records of individual students under section 1111(b) of the ESEA [20 U.S.C. 6311(b)] program in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies, as well as scores obtained on NewYork’s secondary-level Regents examinations (see Appendix C_1_2).” ~ Race to the Top Application, Phase II, New York State June 1, 2010, page 106.
Guess what…New York State is now out of compliance. By not collecting said data through the state testing program in elementary and middle schools, the state cannot in good faith stand by this application.
To be blunt, the New York State Board of Regents is now lying to the federal government. There, I said it. Unless the Board of Regents sends an amended application that reflects their change in the testing regimen, New York State should not be eligible for any RTTT funds.
To be even more blunt, put the social studies tests back, and you won’t look like liars and hypocrites.