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Letter: State tests will create a new set of problems

State tests will create a new set of problems

A major disruption is being caused by the State Education Department led by Commissioner John King Jr. New state tests with strict regulations were forced upon school districts. The results from the tests have identified thousands of children for required remedial service, vast numbers that could not have been anticipated.

In some grades, the remedial population determined by these new “tests” has surpassed 50 percent! Can it possibly be that in schools all across New York, half of our children failed a test? Even in affluent districts with money to back motivation, the results are similar. If the Education Department believes all these students have failed, it is making a gross error. One set of tests? Thousands of children? I would sooner believe that the tests are in error.

How does this translate? Now school administrators must scramble to place kids in remedial programs. Where is the money to come from for unfunded mandates such as this? Teachers’ efforts will be ineffective if these classes are overcrowded. How can students who are labeled remedial be helped when classes are sure to be so large? And what about the emotional states of successful students who are told they are no longer successful?

I have seen mandates occur before and, if the demand is too great, the first move is to make it all look good on paper. But this will not help students when tests cannot be passed because of overcrowded, incomplete or inappropriate service.

I urge educators and parents to contact the State Education Department and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to voice opposition to the overwhelming demands being forced upon students, teachers, administrators and schools. We want to help those who need remediation, but the exploding “remedial” population will deny those who really need closer attention and support.

Jack A. Agugliaro