“The New Normal”: New York to Lower Math and English Proficiency Standards Due to Poor Test Results

I recently wrote how public educators and unions were methodically killing public education. The best example this week comes from New York where a school board committee has solved the dismal math and reading scores for children in the system . . .  they lowered the standards. This is not the first system to gut its standards rather than improve its quality of education.  As teachers and unions object to school choice, they continue to make the case for private education. Parents are increasingly voting with their feet. The board is simply calling the lack of proficiency “the new normal” and changing the standards. Done.

New York will permanently lower the math and reading proficiency standards after embarrassing results in state testing. It is akin to shortening the 100 yards dash to 50 yards to stay competitive on speed.

The media reported that

“A scoring committee that reports to the Board of Regents said Monday that they must take into account the results of last year’s tests for students in grades three through eight. Some schools posted shocking results — in Schenectady, no eighth grader who took the math test scored as proficient. And the scores for the third through eighth grade tests throughout the state were much lower in 2022 than in 2019, a result no doubt of the absence of in-person learning during the first year and beyond of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This may seem insane to anyone with a proficiency in logic, but it is being shrugged off by many in New York. There is now an acceptance that the public schools cannot actually educate students to proficiency levels needed to succeed in the modern world. In the meantime, some districts are moving to a four-day work week for teachers to reduce stress.

We previously discussed the elimination of gifted and talented programs to achieve equity by artificially lowering everyone to the same level.

Other schools have eliminated the “F” to guarantee 100 percent passage rates.

Still others have suspended proficiency standards to simply graduate students who cannot reach required levels in writing, math, and English.

There is also a move to end standardized testing.

In a prior column, I was particularly moved by the frustration of a mother in Baltimore recently who complained that her son was in the top half of his class despite failing all but three of his classes. Graduating students without proficiency in English or Math is the worst possible path for these students, schools and society.

It is the dumbing down of America but administrators, boards, and unions insist that it is better for these students, who face dismal prospects for future employment. In the meantime, we are pouring billions into schools that cannot produce a single proficient student in basic subjects. If this were a business, there would be criminal fraud charges across the nation.


110 thoughts on ““The New Normal”: New York to Lower Math and English Proficiency Standards Due to Poor Test Results”

  1. In a perfect world, public school performance differences among the states would regress toward the mean as the lower-performing states improved. So, in recent decades, it has been disappointing to see a decline in California’s public schools as a result of immigration and an exodus of higher-performing students. And now, even more disappointing, is the lowering of performance standards in New York’s public schools as a strategy to hide racial disparities.

    1. “Pretty soon, this will be happening at med schools.”

      Tragically, that train of toxic ideas already left the station:

      “After years of lowering standards for applicants, medical schools are more diverse than ever before. Yet new studies show that many students are struggling, putting their future patients and careers at risk. Rather than revisit the means by which they are pursuing diversity, however, the medical elite want to double down on their failing course.” (https://www.newsweek.com/diversity-delusion-comes-health-care-opinion-1725699)

  2. Commenters who compare NY’s educational horrors to content controversies in Florida would be thrilled to see Americans of color eager to attend every protest of the white man’s evils, even if most won’t show due to those racist Three R’s, readin’ (maps and road signs must be read), ‘ritten (got to write down those important dates and times), and ‘rithmetic (need math to manage money).

  3. “A scoring committee that reports to the Board of Regents”

    Making the case to get the State-level out of education. And, making the case for parents and taxpayers to actually pay attention to the education of children and to reshoulder their responsibilities in local public education. The system is floundering because of too much bureaucracy, NGOs etc getting their sticky fingers in the mix, and perhaps worst of all a lack of attention by the community at large (especially by conservatives–very few Hillsdale-oriented conservatives out there, sadly).

    Not knowing or even thinking about the purposes of education is Ignorance and a piece of that Doom the Ghost of Christmas Present warned of.

  4. So many of these schools are not schools for the “public” – but are government schools. Schools that engender larger government, that have teacher unions in control, that make sure everyone gets that trophy and no student’s feelings are hurt with accurate but poor grades (in classes or on tests). If one thinks NY is bad, you should live in New Mexico and learn about the terrible failures of many of its government school districts – and D-led state that has now created a new cabinet level job to make state government bigger and education at the hands of government worse.


    “The student body at the schools served by New York City Public Schools is 14.6% White, 24.7% Black, 16.1% Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander, 41% Hispanic/Latino, 1.2% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.5% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.”

    – U.S. News & World Report

    “Suppose 20 millions of republican Americans thrown all of a sudden into France, what would be the condition of that kingdom?”

    “If it would be more turbulent, less happy, less strong, we may believe that the addition of half a million of foreigners to our present numbers would produce a similar effect here.”

    – Thomas Jefferson

    “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

    “[There is no particular need for the U.S. to encourage immigration] except of useful mechanics and some particular descriptions of men or professions.”

    “The policy or advantage of its taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for by so doing, they retain the language, habits, and principles (good or bad) which they bring with them.”

    – George Washington

    “[Emigrants from Scotland…typically brought with them certificates from] the religious societies to which they belonged that testified to their good character, [something similar must be required of all those wishing to settle here].”

    – Rufus King

    Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1798 and 1802 (four confirming iterations)

    United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof…

    1. ‘No child left behind’ leaves all children behind. One student suffers every student suffers. That’s only fair… right?

    2. Equity in law and governance is the absence of bias and/or favoritism, no matriculation affirmative action, grade-inflation affirmative action, employment affirmative action, quotas, welfare, food stamps, minimum wage, rent control, social services, forced busing, public housing, utility subsidies, WIC, SNAP, TANF, HAMP, HARP, TARP, HHS, HUD, EPA, Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Labor, Energy, Obamacare, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Social Security Supplemental Income, Medicare, Medicaid, “Fair Housing” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, etc.

  6. Well, since I was a kid growing up the South we knew those NY yankees were dumb for calling us such but we had no idea they were stupid, too. Thanks, “yous guys” for edifying we simple country folk in the ways of sophistication. We’ll enjoy your lifestyle crash landing, y’all.

  7. Jonathan: You complain that what is going on in NY is “killing public education” and is gutting “its standards rather than improve its quality of education”. What you don’t want to discuss is conservative FL Gov. DeSantis’ “anti-Woke” agenda that is dumbing down the quality of education in spades in the sunshine state.

    The Florida Citizens Alliance, a conservative group supported by DeSantis, is calling for the rejection of 28 of the 38 textbooks reviewed for use in FL schools. The FCA rejected one McGraw Hill 5th grade textbook because it mentioned slavery–no less than 189 times. Horror of horrors! Another 8th grade textbook was rejected because it gave too much attention to the “negative side” of the treatment of Native Americans. FCA thought the textbook should give more emphasis to NA acts of violence–like the Massacre of 1633 when Powhatan warriors killed 300 English colonists. Studies Weekly, that serves younger children in FL with weekly science and social science subjects, had a story dealing with Rosa Parks. In SW’s first version it clearly stated: “The law said African Americans had to give up their seats on the bus if a White person wanted to sit down”. In a subsequent version called for by the FCA crowd, the phrase was changed to read: “She [Rosa Parks] was told to move to a different seat”. No mention of segregation and racism as the reason Parks had to give up her seat. Just a few examples of how DeSantis’ “anti-Woke” agenda is having a negative effect on the quality of public education in FL schools. Add to this is the fact that teachers are being censored and penalized for not adopting the new “anti-Woke” teaching standards. Hundreds of book titles have been removed from school libraries.

    All this is happening in violation of FL law that mandates the teaching of race and the racial history of the country. DeSantis just ignores the law when it serves his political purposes. Now if you were really interested in improving public education you would address how DeSantis is “killing public education”. I guess not because when conservatives do it that’s OK.

    1. Your president showers with his daughter. He favors the mutilation of small boys and girls. He is in love with murdering the unborn. He is in favor of live sex acts by men dressed as women in front of children. You are all degenerate freaks. Your version of “knowledge” and education is destroying the Nation.

    2. So, ,dumping books that were not-so-thinly-veiled porn, and others that fomented racial hate, is dumbing down? Let’s wait for the test scores before you say things like that, maybe?

    3. Dennis,

      Talk to your financial adviser, your doctor & your lawyer & see if you should move your money to one of important special banks like JP Morgan, Wells Fargo then you can rush down & get Dr Fauci’s latest 2 mRNA shots.

    4. Parents don’t want their young children exposed to pornography and pediphila – go suck on that and stop criticizing Florida.

    5. Dennis – let’s check the standard test scores for Florida students in a couple of years and see if Florida is in front of or behind the national average. I would bet that they will be ahead. You also fail to make any connection between “the FCA crowd” and any actions taken by Gov. DeSantis.

    6. Allow Mr. McIntyre to govern schooling and graduates will always be at the ready to join a march against evil whitey, but they’ll never make it because even if they’ve successfully hid their car from the repo man (balancing a budget is so racist), they’ll get lost on the way because they won’t be able to read the road signs.

    7. Dennis McIntyre wrote, “Jonathan: You complain that what is going on in NY is “killing public education” and is gutting “its standards rather than improve its quality of education”.” and then McIntyre projectile vomited an anti-DeSantis whataboutism deflection screed that had absolutely nothing to do with what Jonathan Turley posted and absolutely nothing that McIntyre wrote contradicted anything that Turley wrote. Your comment is PURE deflection.

      Seriously Dennis, is trolling your paid profession or are you just an over-enthusiastic hobbyist?

    1. Are they? School board meetings in my area get retirees worried about the budget and taxes and a few liberals supporting the reimagining of education. Where are the patriots? Where are the traditionalists wishing to preserve or rebuild an education worthy of a free people? Do they think everything is fine and dandy or good enough? Are they going along to get along? Are they too busy?

      I do not see the peasants fighting to make sure their kids are learning grammar and writing or research, geography, History, the Great Works in literature or music or art, etc.

      Essentially no one comes to ask hard questions about this or that policy or the curriculum or the materials and resources being used. I wish they would.

      So, is it the perspective of Mr. Or Mrs. Tweedy? 😉 I say with a wink and a breaking heart. I pray it becomes Mr. Tweedy’s perspective.


      1. I do not see the peasants fighting to make sure their kids are learning grammar and writing or research, geography, History, the Great Works in literature or music or art, etc.

        Perhaps that’s because your eyes are closed. News reports with video of such parents at school board meetings are legion. Usually they take the form of protests against radical gender ideology, pornographic books, and anti-American propaganda, and for the traditional subjects you mention.

        1. “Perhaps that’s because your eyes are closed.”


          Glad that people are waking up in those areas.

          Those videos are not representative, unfortunately. Even if a district does not have woke nonsense in the classroom, that does not mean they are teaching the Great Works. Are the kids learning Shakespeare? More than just Romeo and Juliet? Are they learning Longfellow, Thoreau, Hemingway, Twain, Tennyson, Whitman, Whittier, Hughes, Sophocles or Wilder? Are they learning about Marathon or Thermopylae? Justinian? Marcus Aurelius? The Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Aztecs, Incas, the Chin, the Mongols? Do they know anything of Cicero, Seneca, Plutarch? Sir Francis Bacon or Leuwenhook?

          How can we have great ideas if we know nothing of the past? How can we see the mistakes of the present and be better than forebears, while still recognizing we stand, perhaps unsteadily, on the shoulders of giants.

          For want of an education, a nation will be lost.

        2. “Perhaps that’s because your eyes are closed.”

          You are correct Oldman. Prairie’s eyes are closed. The last I looked 50,000 children were denied placement in a NYC charter school. That is because the world doesn’t sing to her tune. The teachers union, Democrat Party and school boards are more intent on indoctrination than having educated children. Thus while Prairies eyes are closed another 50,000 students won’t get the needed education. They are just the tip of the iceberg.

          1. You are changing the subject, S. Meyer.

            There are conservative districts and what I say is true.

            The whole nation does not look like the catastrophe of NYC, thank goodness! Break up the NYC school board so it is more governable. It is too big.

            No locale is ungovernable, though, no matter the size, if the people of these places do not participate. If the people do not participate, then we have lost the republic and we are living in only what appears and not what is. 🙁

            1. ” Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
              In death’s dream kingdom”

              Madison’s eyes? Jefferson’s eyes?

              We should bow our heads in shame.

              But, then, convicted, we should stand and make it right. “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

            2. “The whole nation does not look like the catastrophe of NYC, thank goodness!”

              Some are better and many are worse. However, 50,000 students being denied a requested education is larger than the total of students in many cities. We can learn from NYC what was done right ,and how the teacher’s union and politicians react to providing a better education for students.

              You have all sorts of suggestions when a proven solution exists and your suggestions have been made yearly, but 50,000 students a year are denied an education. Don’t you think it is time to change your rhetoric? Think of what Einstein said about repeatedly doing the same thing.

              ” If the people do not participate, then we have lost the republic “

              That is your defeated attitude. I people don’t participate, educate the young so they do. But, your answer is to keep doing the same thing and failing every time.

              1. “how the teacher’s union and politicians react to providing a better education for students.”

                Parents are failing their children by not shouldering the responsibility of making sure they get a good education. If you do not have a good education yourself, look to those who do. Ben Carson’s mom cleaned rich people’s homes. She noticed they did not turn the TV on much. She noticed there were shelves of many sorts of books. Things changed in the Carson household at that point. He was expected to read library books and give reports about the books. His mother made sure he wasn’t running around at all hours.

                Poor as dirt pioneers made sure their kids aimed for a good education because they cared and they paid attention.

                It seems you disagree that the NYC school district should be broken up? 50,000 families can make a heck of a difference in smaller school districts. Hard to improve things if a district has MILLIONS of kids. Then the district is run by special interests and agendas rather than taxpayers and parents.

                1. Do you know the size of the New York City school districts? I don’t think so. Do you know who controls the New York City school district? I don’t think so.

                  50,000 students were asking for charter schools in New York City which controls the education of the students has done a little except to make it more difficult for them to get a place in the charter Thank you so much school.

                  It is not just charter schools that make the difference. It is the competition something our socialized school system doesn’t offer. And why do you want to prevent competition when that is the basis for capitalism and the public school system is the basis for socialism?

            3. The LAUSD is about to call a full strike on Monday, the Hell that teacher’s unions care about ANYTHING but money.

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