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Rally Against Weapons of Math Destruction

Written by Norman Scott on 06-22-2003

Following is a post and some follow-ups from Bill Cala, Superintendent
of Schools in Fairport, NY (Outside Rochester.)

Bill is one of the
leaders of
>struggle against the impact of high stakes testing, at some risk of
>wrath of
>NY State Education officials, in particular Richard Mills. Notice the
>demand: That Mills step down immediately. We think the UFT and NYSUT
has in
>effect been a supporter of Mills' policies through silence.
> Send Bill support statements for him to use on Tuesday for press
>On Tuesday, June 24th at East High School (tentative) in Rochester,
>there will be a demonstration and rally against the damage done to
>of New York State high-school students this past week.
>What Happened?
>The Math A exam was given this past week. The Math A exam (along with
>others) must be passed by all students in order to receive a high
>in New York State.
>While final statistics are not yet available (and will most likely be
>by the State Education Department, as they did for one year on the
>Physics' exam), it appears that no greater than 30% of the kids taking
>passed. These results are not relegated to the inner city. Suburban
>districts had similar results. Most wealthy suburban districts scores
>in the
>high 20 to 30% passing range.
>A Rochester City Honors school had 200 kids take the exam. No one
>This is not a misprint. NO ONE PASSED! The School of the ARTS had 12
>pass out of the same number taking it.
>Many of the kids taking this exam across the state are seniors who
will not
>graduate as a result of this unfair exam and corrupt system (see
>Winerip, March 12, 2002 NY TIMES).
>Also, this past week the Regents Physics exam was given. Could it
>worse than last year's fraudulent scoring scam? One wouldn't think
so, but
>yes, it was worse. This year it looks like about 50% of the kids will
>Physics is taken by the top 30% of the kids in the state. Last year,
>the kids passed (these scores were never made public. SED release
>rates excluding NYC which drastically brought down the passing rate).
>We will be making the following demands on Tuesday
> 1. That the MATH A exam be eliminated as a requirement for
>seniors and that their grade be calculated on the 4 quarter marking
> 2. That the MATH A exam be re-scaled immediately for all
>students who wrote the exam this past week.
> 3. That the Physics exam be re-scaled immediately by a scale
>with the scaling for Regents Earth Science and Living Environment
> 4. That the commissioner of education Richard Mills step down
> 5. That the board of regents be removed legislatively.
> 6. We will be (hopefully) announcing legal action against the
>Tuesday, seeking an injunction, preventing the failure of seniors
based on
>Math A results.
>We have a another planning meeting on Monday at 7:00 a.m. at the
>High School Auditorium on 860 Ayrault Road in Perinton (14450). All
> All are invited to the rally on Tuesday. If you wish to speak,
>me know by responding to this e-mail.
>Keep abreast of the action on my website:
>Bill Cala

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