Response to Agruso’s Letter Published in the Kings Park Notebook.

By | April 29, 2014

Dear Parents of Kings Park Central School District,

Recently, Dr. Susan Agruso posted a letter to the community in an attempt to address “misinformation” regarding the NYS Math Assessment.  Unfortunately, her letter is misleading and we would like to clarify a few important points.

Dr. Agruso states:

“Unfortunately, we did not achieve the 95% rule in all schools or as a district. Our hope is that our students will participate in the math assessments this week and that participation rates in future years will enable our schools to continue to be recognized as “schools in good standing.”  – Dr. Susan Agruso

Dr. Agruso fails to mention that as part of the ESEA Flexibility Waiver that NYS received from Federal Department of Education, no new districts/schools will be identified as “Focus Districts/Schools” until after the end of the 2014-2015 school year.  This means that a district in good standing for 2011-2012, like Kings Park, will not change its status because of a less than 95% participation rate through the 2014-2015 school years. For further information, see here , here, here and here (1hr, 18min. mark).

“We understand the anxieties that students are feeling concerning the upcoming math assessments, and we asked our teachers and staff to encourage students to do their best and not put any additional pressure on them.” – Dr. Susan Agruso

The anxiety and stress are the result of a change to the very nature of the classroom that has become completely focused on the NYS tests.  This hyper-focus on testing has overshadowed other subjects and robbed our students of a stimulating educational experience.  We should also remind the community that tests account for 40% of a teacher’s evaluation score.  Two poor evaluations in a row, and the teacher can be terminated.  For further information, see here, here and here.

“Our schools will use the results of these assessments to track our progress in meeting the Common Core State Standards. The results will allow the school district to make additional curriculum adjustments based on students’ performance and will enable us to better prepare our students in the future.” – Dr. Susan Agruso

These assessments have no value whatsoever to the student.  The teachers will get no feedback as to what the student got wrong or right and will not receive the score in a timely fashion.  Teachers are not even allowed to see the tests before and after the assessment to evaluate what students found difficult.  For further information, see here, here and here.

We find it unfortunate that Dr. Agruso has chosen to paint an inaccurate picture of the events surrounding the ELA.  We hope parents will find better sources of information to base their decision on what is best for their child.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *