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Queens Chronicle

Mayoral hopefuls react to test scores

Democrats bash Bloomberg; GOP’s Lhota says look at “entire picture”

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Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:23 am, Thu Aug 22, 2013.

The candidates to replace Bloomberg responded quickly to the test scores on Wednesday, with City Comptroller John Liu, a Democratic candidate, releasing a statement Tuesday, even before the results were made public. In a statement, Liu accused the Bloomberg administration of “cooking the books” on test scores for the last 12 years and creating a culture in which students graduate having learned little.

“Pointing to rising high-school graduation rates, the mayor claimed that high-stakes testing was leading to greater student achievement and teacher accountability,” he said. “He excoriated teachers and others who pointed out the flaws in his analysis. In fact, the regime of teaching to the tests pushed kids out the schoolhouse door, even if their diplomas were worthless and their skills did not permit them to succeed in college or jobs.”

Former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, who ran against Bloomberg in 2009 and is running again in this year’s Democratic primary, said the city Department of Education did not prepare teachers or students for the new tests.

“We’ve been told for years that things were getting better, things were improving in the city of New York because our students were learning more,” Thompson said today. “Well, unfortunately, our students haven’t been learning. The current administration has forced teachers to implement new standards without giving them the curriculum or the tools they need to do it successfully.”

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, another Democratic mayoral candidate, called the scores “a wake-up call.”

“We can’t keep working at the margins and focusing on a handful of niche schools,” he said in a statement. “We need a game-changer to raise outcomes for kids across the board. Comprehensive early education is the only way to achieve it.”

De Blasio is advocating for universal mandatory pre-kindergarten to be implemented.

At an education event last Thursday morning, Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner didn’t entirely blame the Bloomberg administration for the test scores, but said they’re not anything to celebrate.

“The days of the mayor dislocating his shoulder patting himself on the back should be over,” he said, adding that the “constant emphasis on testing in schools has created nothing but trouble.”

Democratic candidate and former Councilman Sal Albanese agreed that the city should invest in children’s education earlier.

“We all know the definition of insanity,” he said on the social media network Twitter. “In this case, it’s expecting test scores to improve without investing in all of our kids from birth.”

Meanwhile, Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota said students were being challenged on a greater level and low test scores should be expected.

“The release of today’s Common Core math and English test scores will undoubtedly solicit varying opinions about their meaning and efficacy in assessing student’s learning,” he said in a statement. “But it’s important to look at the entire picture, rather than isolated facts. Test scores are lower, but for the first time, students were tested on new, more demanding material. Our objective must be to set the highest standards possible, while giving our educators and students the resources they need to help them achieve their goals.”

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