Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Math scores drop below national average for NY fourth-graders

On a scale of 0 to 500, average math scores for the NY state dropped to 238 from 241 two years ago

New York found itself in an unwelcome spotlight Tuesday as the only state where fourth-grade math scores fell significantly during the latest round of national testing.

On a scale of 0 to 500, average scores for the state dropped to 238 from 241 two years ago, federal testing officials reported. This marked the first time since 1992 that New York's performance in fourth-grade math has fallen below the national average, as recorded by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The national average is 240 this year, up from 239 in 2009.

The assessment, described as the "nation's report card," is a federally funded project that since 1969 has tested samples of students at the national and state levels.

In another blow to New York, the head of the NAEP's Governing Board singled out the state along with two others as places where overall academic progress has been particularly sluggish -- both in reading and math -- during the past eight years.

The NAEP chief, David Driscoll, a former Massachusetts education commissioner, observed in remarks prepared for a Washington news conference Tuesday that New York, Iowa and West Virginia had "stood virtually still" since 2003 in percentages of students attaining proficiency on fourth- and eighth-grade tests. Driscoll now is chairman of the NAEP's Governing Board, a bipartisan panel appointed by the U.S. education secretary to oversee testing policy.

New York State Education Commissioner John King Jr. called the results "disappointing and unacceptable" and said the new Common Core curriculum will help student achievement.

"The goal is college and career readiness for every student and that starts the first day a child walks into a classroom," King said in a statement.

The Common Core curriculum is part of a multiyear, national drive to raise the bar of American students' achievement. The new standards put more emphasis on advanced literacy and applied math. The program, which is linked to international academic standards, has been approved by 44 states.

Driscoll said in a phone interview before the news conference that New York had made considerable efforts to boost scholastic achievement. Driscoll went on, however, to suggest that his own state of Massachusetts had made greater progress by aligning its testing standards early on with standards set at the national level -- a move that New York only recently began.

"I think the proof here is that Massachusetts leaped to the top of the country," Driscoll said of his state's test scores. "If you're a coach, I don't think you start the season saying you want to go two and eight."

In recent years, state school officials have conceded that the cutoff scores they set for students to reach proficiency level had dropped too low. Those cutoffs were abruptly raised in July 2010, with Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the New York Board of Regents, declaring that the state was doing a disservice "when we say that a child is proficient when that child is not."

What do you think, will it ever go up? Now that we are faced with rising cost of pensions, other benefits coupled with budget cuts and increase in class sizes, it seems like all downhill from here. What's your opinion ?

Source: Newsday

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Long Island Property taxes most important issue, say LIers

No surprise here ! To stop this ridiculous rise in property taxes we have to educate our fellow LIers and contact your representative that they should demand Speaker Silver respond to the pleas of homeowners across the state and support a property tax cap in New York. It has already passed the senate but is being stalled in the Assembly by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Also this year we are seeing some enormous rise in property taxes in school districts such as
William Floyd 12.47% and Seaford 8.99%. Some school districts such as Middle country is resorting to blackmailing its residents. The deal for districts residents is either approved a 6.68% increase or the district is going to force 21.61% increase in tax levy.

Published by THOMAS MAIER at Newsday

By a wide margin, property taxes are the most important issue facing Long Islanders, according to a Newsday / News 12 Long Island / Siena Research Institute Poll. Property taxes were cited overall by 45 percent of respondents, more than twice the 21 percent who cited "availability of good jobs" as the second most pressing issue for Long Islanders. "Property taxes are really an issue here because it keeps the young people from staying on Long Island and it will prevent the older people from staying, too," Tafuri explained.

Property taxes also are a large part of why the 57 percent of those polled said Long Islanders are headed in the "wrong direction" rather than the "right track" in the poll. A similar margin said New York State was headed in the wrong direction as well.

Property taxes are a particularly raw issue in Nassau County, where 53 percent cited them as the biggest issue, compared to 36 percent in Suffolk. Islandwide, Republicans and people 55 years or older complained about property taxes the most. "The Democrats love to spend money and they have to get it from the taxpayers," said one poll respondent, a retired Republican who lives on Nassau County's South Shore.

School costs - the biggest part of property tax bills - were also on the minds of Long Islanders who cited "the quality of public schools" among their top concerns. "The first thing I would do is eliminate tenure for teachers in public schools to cut costs," said another poll respondent, a 50-year-old Garden City man who is a Republican and who did not want to give his name. Although he was happy that his two children attending local schools got a good education there, he said his family's property tax bill has been overwhelming.

Property taxes hit a chord with all respondents, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, location or party affiliation. In addition to identifying the most important issue, the poll underlined the intensity of Long Islanders' general feelings about property taxes, with 86 percent calling the issue "very important" and 11 percent as "somewhat important." Crime, schools, good jobs and health care also received strong reactions, with traffic congestion and the local environment getting milder reactions.