CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Speaking at Harvard University, Professor William Jeynes presented data that strongly suggest that the high stakes tests and standards associated with Common Core are particularly hurting students of color. William Jeynes, a Harvard graduate and Senior Fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey, asserts that Common Core is not only addled itself, but also that the American obsession with constantly changing its educational paradigm is having a dramatic negative impact on America’s youth, especially those of color.
Dr. Jeynes presented two sets of data that first made the case that Common Core is causing African American and Latino youth to fall farther behind and second helped explain why constant changes in America’s educational rubric are devastating the educational outcomes of many of these children. For example, Jeynes drew from New York State data, especially because New York is the most populated state to have used Common Core for an extended period of time in its schools. Jeynes pointed out that in 2012 in New York, before Common Core was enacted, the English Language Arts (ELA) black/white achievement gap was 12 points at the third-grade level and 14 points at the eighth-grade level. By the next year, after Common Core was enacted, those achievement gaps increased to 19 and 25 points, respectively. A similar widening occurred in Math scores. Concurrently, the achievement gap between White and Latino eighth grade students on ELA scores soared by more than seven-fold in the year following the implementation of Common Core in New York.
Equally disturbing, in Jeynes’ view, is that in New York, the percentage of African Americans scoring “below basic” in third grade English Language Arts- and seventh grade Math- scores has roughly quadrupled just since Common Core was implemented.
Dr. Jeynes also presented data from several meta-analyses indicating why African Americans and Latinos are being hurt the worst from the broad implementation of Common Core. These results support the observations of many foreign political and educational leaders when they ask, “Why are you Americans constantly changing your education system? We instead stay with a consistent system and tinker with it to improve it over time.” Jeynes asserts, “The American system of education often changes the way things are done for the sake of change. When this is done, this is no longer progressivism, it is regressivism.” Jeynes notes that the changes occur so frequently that Latino- and African American-parents, who are often not as fully acquainted with “the American system,” are more likely to fall behind. Results from Jeynes’ meta-analysis indicate that: “1) the efficacy of parental involvement for Latino and African American parents is not as great as for whites at the elementary school level, but nevertheless is nearly the same at the secondary school. This suggests that understandably it takes time for many parents of color, especially immigrants, to adapt to ‘the system.’ 2) Parental involvement for these students of color has more of an ameliorating effect for non-standardized measures than it does for standardized tests. These results help one understand why Common Core is causing the achievement gap to widen.”
Dr. Jeynes believes that students and society would be better served, if schools allowed for more character education rather than having such an emphasis on testing. Jeynes notes, “It is unlikely that youth with higher test scores is the key to eliminating these school shootings, for example, but youth of love and character can have an impact.” Jeynes quoted Martin Luther King who stated, “Intelligence plus character- that is the goal of true education.”