Seung made a mark recently with his calling out during Randi's farewell address and the Unity Caucus hack machine is trying to lift his delegate position. (See UFT Delegate Assembly, Democracy NOT Unity Hack Attack Part 2, Seung Sings with lots more to come I haven't reported on yet)
Seung has been a teacher for 11 years and just recently became involved with GEM due to his outrage.And what an involvement as he has thrown both feet into the fray with gusto. If there were even 50 more like him out there we'd have BloomWeinKlein on the run.
Will Seung be getting visits at his school from the both the UFT and the DOE over his outspokeness? Frankly, I would be more sorry for the goons than I am for Seung.
For the record, I personally like David Cantor, as do most people who have met him. No matter how much the people opposed to BloomKlein disagree, he has always been a gentleman. His willingness to throw himself into the debate, even though he is always wrong, is something to be admired. I always encourage him to do so. It gives us so much material.
Seung Ok says in response to the NY Times article on credit recovery:
The only issues I have about this article - is it doesn't question the improvement showing that less city college students need remediation courses. The reason for that is the high prices of state colleges. Many higher level students who would have previously attended state colleges are now attending the cheaper city colleges. This is not due to mayoral control.
The other problem is that it should have mentioned that the state education department were recently looking to make recovery courses even more lax. They proposed to get rid of seat time requirements for students, to allow the school to determine what is and is not credit recovery, and to hide the source of credits on students transcripts so no outside observer could discern a regular credit from recovery.
Plus, they did not mention that regents standards are so low, that it is not a measure of anything anymore. Only 33% and 46% respectively on the Algebra and Biology regents is needed for a scaled score of 65.
Otherwise, I think this article is very good at exposing all the loopholes Klein and Bloomberg are allowing to happen for their own stats. I'm not hopeful that they will reign this practice however, because improvement in statistics is the bedrock of their argument to voters to keep in control of DOE.
DOE Press Secretary David Cantor responds:
Seung slaps back - brilliantly, I might add
Parent Steve Koss jumps into the fray
Dear Mr. Cantor,
I normally try my best to refrain from responding to the comments you submit to this listserv, but your most recent posting was so feckless and off the wall, I simply couldn't stand by and let it pass uncountered. I have to tell you that I've never seen anyone put their foot in their mouth so often and so readily as you seem to do; "tribalism" was truly a gem, I must say. Remarkable that they pay you for whatever it is you're doing. A bit of professional advice before I move ahead with responding to your email? Stop trying to defend the indefensible. It's difficult enough to do as it is, but you make complete hash out of it every time you attempt it. If I was your boss, I'd frankly tell you in no uncertain terms to shut the hell up and stay off the Internet.
Now, as for your comments, which I personally find (as both a math major and as a former NYC high school math teacher as well as public school parent leader) so preposterous as to be beyond laughable. They really make me wonder if you have any clue whatsoever as to how the NYC and NYS school systems and exam structures work. It's eminently clear that you don't. What you wrote is some of the most patently ridiculous and intellectually bankrupt stuff I've ever seen from someone who ostensibly speaks on behalf of a major city public school system.
I see that others have already responded regarding CUNY, including statements issued by CUNY itself as to their increasing enrollment due to their "good value for the money" education. Interesting to see the number of students who went to CUNY from the specialized high schools. When I taught at Lab School, some of my best students (especially first generation Americans from immigrant families) also went to CUNY because their families just didn't have the money for something more renowned. I'll leave that argument for others and focus on what I know best (advice I'd highly recommend to you) -- the Grade 3-8 and Regents first level Math exams.
The scaled passing score on Integrated Algebra is a 30 out of 87 points. Period. There's no if's, and's, or but's, no way of dancing around the fact that a 34.5% raw score earn you a 65 and hence the "math credit" toward a (now meaningless) Regents diploma. That fact has nothing to do with how the rest of the exam is scaled. Scaling creates all sorts of issues, but none of them are pertinent to the central argument Ms. Seung Ok was originally making. And nothing in this argument even begins to address all the other aspects of score inflation built into the Regents: narrowed scope, simpler questions, repetition of question content and format, opportunities for systemic cheating, etc.
Regardless, in order to help educate you, I've included below the cut scores for a 65 (passing grade) on every Math A and Integrated Algebra exam since June 1999. The second column is each exam's maximum possible score, the third column is the cut score for a 65 based on that exam's conversion table, and the last column is the percentage of the maximum raw score that it took to get the 65 (e.g., 43 out of 85 in June 1999 was 50.59%, and that was converted to a 65).
Jun-99 85 43 50.59
Jan-00 85 44 51.76
Jun-00 85 41 48.24
Aug-00 85 41 48.24
Jan-01 85 46 54.12
Jun-01 85 46 54.12
Aug-01 85 47 55.29
Jan-02 85 48 56.47
Jun-02 85 52 61.18
Aug-02 85 53 62.35
Jan-03 85 52 61.18
Jun-03 85 51 60.00
Jun-03 85 36 42.35
Jan-04 84 37 44.05
Jun-04 84 37 44.05
Aug-04 84 36 42.86
Jan-05 84 34 40.48
Jun-05 84 36 42.86
Aug-05 84 34 40.48
Jan-06 84 33 39.29
Jun-06 84 35 41.67
Aug-06 84 34 40.48
Jan-07 84 35 41.67
Jun-07 84 35 41.67
Aug-07 84 34 40.48
Jan-08 84 34 40.48
Jun-08 84 36 42.86
Aug-08 84 36 42.86
Jan-09 84 35 41.67
Jun-08 87 30 34.48
Aug-08 87 30 34.48
Jan-09 87 31 35.63
Jun-09 87 30 34.48
The State has never significantly raised standards since the inception of NCLB. In fact, they've consistently gone the opposite direction, and not just for the high school Regents. The cut scores for Level 3 in Math have been lowered consistently at every grade level, almost one point per year, since 2006 (when full Grade 3-8 testing was implemented -- if you want those numbers, I have them and will happily provide you with them so you don't make a fool of yourself yet again).
Interestingly, the Regents have kept the bar for a "high pass" (85%) pretty much constant. But then again, nobody's looking at that because who cares about kids doing more than just climbing over the lowest bar we can possibly set for them? In point of fact, the 2008 CIR's from NYS make it clear that the percentages of kids scoring over 85% on Integrated Algebra (which requires a raw score equivalent of 77-78%) are horrifyingly low, zero percent in dozens of NYC high schools (I've already found 46 schools where that happened, a total of 81 schools out of 142 I've looked at where the 85% bar scaled score bar was crossed by 2% or less of the students, and a total of 106 out of 142 schools where less than 10% could manage a raw score that reached 75% of the raw score points available to them). Lest you think I'm cherry-picking, my 142 schools included Townsend Harris, LaGuardia, Cardozo, Bayside, Edward R. Murrow, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, Stuyvesant, Millenium, Eleanor Roosevelt, Baruch, Hunter Science, School of the Future, Staten Island Tech, Pace HS, Forest Hills, Midwood, Manhattan Center for Science & Math, NEST+M, Bard Early College, Manhattan Village Academy, HS for Dual Language and Asian Studies, Murry Bergtraum, Leon Goldstein, PPAS, and many others that are considered to be among the city's best public schools.
Before you embarrass yourself with another sparkling revelation of your lack of knowledge and apparent unwillingness to study the data in order actually to support your statements with something substantative like some of the rest of us do, I suggest you think twice about what you say on the listserv and how you say it. When you speak, you are not David Cantor, citizen, you are David Cantor, NYC DOE. If you are going to make arguments on behalf of the Chancellor that are utterly bereft of both common sense and supporting fact, you are going to have to deal with responses from people who have spent time studying these things and understand what's really going on despite all the "feel good" P.R. that comes out of both SED and the NYC DOE.
If the tone of this email is insulting, it was meant to be. I'm outraged beyond bounds by what you wrote, not because it's in any way personal, but because it's so nonsensical and demonstrates so clearly how those of you at Tweed simply don't get it. As a presumably responsible representative of the DOE, you cannot just say anything you want (sorry, you're not Rush Limbaugh, at least not yet) and expect knowledgeable parents simply to roll over and say thank you. This listserv isn't one of your silly subway posters that can claim anything without having to deal with public responses. Do your homework and check your facts next time if you don't want to enrage people who actually know what they're talking about.
David, the ball is in your court. Or did Seung and Steve serve an ace?
NY Times article link:
More comments on the article posted at Norms Notes: